All posts tagged: Untranslated Classics

simone kaya les danseuses

Untranslated Classics: Simone Kaya

Name: Simone Kaya
From: Ivory Coast
Born: 1937

Simone Kaya is a social worker, nurse, and writer who was born and resides in Ivory Coast. Growing up in 1940s Abidjan, Kaya was not supposed to receive an education other than how to take care of whatever guy she’d have to marry.

Remember the part in Beauty and the Beast where Gaston says it’s not right for a woman to read? “Soon she starts getting ideas, and thinking.” Well, that was basically the argument her father’s friends made against the idea of Kaya’s education:  “If we educate them, they will refuse to crush the foutou and the millet.Read More

Dora Alonso

Untranslated Classics: Dora Alonso

Name: Dora Alonso
From: Cuba
Lived: 1910 – 2001

Among the most prominent voices in 20th Century Cuban literature, Dora Alonso was all sorts of talented. A print and radio journalist, playwright, novelist, short story writer, poet, and even children’s book author, Alonso was awarded the the Casa de las Americas prize twice and consistently received awards for her work throughout her career. A passionate activist, Alonso’s focus was political: she wrote about characters oppressed by the alienation and poverty caused by a corrupt society.Read More

Yoshiya Nobuko Uncovered Classics

Untranslated Classics: Yoshiya Nobuko

Name: Yoshiya Nobuko
From: Japan
Lived: 1896 – 1973

According to a 1935 article in Hanashi: “There may be women who don’t know who heads the Women’s Patriotic Association, but there is not a single woman alive who doesn’t know who Yoshiya Nobuko is.”


So why has Yoshiya been so ignored by Western scholars? Listen, we like our literature a certain way here in these parts, and we like our short-haired lady authors straight. Shōjo about school girls falling in love? Stories titled Dannasama Muyo (Husbands are Useless)? More like Husbands Are Great Yoshiya, What Are You Talking About by The United States of America.Read More

japanese typewriter

Untranslated Classics

One method we use to decide what is worth reading, and what is not, who should be remembered and who it’s okay to forget, is through translation. What parts of other cultures do we care to know about? What are we ignoring?

In a trend that is probably unsurprising to anyone who follows this blog, while I’ve been researching books by women from other countries to add to our list, I noticed that many stories I wanted to read from many parts of the globe were untranslated. This is especially true for books from the earlier half of the 20th century. Basically, predominantly male publishers of English-language books didn’t care that much about women in this part of the 20th century, but they especially didn’t care about women who didn’t live in their immediate vicinity and look more or less like themRead More