Cohen in translation

In my post yesterday on In Search of a Lost Ladino, I should have mentioned that Marcel Cohen has several other books out in English translation: Mirrors, translated by Jason Weiss (Green Integer 1998) and The Peacock Emperor Moth, translated by Cid Corman (Burning Deck, 1995). He also did a booklength interview with Edmond Jabès, which was published in my translation as From the Desert to the Book by Station Hill in 1990.

Here is how Burning Deck decribes Cohen’s work: “The brevity of Marcel Cohen’s stories is matched by their intensity. Written in a style that seems both classical and avant-garde, each shows us a crack in what we take for the solid surface of ordinary days, ordinary lives. As we follow their rapid succession these fissures widen into a complex geometry that resonates with the great human catastrophes of our century.” Behind the nearly Cartesian — Pascalian, more accurate? — classicism of his prose, there resides the Mediterranean warmth of the Ladino but tinged with the historical consciousness of the twentieth century fate of the Jewish people. A Gallic Kafka crossed wiht a Ladino Jabès.

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