A second major example Italie cites is Jonathan Franzen‘s forthcoming The Kraus Project: Essays by Karl Kraus. (At this point it also seems worth pointing out that both these translations-by-notable-novelists are translations of works of non-fiction — disappointing, too.)
Fascinating, too, that the brilliant Kraus isn’t seen as the main selling point of the The Kraus Project:
Even the book’s cover is a departure, reversing the usual billing for author and translator. The title may be The Kraus Project, but featured placement and the biggest letters belong to Franzen.
“To me, this is a Franzen book,” Galassi said. Such, apparently, is the state of translation in the US, that even the likes of Jonathan Galassi — himself a dabbler in translation (even well-regarded, in some circles, as such) — doesn’t think that Kraus could sell the book on his reputation alone (one that surely dwarfs Franzen’s by any measure, save that of contemporary tabloid mentions), but rather that the Franzen-connection is seen as the main selling point and draw.
That is from Literary Saloon. I have pre-ordered my copy.
By the way, why not do the same for economics? Let’s say you are a big name but a little short on ideas or too busy to finish a book. Why not just edit and recycle one of the classics under your name and call it a “Project”?