Bolaño, Borges, Cervantes, García Lorca, Guimarães Rosa, Quevedo ∞


“Literature is not made from words alone. Borges says there are untranslatable writers. I think he uses Quevedo as an example. We could add García Lorca and others. Notwithstanding that, a work like Don Quijote can resist even the worst translator. As a matter of fact, it can resist mutilation, the loss of numerous pages and even a shit storm. Thus, with everything against it—bad translation, incomplete and ruined—any version of Quijote would still have very much to say to a Chinese or an African reader. And that is literature. We may lose a lot along the way. Without a doubt. But perhaps that was its destiny. Come what may.”

“Literature is Not Made from Words Alone”
Interview by Héctor Soto and Matías Bravo
First Published in Captial,
Santiago, December 1999

Republished in
Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview & Other Conversations
(2009)

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