Discussions over the last two weeks with two of the world’s leading Guimarães Rosa scholars have led me to believe, without a doubt, that the necessary next step in this journey is towards a new translation of Grande Sertão: Veredas; and before that: determining the translator or team of translators willing and capable of the undertaking, as well as a funding source—which is all much easier to type than it will ever be to accomplish. That being said, we might still ask, just out of curiosity, and because it’s the closest the English reader can get to Grande Sertão: Veredas (for now): where is The Devil to Pay in the Backlands?
I’ve read of two publishers rumored to have, at one time or another, been working on republishing or retranslating The Devil to Pay in the Backlands.
The first, Archipelago, a not-for-profit press that specializes in translations. I contacted Archipelago to find that the attempt had been made, but that “ultimately, the rights became too complicated to acquire.” With this, I was informed that the rights remained in the possession of Translator and Literary Agent, Tom Colchie.
The second publisher, New Directions, an industry powerhouse. A credible source informed me that New Directions had begun a new translation of Grande Sertão: Veredas, but that the Translator “pulled out due to the exasperating effort and time it would take to translate the work.” Again, Tom Colchie was indicated as the rights holder.
Who is Tom Colchie? I’ve contacted his agency, and am awaiting their response. I hope the next time I post about this, it’s to tell you Mr. Tom Colchie has been so kind as to answer a few questions. Fingers crossed.