Without the ability to read or write in another language, the book is closed on some of the great world authors. But translators, like Lydia Davis, also a short story writer, provide access to world literature through her highly praised translations of such authors as Marcel Proust, Maurice Blanchot, Gustave Flaubert and many others.
American-born and educated, Davis will visit and speak in Cleveland as part of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities’ yearlong series on celebrities with her talk, “A Beloved Duck Gets Cooked: Different Forms,” on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 6 p. m. in Ford Auditorium in Allen Memorial Library.
Davis will read selections from her translations as well as her own award-winning writings during the program that also honors the late and beloved Case Western Reserve English professor Walter A. Strauss (1923-2008), who was the William T. Treuhaft Professor of the Humanities. The Paul Wurzberger Endowment supports Davis’ visit.
Currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Albany, SUNY, Davis has become a well known writer with such publishing as the novel The End of the Story (1995) and story collections called The Thirteenth Woman and Other Stories (1976), Varieties of Disturbance (2007), Samuel Johnson is Indignant (2002), Almost No Memory (1997) and Break It Down (1986). In 2009, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published a volume of all her collected stories.
Her work received acclaim and earned a Guggenheim Scholarship and Lannan Literary Award MacArthur Fellowship for fiction, election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2005), and recipient of the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award (1997).