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Modern Classic Uncertain Glory Touring the US with Translator Peter Bush

Literature.  USA,  09/11/2017

The New York Review of Books' newly published translation of Uncertain Glory will tour the United States from November 9 to 17. The classic by Joan Sales, originally published in 1956, will travel across universities and bookstores in New York, Amherst, Boston, New Jersey, and Chicago, with presentations, workshops, and discussions by the renowned translator Peter Bush.

Uncertain Glory is considered one of the most relevant novels in twentieth-century Catalan literature. Edited by MacLehose Press in 2014, The Economist deemed it one of the ten best books of fiction published in English in 2014. Now, the cult classics press New York Review of Books is publishing it once again, including El vent de la nit (The Wind in the Night), which the author added as a sequel to the novel.

Peter Bush's tour in the United States, from November 9 to 17, includes presentations with the author, literature professors, Catalan studies professors, and other translators. Bush will also lead translation workshops and read excerpts of the novel. The film Uncertain Glory, directed by Agustí Villaronga, will also be featured.

Notably, three of the universities will Bush will present—University of Massachusetts, University of Chicago, and Columbia University—participate in Institut Ramon Lllull's network of Catalan studies abroad, through which IRL financially supports Catalan professorships.

Uncertain Glory in the United States

New York

November 9 | Casa Hispànica, Columbia University, with Mara Faye Lethem

November 10 | McNally Jackson Bookshop, with Mary Ann Newman


November 12 | Amherst Books Bookshop, with Jim Hicks. Reading, conversation and Book launch party.

November 13 | University of Massachusetts, Amherst College. Workshop presentation.

November 13 | Smith College (University of Massachusetts with the five colleges: Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Hampshire College). Literary Translation Seminar.


November 14 | Boston University. Conversation about culture, literature and translation, with Alicia Borinksy.

Nova Jersey

November 15 | Montclair State University. Book presentation.


November 17 | University of Chicago. Translation workshop at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and film screening of ‘Incerta glòria’ (Agustí Villaronga, 2017)

November 17 | The Seminary Co-op / 57th St Books. Book presentation with Amaia Gabantxo.

The Author

Joan Sales i Vallès (1912-1983) was born in Barcelona and was once a member of several regional anarchist and Communist groups. He fought on the Republican side on the Madrid and Aragonese fronts. After being exiled to France in 1939, he then lived in Dominica (1940) and Mexico (1942). He returned to Catalonia in 1948 and founded the Club Editor press, where he published major authors including Màrius Torres and Mercè Rodoreda as well as several of his own works and his Catalan translation of The Brothers Karamazov.

The Translator

Peter Bush (Lincolnshire, 1946) studied modern languages at the University of Cambridge. He studied translation with Geoffrey Walker and Spanish with Helena Valentí. With his knowledge of both French and Spanish, he was able to read the Catalan poetry of Carles Riba and Jacint Verdaguer. He has a PhD from the University of Oxford and began studying Catalan in the late 1970s. He has taught literary translation at the universities of Middlesex and East Anglia and has translated the Catalan authors Nuria Amat, Juan Goytisolo, Najat El Hachmi, Empar Moliner, Quim Monzó, Juan Carlos Onetti, Francesc Serés, and Teresa Solana, as well as the Spanish classics La Celestina and Tirano Banderas. More recently, he has translated the Catalan modern classics The Gray Notebook (NYRB) and Life Embitters (Archipelago), by Josep Pla; Uncertain Glory, by Joan Sales, and In Diamond Square (Virago), by Mercè Rodoreda.


A masterwork that will seduce anew with its passion, humour, pathos and the all too-human spats of anger.
—Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

Apparitions, lurid dreams, and disinterred mummies litter the novel, lending it a hallucinatory quality that pairs perfectly with the darkly comic depictions of wartime absurdity.
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

In this bravura novel of the Spanish Civil War 1936–39, Catalan author Joan Sales evokes its messy, devastating lived reality, but even more memorably the intense feeling of being alive which war paradoxically the novel’s core is a group of young ‘voices’, brilliantly rendered, as they rage to live.
—History Today

Catalan writer Sales tells a multilayered story of loves, faith, friendships, and ideals tested by the Spanish Civil War in this novel banned by Franco’s censors, then published in 1956 after the author’s return from exile....Philosophical and earthy, tragic and funny, honest, raw, superb: Sales makes Hemingway seem thin, even anemic, in comparison. This book is a rich and highly recommended feast.
—Kirkus, starred review

Magnificent...Peter Bush [has] done a great service in reviving this Catalan classic.
—Maya Jaggi, The Guardian

Wonderfully readable...Uncertain Glory is a major novel that expresses the disillusion of a generation who fought a just war against fascism, but lost their idealism and youth.
—Michael Eaude, Literary Review


Incerta Glòria has been published in English (MacLehose, 2014, and NYRB, 2017),  French (Tinta Blava, 2007; Gallimard 1962), Spanish (Destino, 2012), Dutch (Menken, Kasander & Wigman, 2011) and German (Hanser, 2015).

The book is being translated to the Greek (Agra),  Chinese (Citic), Hungarian (Libri Kiado) and Italian (Nottetempo).

Thanks to The New York Review of Books, this landmark work will finally come to the American public in a mesmerizing translation by Peter Bush.

Sponsors of IRL projects

The Institut Ramon Llull

is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.

Generalitat de CatalunyaGovern Illes BalearsAjuntament de Barcelona

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