A friend of mine gave me Twitterature by Alexander Aciman & Emmett Rensin and I read the entire book in one setting. Yes, it’s shticky and self-consciously so. But it’s also a lot of fun.
Aciman and Rensin play with the classics, retelling them through the medium of Twitter. Is it essential that you have read the original tales before you read the Twitter versions? No, but you’d probably get more out of the book if you have, because otherwise some of the jokes might be a bit difficult to get. Aciman and Rensin helpfully include a glossary (bromance, LOL, MILF, nose candy, and STFU are just a few of the terms that get defined) and an introduction to Twitter format, but they do not summarize the books they satirize, nor should they, since having a joke explained takes the humor out of it.
In one of my classes this semester, we used this book to look what it means to “translate” texts from one form to another (in this case, from a classic novel to Twitter) and then the students attempted to parrot Aciman and Rensin. It was enjoyable to read what they came up with too and to discuss what it means to update classics.
If you like, for example, Mel Brooks’ films, you’ll probably like Twitterature by Alexander Aciman & Emmett Rensin, but you’re also likely to find the joke wearying halfway through.
As I’ve mentioned before, I research children’s books. In reading a few books that were published in both the UK and the US, I’ve noticed that the English is not always consistent. The English in children’s books is often adjusted so UK children study “maths” while US children study “math,” for example, or wear “trousers” versus “pants,” or spell “favourite” with the “u.” But in a number of books, I’ve come across very sloppy translation (because translating between Englishes is indeed translation). I wonder if publishers are particularly careless about children’s books or if this is a problem in literature for adults, too.
I recently received information on Caterpi, a new website where freelance translators can find jobs. I haven’t tried it out, but Caterpi offered a special link for readers of Brave New Words, so you can get one month free on the site. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who tries it out.
Originally from Chicago, I lived in southern Sweden for nearly 5.5 years, and moved to southern Wales in September 2006. I completed a Ph.D. translation studies in June 2009 at Swansea University, with a dissertation on the translation of children's literature.
Now I live in Norwich, England, where I am a lecturer at the University of East Anglia, and I also work as a translator, writer, and editor.
Contact me at bravenewwords (AT) gmail (DOT) com.