Dream Essays Review

Dream Essays Review-80
I visited the writer Eliot Weinberger at his home, in the West Village, in Manhattan.Weinberger, who was born in 1949, in New York, is a translator, editor, political commentator, and, above all, an essayist.

(As a child, he was fascinated by the excavation of Troy; after reading the children’s book “The Story About Ping,” he developed what would become a lifelong interest in the culture of China.) Then, reading at the school library one day, he found, sandwiched in between the pages of some fat book—possibly William H.The man sent them to Paz, then serving as Mexico’s Ambassador to India.Paz was impressed, and he asked Weinberger to translate one of his books.Eventually, Paz, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, provided Weinberger with a formal introduction to New Directions, whose founder, James Laughlin, was the first person to publish Paz in translation.Weinberger was still writing poems then, but by the time he turned thirty he had grown discouraged with his compositions.Already, Weinberger had a knack for scholarly compression and textual collage.The first essay, “The Dream of India,” strings together short descriptions of that country; at the end, we learn that all of the descriptions predate 1492.When I asked him about the essay, he said, “In Germany, I’m sort of like one of those bands that had one hit record, and so I give readings and people ask me to read ‘Nacktmull,’ which is the naked mole-rat. This pretty girl said, ‘Last night, I was in bed reading it to my boyfriend.’ And I said, ‘Don’t you have anything better to read?’ ”Weinberger is better known abroad than he is in the United States; his work has been translated into more than thirty languages.The poet Forrest Gander told me, “When I go to Spain, I see his books facing out on shelves.In Germany, the same thing.” Weinberger’s books are hard to classify—skip the table of contents and it would require an act of divination to surmise what the next set of pages will bring—and that seems to make them a difficult sell in his own country.


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