Best Non-English Nonfiction

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Best Non-English Nonfiction

Postby Yasna » 2015-01-24, 15:52

What are some of the best nonfiction books you have read that weren't originally written in English?

It seems like the publishing world devotes far more energy to translating fiction than it does to translating nonfiction works. The exception is of course English nonfiction, which is translated into other languages in great numbers. So what are some great non-English nonfiction works that deserve more attention? History, science, popular, rigorous...everything is welcome.
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Re: Best Non-English Nonfiction

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-01-24, 17:18

Kind of off the top of my head: this book was originally written in French and is great for anybody interested in Traditional Chinese character etymologies.

Also, my grandpa's war diary. Technically, that was originally written in English, but it was destroyed several times, so he kept rewriting it from memory. The latest version was written mostly in Malayalam, and then my dad photocopied it before termites ate it, so that's the only version that's survived.


Re: Best Non-English Nonfiction

Postby IpseDixit » 2015-01-25, 19:10

A few days ago I started reading the first book of Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks. However it's going to be a very slow read due to the complexity of the topics and to the fact that I have a lot of stuff to study for uni.

Valgunes dis acà é scomenzà a lejer l prum liber di codejìe da la perjon de Antonio Gramsci. Purampò sarà na letura n muie peigra a cajon de la dificoltà di temes e del fat che é n muie de autres robes da studièr per la università.
Last edited by IpseDixit on 2015-01-31, 18:18, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best Non-English Nonfiction

Postby linguoboy » 2015-01-25, 21:28

I just lent my ex a copy of Irréductibles Québecois by Valérie Lion since he'll be going to Montréal this year and I thought this was a pretty solid introduction to the distinctive culture of Quebec. Not sure if an English-language version exists.
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Re: Best Non-English Nonfiction

Postby Sectori » 2015-03-06, 21:04

My new hero Ealasaid Chaimbeul's autobiography Air Mo Chuairt (no English version available) was fascinating and delightful and I really hope someday someone will make a high production value Gaelic-language biopic about her because she deserves it.

I also got a lot out of Derrida's part-dialogue, part-memoir, part-theory polemic Le monolinguisme de l'Autre (available in English as The Monolingualism of the Other), much more than I did from any of his more aggressively Theoretical writings.
agus tha mo chluasan eòlach air a’ mhac-talla fhathast / às dèidh dhomh dùsgadh
(mona nicleòid wagner, “fo shneachd”)

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