This chapter examines how Allen Lane, his editors, and Penguin’s commissioned freelancers created the Penguin Russian Classics series. Before appointing E.V. Rieu as the Penguin Classics series editor, Lane had already liaised with two emigre Russians, Samuel S. Kotelianskii and Sergei Konovalov, about the prospects of publishing Russian literature in translation. Rieu’s Medallion Titles were dominated by translations from Greek and French literature (twenty-nine and twenty-eight translations respectively), followed by Latin and Russian literature, each with sixteen translations. However, insights into the art of translation would probably have seemed irrelevant to both readers and editors during the early Penguin Classics years, when more interest was generated simply by the (re)discovery of the Russian literary canon at affordable prices. As the archived correspondence for Penguin’s Russian Classics shows, the Penguin Classics editors also had to manage inquisitive, often concerned, academics from all over the world. This chapter from “Translating Great Russian Literature: The Penguin Russian Classics” (Routledge, 2021) by Cathy McAteer is published here via Creative Commons License.
Medical oxygen should not be a luxury – we’re trying to develop a cheaper way to produce it — by David Fairen-Jimenez (University of Cambridge)
David Fairen-Jimenez is a Reader at the University of Cambridge and Director at Immaterial. Here he explains the process of developing medical oxygen and the challenges faced during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This article is published in our Acquaintance section via Creative Commons from The Conversation (April 30, 2021).
The Celluloid Years — An Excerpt from KASHMIR: Looking Back in Time - Politics, Culture, History (Atlantic, 2021) by Khalid Bashir Ahmad
Inverse Journal presents an exclusive excerpt from Khalid Bashir Ahmad’s latest book “Kashmir: Looking Back in Time — Politics, Culture, History” (Atlantic, 2021). In this sixth chapter of the book (courtesy of Atlantic Publishers), Bashir Ahmad provides a detailed account of how film culture entered into Kashmir with the emergence of cinemas in multiple locations of the Valley. In covering the concrete history of cinemas and film-watching culture in Kashmir, the author successfully provides insight into a larger history from a political, cultural and sociological lens as he walks readers through “The Celluloid Years” of Kashmiri history. Inverse Journal has included a section with independently selected relevant links to familiarize readers with the author’s writings.
Earlier this year, an Instagram channel called “Kashmir Music Live” catapulted itself onto the contemporary Kashmiri music scene with original and unprecedented commentary and critiques on new music releases. KML identifies itself as “documenting Koshur music” and sets its purpose “to create a community of people in Kashmir that are passionate about music and are willing to give the musicians the credit they deserve.” Here, Kashmir Music Live presents its top 10 tracks of 2020 from the contemporary Kashmiri music scene with commentary on each of the 10 songs.
Mir Yasir Mukhtar presents a visual story about the age-old practice of leech therapy from his native Srinagar, with photographs taken at the onset of the current pandemic. Hirudinaria manillensis, or the Asian medicinal leech, secretes saliva and enzymes containing a wide variety of proteins that clear toxins from the human body, apart from serving as an anticoagulant, inhibitor, anti-inflammatory anesthetic and vasodilator. Hirudotherapy is more common than not in multiple parts of the world and has been classified as a medical device by the US FDA as of 2004. Mukhtar’s story revolves around an 18-year-old Hirudotherapist named Danish, who if called upon with the virally acclaimed cry, “Danishaa, kalle haa phot!” (translated “Danish, my head is exploding!”), gets to work by carrying out this centuries-old Kashmiri variant of the practice.
“What will happen now, Abbu?” — An Excerpt from “Life in the Clock Tower Valley” (Speaking Tiger Books, 2021) by Shakoor Rather
“Life in the Clock Tower Valley”, the debut novel by Kashmiri journalist Shakoor Rather, travels between “Kashmir’s pristine past, its grievous present and always uncertain future, giving us an insider’s view into everyday life and emotions in the conflict-ridden valley.” Inverse Journal presents an exclusive excerpt from the novel, published here with permission from Speaking Tiger Books. Also included is an independently curated list of links pertinent to the novel and its author.
There are no suitable words to describe or introduce Zabirah Fazili’s latest poem. Within such verses one finds an utterance that every Kashmiri mother, tending to her family, has brought to her lips—with the ringing of gunfire in the horizon or an eerie silence ushered in by the passing of daylight. That utterance is one tragically guided by an intuition that Kashmiri mothers have—a sixth sense that connects them to those who they love with devotion, as if their spirits lived within those loved ones. In interviews and testimonials by many mothers of Kashmir, when they narrate the happenings of a horror that has left an open wound in their hearts and memory, they often recall the day when trauma took shape due to a horrific event—and they refer to something odd, an ominous sign, or some glitch in their quotidian space on that fateful day of irremediable grief and pain. In her poem, the young poet captures—within that one utterance and the verses that contain it—an intuition that defies logic and resides in the presentiment of the mothers, spouses, siblings, daughters, and women of Kashmir who over decades of horrors have developed the ability to smell death in the air. That ability takes heartbreak and grief to abysmal depths where language fails to convey an understanding. It is here that Zabirah’s poetry succeeds to transmit such a heartbreak and grief through her verses because they are relatable to far too many Kashmiris confined, among other prisons, to the prison of silence.
With a camera in hand, Adil Manzoor returns home to his Kashmir, and in returning, he also returns to a silence that is familiar yet strange. In these photographs, Adil tries to locate that silence in multiple ways, where photography as an “objective” visual medium traces in black and white the subjective and intersubjective matter of thought, distraction, meditation, loss and entrancement. The young photographer finds these situated in a silence that is peculiarly Kashmiri and that is drawn on Kashmiri landscapes and on the Kashmiri faces he captures in black and white.
The Values of Independent Hip-Hop in the Post-Golden Era: Hip-Hop’s Rebels (2019, Palgrave Macmillan) — by Christopher Vito
Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, this book uncovers the historical trajectory of U.S. independent hip-hop in the post-golden era, seeking to understand its complex relationship to mainstream hip-hop culture and U.S. culture more generally. Christopher Vito analyzes the lyrics of indie hip-hop albums from 2000-2013 to uncover the dominant ideologies of independent artists regarding race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and social change. These analyses inform interviews with members of the indie hip-hop community to explore the meanings that they associate with the culture today, how technological and media changes impact the boundaries between independent and major, and whether and how this shapes their engagement with oppositional consciousness. Ultimately, this book aims to understand the complex and contradictory cultural politics of independent hip-hop in the contemporary age.
“Chai, Khatai and a Militant” — An Excerpt from Sandeep Raina's A Bit of Everything (Context/Westland, 2020)
Inverse Journal presents an exclusive excerpt from Sandeep Raina’s recently released novel, A Bit of Everything (2020) courtesy of the publisher (Context/Westland). This excerpt is accompanied by an independently curated visual bibliography relevant to the novel and its author.
In this third instalment of the Karamat Ali Khan series, O. Kashmiri brings us the fictional account of how the Mountain Side, along with the entire Valley, was sold without the consent of Karamat’s people, and without a means to contest such a ludicrous sale. With all faith exasperated, a miracle within the natural order of things restores what was taken—from the land of the people to the hope seeded deep within its soil. Read on to find out how the snow becomes the medium of that miracle to remedy such a forced mass dispossession.
Nageen Rather returns to Inverse with a new short story where a “paradox of quantum superposition” like Schrödinger’s cat, both dead and alive, involves the case of a cow lost and found. In both states of loss and re-encounter, the theft of the cow and its supposed return are a burden for the house it belongs to. The nuances of Kashmiri culture, its hospitality and its ways prove to be cumbersome while in the background an indefinite curfew rages on to make things worse in an unfortunate pairing of propriety and misery.