Of (Missing) Translators and Literature in Translation

Lewis Tanner take5 at bway.net
Fri Feb 9 19:57:53 EST 2007

Scot Kamins wrote:
> Folks,
> While doing the Book Notes project, my thoughts have turned to the
> issue of translations. (I'm listing the translators, when available
> and as appropriate -- or at least the principal translators).
> Specifically, two things are striking:
> 1) A translation is NOT the original.
> 2) ML sometimes doesn't list translators at all! Given (1), who is
> the author of the ML version of Mille de Maupin, based on the novel
> by Gautier? You might as well list the author as "Anonymous." What
> were they thinking?
> Scot Kamins
> ..............
Scott, My copy of Andre Gide's "The Counterfeiters" has the following
printed on the title page, "Translated from the French by Dorothy 
Bussy." While the book is missing a dust jacket, it is probably 
#187 as listed in the "Complete list of titles in The Modern Library"
pages at the end of the book. [What I've found of most interest though 
is the inscription opposite the title page by the purchaser/owner.] 
Stendhal's "The Red and the Black" lists C. K. Scott Montcrieff as
translator (copyright, 1926, by Boni and Liveright).
Mann's "Doctor Faustus" was translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter 
(copyright, 1948, by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.)
Tolstoy's "War and Peace" was translated by Constance Garnett 
(no info listed on the copyright or title page). 
Gogol's "Dead Souls" has no info about the translator on the 
title page but printed on the copyright page is "Copyright, 1923, 
by Mrs. Edward Garnett." There is a translator's preface at the 
front of the book but the translator's name is omitted.    
Koestler's "Darkness at Noon" [#74] was tranlated by Daphne Harding.

There doesn't appear to be a standard for listing translators 
based on this very short screening of my ML translations. 
(1) Could some translators have asked NOT to have their names 
used due to contractual conflicts? (2) could ML have printed 
translations without getting permission from the copyright holder? 
regards, Lewis

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