Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis is a distinguished fiction writer and innovator of the short story who received a MacArthur ‘genius’ fellowship for showing “how language itself can entertain, how all that one word says, and leaves unsaid, can hold a reader’s interest.”  Author of eight books, including short story collections and novels, Davis has been described as a minimalist (some of her stories consist of a single line) unmatched in mirroring the workings of the mind.  Zach Baron, reviewing Davis’ Collected Stories, says of her work that “Few are better than this writer at representing thought on the page; she captures not just the rhythm of internal speech but also its cycling, digressive mechanics,” and Albert Mobilio of the New York Times says her story collection, Samuel Johnson Is Indignant, is “Montaigne in a minimalist mood.”

Ms. Davis is also one of the most highly respected translators into English of French literature and philosophy.  Perhaps her most famous translation is her 2003 rendering of Proust’s Swann’s Way (2003).  Named Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her service to French literature, Davis is currently working on a translation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary


Writers on Writing Reading Series - Fall 2010