A feature by Lydia Davis
Lydia Davis: To start off with, Dan, I have a long question. I’d like to ask you something I’ve been curious about for years, actually. It has to do with your work and your life. You teach full time at the American University of Paris, with all that entails, including directing the University’s Center for Writers and Translators and editing its beautifully produced Cahier Series on translation. In addition, you have, for many years now, been one of four editors in the monumental (and highly labor-intensive) ongoing project of producing a multi-volume selection of Samuel Beckett’s vast correspondence, three fat volumes of which have to date appeared. You regularly give public lectures or take part in conferences on this ongoing project as well as on other subjects as various as Muriel Spark, the Scottish Gothic, translation, Primo Levi, etc. You have written a number of articles on writers including Flann O’Brien, Georges Perec, Thomas Bernhard, to name just a few. You have translated numerous works from the French, and written a study of psychoanalysis and fiction, as well as what I found to be a very engaging and thought-provoking—not to speak of amusing—memoir of your last days of psychoanalysis. As if this were not enough, you are also a writer of fiction, with, now, three novels to your credit, the latest being the imminently forthcoming Emperor of Ice-Cream. You also have a life quite apart from literature, of course—family, friends, dinners, outings to concerts and museums, travel. So, my question is, how do you do it?