Thursday, April 24, 2014

PIketty cartonne!

It's been interesting to watch the fortunes of French economist Thomas Piketty's Le capital au 21e siècle since its publication in France last September. I'm well placed to do so, since I'm the book's English translator. The French version has sold well from the start. For the past 78 days straight, it has been on the Top 100 list of amazon.fr. But today, for the first time, it hit no. 1 in France, as news of Piketty's astonishing success in the United States returned to French shores. It's as if France was awaiting validation of its latest intellectual superstar by the tough American audience.

In the United States, success came swiftly. Two Nobel prizewinners wrote glowing reviews: Paul Krugman and Robert Solow. A third Nobel laureate, Joseph Stiglitz, praised the book during a public appearance with Piketty at CUNY. Economist Brad DeLong sums up the burgeoning discussion of the book here. This is the first Harvard University Press book to make the New York Times bestseller list since the 1990s.

I'm pleased to be associated with this important book and congratulate Thomas on his well-deserved recognition.

12 comments:

brent said...

Art,

The amazing hoop-la over this book is one of the more exciting developments in recent American political culture--right up there with the Occupy movement, and quite a few commentators are pointing to the strong connection between the two.

My sincerest congratulations to you for your role in it.

Brent

Anonymous said...

Art,

Félicitations au traducteur! C'est tout ce que j'ai à dire...

Arun

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Art. I'm very happy for you

Cincinna said...

Congratulations, Art, on your contribution to this very successful book.

robert pattinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robert pattinson said...

Thomas Piketty launches a new look at the formation and retention of capital in the last century. A smart approach, easy to understand, even for non-economists. An indispensable book. Myrtle Beach Real Estate

Melissa Wolf said...

i find it hard to believe that there is no discussion of the fact that the "WEALTH" that is so divorced from productivity is not called out for what it is which is FRAUD

Charles A said...

Perhaps of interest to those who find Hollande's austerity a problem for "Socialists," a Marxist review of Piketty's book is at
http://mltoday.com/professor-piketty-fights-orthodoxy-and-attacks-inequality


Margaret Somers said...

Art, does this mean you'll be performing Piketty's theory and becoming a rentier?--a well-deserved one, to be sure, in contrast to the patrimonial rogues ;)

Mitch Guthman said...

Art,

I would also like to add my congratulations on a great and very readable translation. I have been reading the articles and watching the forums. About one-third of the way through a borrowed copy but I have ordered a copy for myself, so I will now have two books in the Goldhammer translations. Piketty is indeed a phenom.

Also, I liked your piece in the Daily Beast. It was an a measured and excellent rebuttal to one of the most confused, self-contradictory and incoherent things ever written in the English language.

Unknown said...

In the NYU forum with Piketty and Steiglitz, Krugman talks about the excellence of the translation, deserving particular credit for its appeal in the US, but unfortunately forgets to name the translator.

JG

FrédéricLN said...

Actually, I heard about the excellence of the translation, and wondered if you Art were the man ;-)

"today, for the first time, it hit no. 1 in France, as news of Piketty's astonishing success in the United States returned to French shores. It's as if France was awaiting validation of its latest intellectual superstar by the tough American audience." -> I think that's exactly what happened.

Piketty's points were more or less already well-known by specialists; a broader audience in the media milieu considered him more or less as "one of the intellectuals who were around Ségolène Royal in 2006-2007" which wasn't a great business card (the same for me of course in the Bayrou campaign, at a much lower level than Mr Piketty of course).

That he became "someone two American Nobel Prizes praise" means a real new place on the stage.