The Delighted States by Adam Thirlwell
A Book of Novels, Romances, & Their Unknown Translators, Containing Ten Languages, Set on Four Continents, & Accompanied by ... Illustrations, & a Variety of Helpful Indexes

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Synopsis

Having slept with a prostitute in Egypt, a young French novelist named Gustave Flaubert at last abandons sentimentality and begins to write. He influences the obscure French writer Édouard Dujardin, who is read by James Joyce on the train to Trieste, where he will teach English to the Italian novelist Italo Svevo. Back in Paris, Joyce asks Svevo to deliver a suitcase containing notes for Ulysses, a novel that will be viscerated by the expat Gertrude Stein, whose first published story is based on one by Flaubert. This carousel of influence shows how translation and emigration lead to a new and true history of the novel. We devour novels in translation while believing that style does not translate. But the history of the novel is the history of style. The Delighted States attempts to solve this conundrum while mapping an imaginary country, a country of readers: the Delighted States. This book is a provocation, a box of tricks, a bedside travel book; it is also a work of startling intelligence and originality from one of our finest young writers.
 

About Adam Thirlwell

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Adam Thirlwell was born in 1978. His first novel, Politics, was translated into thirty languages. In 2003, he appeared on Granta's list of the best British novelists under forty. His second novel, The Misprint, will be published next year. He lives in London.
 
Published March 30, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 592 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Delighted States

Kirkus Reviews

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He appears to have read about everything worth reading (and lots not-so-worth reading) and to be aware of the various coincidences that make literary history both appealing and puzzling.

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The New York Times

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“Although this is a history of ephemeral inventions,” he writes, “the novel’s history is also a history of objects whose value is durable and timeless.” Then he adds, “Sometimes I believe this.” So there he is: impassioned, yes, and skeptical of the passion, as if skepticism were the contemporary...

Jun 18 2008 | Read Full Review of The Delighted States: A Book ...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

For a book with a very long title, Adam Thirlwell?s The Delighted States: A Book of Novels, Romances, & Their Unknown Translators, Containing Ten Languages, Set on Four Continents, & Accompanied by Maps, Portraits, Squiggles, Illustrations & A Variety of Helpful Indexes has a simple premise: a no...

Jun 30 2008 | Read Full Review of The Delighted States: A Book ...

PopMatters

The result is a gamboling yet elegantly managed attempt to link the chain of influences on influences, and in the process to chart “the art of the novel … the dazzling combination of drab parts.” The 30-year-old Thirlwell, one of those bright young things who comes scampering out of London every...

Mar 28 2008 | Read Full Review of The Delighted States: A Book ...

Tottenville Review

But such an oversight is perfectly in keeping with Thirlwell’s overall take on the subject: “The history of translation is the history of mistakes.” Thirlwell relates some of the bigger errors (such as an extremely abridged version of War and Peace titled The Physiology of War) as well as the sm...

Dec 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Delighted States: A Book ...

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