Thomas Mann in English: A Study in Literary Translation

Thomas Mann in English: A Study in Literary Translation

by David Horton
     
 

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Thomas Mann owes his place in world literature to the dissemination of his works through translation. Indeed, it was the monumental success of the original English translations that earned him the title of 'the greatest living man of letters' during his years in American exile (1938-52). This book provides the first systematic exploration of the English versions,…  See more details below

Overview

Thomas Mann owes his place in world literature to the dissemination of his works through translation. Indeed, it was the monumental success of the original English translations that earned him the title of 'the greatest living man of letters' during his years in American exile (1938-52). This book provides the first systematic exploration of the English versions, illustrating the vicissitudes of literary translation through a principled discussion of a major author. The study illuminates the contexts in which the translations were produced before exploring the transformations Mann's work has undergone in the process of transfer. An exemplary analysis of selected textual dimensions demonstrates the multiplicity of factors which impinge upon literary translation, leading far beyond the traditional preoccupation with issues of equivalence. Thomas Mann in English thus fills a gap both in translation studies, where Thomas Mann serves as a constant but ill-defined point of reference, and in literary studies, which has focused increasingly on the author's wider reception.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Based on thorough expertise and on a comprehensive command of the surprisingly extensive secondary literature on translating Mann, Horton has made a major contribution to the field. Henceforth anyone who wants to comment on translation of Mann must first read and digest this book.” —Modern Language Review, 109.2, 2014

“The subject of this excellent and interesting book is translatability. […] Attention is also paid to Mann's personality, its effect on his writing, and its significance for his translators. Impeccably researched and with excellent use of sources, this book is written with exemplary clarity. Even a reader not entirely familiar with linguistic terminology will have no difficulty following its argument. […] This book's scholarship, clarity, wealth of detail, and insight into translating one of the most difficult of authors should give all translators pause. It deals with important and knotty problems that must be confronted.” —Translation Review

“Horton (Saarland Univ., Germany) presents a detailed analysis of the English translatiosn of Thomas Mann...Horton's archival research unearthed much little-known information about the remarkable triangle of Mann, Lowe-Porter, and Knopf...Summing Up: Highly Recommended. All students, researchers/faculty, general audiences.” —Choice

Thomas Mann in English makes us aware of the daunting task that Mann's translators face when approaching his work, and gives us a new appreciation for their creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems. [...] a book that not only offers meticulously close and sensitive readings of Thomas Mann and his translators, but also serves as a model for future studies of translations.” —Translation and Literature

“Mann's worldwide reputation as one of the preeminent figures in twentieth-century literature rests on the dissemination of his works through the medium of translation. Horton's subject is thus an important one. He approaches it with great expertise in the fields of translation studies and cross-linguistic and intercultural transfer. His analysis is grounded not only theoretically, but also in a thorough knowledge of Mann's works. Anyone interested in Mann and the literary and linguistic aspects of the transformation a text undergoes in the process of translation will profit from this meticulously argued study.” —Jens Rieckmann, Emeritus Professor of German, University of California, Irvine, USA

“David Horton's Thomas Mann in English is a sophisticated and well-researched attempt to pierce the film of ignorance and commonplaces surrounding the field of literary translation, in the context of a specific author whose works became classics thanks largely to the popularity of their translations into English. The most admirable aspect of Horton's work is forensic: with recourse to the correspondence of Thomas Mann, his translator Helen Lowe-Porter, and his publisher Alfred Knopf, he shows the specific factors that went into such decisions as cutting or modifying large blocks of text, changing titles, presenting potentially controversial aspects of the author's work, or discouraging interference from competing translators. […] Taken together, Horton's book provides an excellent introduction for the uninitiated to the field of practical translation studies [...] For translators, Horton points out many potential minefields, and illustrates a number of approaches translators have taken to sidestepping them; and students of Thomas Mann will enjoy the discussion of Mann's years in America, and his partnership with his American publisher in a very deliberate and ultimately successful quest to become one of the signal voices of his time.” —Asymptote

“Horton's clearly written, well-researched study is an important contribution both to the fields of literary translation studies and Thomas Mann scholarship. Especially those interested in the intersection of linguistic and literary analysis and in the psychology of literary reception will find this in-depth study of Mann's English translations thought-provoking. The volume is well-edited with an extensive index and scholarly bibliography and will attract experienced scholars and those new to translation studies equally.” —Monatshefte, Vol. 107, No. 2, 2015

“Horton is a great scholarly stylist, and his erudite and deeply theoretically grounded book is a pleasure to read. It is also enormously informative, adding to our knowledge of Mann's manifestations in English as well as to our acquaintance with the latest thinking within the field of contemporary translation studies.” —Pacific Coast Philology, Vol. 50, 2015

“David Horton's new book is one of the most remarkable, sensitive, and well-researched examinations I am acquainted with of the behind-the-scenes intrigues surrounding translation and retranslation in the context of a writer conceived of even during his lifetime as a “classic.”” —A la recherché du temps perdu

“This study not only provides a history of the translations and editions of Mann's works in English, but also offers an analysis of the stylistic and intercultural aspects of Lowe-Porter's versions ... Written with genuine expertise, Horton's book has closed a serious gap in the secondary literature.” —Germanistik, Vol. 55, 2014

“Thomas Mann is regarded as the most erudite author of German literature in the first part of the twentieth century as well as the most eloquent explicator of its cultural traditions and political trials and tribulations. His relatively early rise to international recognition became only possible through the timely translations and consecutive re-translations of his work into English. David Horton's study is the first comprehensive account and assessment of this complex history of translation and subsequent transculturation of Thomas Mann's work into the English language. By interrogating a variety of theoretical models, Horton provides pertinent frames and focal perspectives to illuminate the multifaceted aspects of this elaborate process.” —Frederick Lubich, Professor of German, Old Dominion University, USA

“Horton's study shows the merits of descriptive translation studies. The sustained close readings make it a valuable resource for anyone interested in the specific stylistic qualities of Mann's work. ... Deliver[s] some superb close readings. It is to be hoped that these close readings will assist readers in articulating their own responses to Mann's work.” —Orbis Litterarum 70:4 344–346, 2015

“This volume will not only be of considerable interest to anyone involved with Mann and his reception, but also to all those engaged in the translation of German literature.” —The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies (Cambridge), 75 (2013), p. 471

J. Hardin

Horton (Saarland Univ., Germany) presents a detailed analysis of the English translatiosn of Thomas Mann...Horton's archival research unearthed much little-known information about the remarkable triangle of Mann, Lowe-Porter, and Knopf...Summing Up: Highly Recommended. All students, researchers/faculty, general audiences.
Todd Kontje

Thomas Mann in English makes us aware of the daunting task that Mann's translators face when approaching his work, and gives us a new appreciation for their creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems. [...] a book that not only offers meticulously close and sensitive readings of Thomas Mann and his translators, but also serves as a model for future studies of translations.
A la recherché du temps perdu Adrian Nathan West

David Horton's new book is one of the most remarkable, sensitive, and well-researched examinations I am acquainted with of the behind-the-scenes intrigues surrounding translation and retranslation in the context of a writer conceived of even during his lifetime as a 'classic.'
Monatshefte - Esther K. Bauer

Horton's clearly written, well-researched study is an important contribution both to the fields of literary translation studies and Thomas Mann scholarship. Especially those interested in the intersection of linguistic and literary analysis and in the psychology of literary reception will find this in-depth study of Mann's English translations thought-provoking. The volume is well-edited with an extensive index and scholarly bibliography and will attract experienced scholars and those new to translation studies equally.
Germanistik - Ehrhard Bahr

This study not only provides a history of the translations and editions of Mann's works in English, but also offers an analysis of the stylistic and intercultural aspects of Lowe-Porter's versions ... Written with genuine expertise, Horton's book has closed a serious gap in the secondary literature.
Modern Language Review

Based on thorough expertise and on a comprehensive command of the surprisingly extensive secondary literature on translating Mann, Horton has made a major contribution to the field. Henceforth anyone who wants to comment on translation of Mann must first read and digest this book.
Translation Review

The subject of this excellent and interesting book is translatability. […] Attention is also paid to Mann's personality, its effect on his writing, and its significance for his translators. Impeccably researched and with excellent use of sources, this book is written with exemplary clarity. Even a reader not entirely familiar with linguistic terminology will have no difficulty following its argument. […] This book's scholarship, clarity, wealth of detail, and insight into translating one of the most difficult of authors should give all translators pause. It deals with important and knotty problems that must be confronted.
Choice

Horton (Saarland Univ., Germany) presents a detailed analysis of the English translatiosn of Thomas Mann...Horton's archival research unearthed much little-known information about the remarkable triangle of Mann, Lowe-Porter, and Knopf...Summing Up: Highly Recommended. All students, researchers/faculty, general audiences.
Translation and Literature

Thomas Mann in English makes us aware of the daunting task that Mann's translators face when approaching his work, and gives us a new appreciation for their creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems. [...] a book that not only offers meticulously close and sensitive readings of Thomas Mann and his translators, but also serves as a model for future studies of translations.
Jens Rieckmann

Mann's worldwide reputation as one of the preeminent figures in twentieth-century literature rests on the dissemination of his works through the medium of translation. Horton's subject is thus an important one. He approaches it with great expertise in the fields of translation studies and cross-linguistic and intercultural transfer. His analysis is grounded not only theoretically, but also in a thorough knowledge of Mann's works. Anyone interested in Mann and the literary and linguistic aspects of the transformation a text undergoes in the process of translation will profit from this meticulously argued study.
Asymptote

David Horton's Thomas Mann in English is a sophisticated and well-researched attempt to pierce the film of ignorance and commonplaces surrounding the field of literary translation, in the context of a specific author whose works became classics thanks largely to the popularity of their translations into English. The most admirable aspect of Horton's work is forensic: with recourse to the correspondence of Thomas Mann, his translator Helen Lowe-Porter, and his publisher Alfred Knopf, he shows the specific factors that went into such decisions as cutting or modifying large blocks of text, changing titles, presenting potentially controversial aspects of the author's work, or discouraging interference from competing translators. […] Taken together, Horton's book provides an excellent introduction for the uninitiated to the field of practical translation studies [...] For translators, Horton points out many potential minefields, and illustrates a number of approaches translators have taken to sidestepping them; and students of Thomas Mann will enjoy the discussion of Mann's years in America, and his partnership with his American publisher in a very deliberate and ultimately successful quest to become one of the signal voices of his time.
Monatshefte

Horton's clearly written, well-researched study is an important contribution both to the fields of literary translation studies and Thomas Mann scholarship. Especially those interested in the intersection of linguistic and literary analysis and in the psychology of literary reception will find this in-depth study of Mann's English translations thought-provoking. The volume is well-edited with an extensive index and scholarly bibliography and will attract experienced scholars and those new to translation studies equally.
Pacific Coast Philology

Horton is a great scholarly stylist, and his erudite and deeply theoretically grounded book is a pleasure to read. It is also enormously informative, adding to our knowledge of Mann's manifestations in English as well as to our acquaintance with the latest thinking within the field of contemporary translation studies.
A la recherché du temps perdu

David Horton's new book is one of the most remarkable, sensitive, and well-researched examinations I am acquainted with of the behind-the-scenes intrigues surrounding translation and retranslation in the context of a writer conceived of even during his lifetime as a "classic."
Germanistik

This study not only provides a history of the translations and editions of Mann's works in English, but also offers an analysis of the stylistic and intercultural aspects of Lowe-Porter's versions ... Written with genuine expertise, Horton's book has closed a serious gap in the secondary literature.
Frederick Lubich

Thomas Mann is regarded as the most erudite author of German literature in the first part of the twentieth century as well as the most eloquent explicator of its cultural traditions and political trials and tribulations. His relatively early rise to international recognition became only possible through the timely translations and consecutive re-translations of his work into English. David Horton's study is the first comprehensive account and assessment of this complex history of translation and subsequent transculturation of Thomas Mann's work into the English language. By interrogating a variety of theoretical models, Horton provides pertinent frames and focal perspectives to illuminate the multifaceted aspects of this elaborate process.
2015 Orbis Litterarum 70:4 344–346

Horton's study shows the merits of descriptive translation studies. The sustained close readings make it a valuable resource for anyone interested in the specific stylistic qualities of Mann's work. ... Deliver[s] some superb close readings. It is to be hoped that these close readings will assist readers in articulating their own responses to Mann's work.
The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies (Cambridge)

This volume will not only be of considerable interest to anyone involved with Mann and his reception, but also to all those engaged in the translation of German literature.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441166807
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
04/11/2013
Series:
New Directions in German Studies
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
204
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

David Horton teaches English Translation Studies at Saarland University, Germany

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