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Literary Biography

Lost & Found in Translation

Joe Woodward | Posted 05.01.2012 | Books
Joe Woodward

Let us enjoy the surprises, the challenges of literature in all languages, in translation and otherwise. Let us contemplate the writer, too, writing in all her forms. Let us see how we are.

Happy Birthday Nathanael West!

Joe Woodward | Posted 12.14.2011 | Books
Joe Woodward

As Dorothy Parker said, and I agree, "Wildly funny, desperately sad, brutal and kind, furious and patient, there was no other like Nathanael West."

The Writer and the Fallowed Field

Joe Woodward | Posted 07.07.2011 | Books
Joe Woodward

Gustave Flaubert wrestles with the ravages of old age, religion, the joy and heartbreak of love, children, and more. Though each of these stories is just some 40 pages long, they loom larger in the imagination.

Hagiography -- Writing the Lives of the Saints

Joe Woodward | Posted 05.25.2011 | Books
Joe Woodward

Writing biography is a scandalous enterprise; its penciled craftsman is perennially suspect for being neither art-maker, nor historian, nor critic -- but some simple version of all three.

Madame Bovary: The Exquisite Corpse

Joe Woodward | Posted 05.25.2011 | Books
Joe Woodward

As I've been reading this new Davis translation of Madame Bovary, familiar feelings have come rushing back to me. I always hope things will turn out differently, and this translation is no exception.

Biography: The Falsest Art?

Joe Woodward | Posted 05.25.2011 | Books
Joe Woodward

I've come to believe that what makes the biography of a writer crackle and pop is knowing as many lies as truths -- the lies they told to others, the lies others told of them, and, most importantly, the lies they told themselves.