Tag Archive: 0translation

Love me do

Love me do

25th February 2021

Years ago, in my final year as a undergraduate, I took a course on the medieval German epic. I was attracted by the idea of reading old German texts–Tristan and Isolde, Wolfram von Eschenbach‘s Parzival, the Nibelungenlied–although I soon wondered whether the choice was such a good idea when I realised quite how long they […]

Great Scott

Great Scott

22nd January 2021

This year is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott, the great Scottish writer. A few years ago, I managed to visit his house, Abbotsford, when I was up in Edinburgh for the book fair. Sadly, the fair didn’t take place last year, but hopefully it will be back later in 2021. […]

A ‘strange wild book’

A ‘strange wild book’

3rd September 2020

This is a copy of the first edition in English of Bettina von Arnim’s first book, Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde (1835), translated in part by the author herself and privately printed in Berlin.  ‘The printing had almost come to end [sic], when by a variance between the printer and the translator, it was interrupted; […]

Requiem

Requiem

2nd June 2020

I had a very nice response to last week’s post, on Anna Akhmatova. This week, I thought I’d write about another poet I have translated: Gottfried Benn. I originally came across his first published poem sequence, Morgue (1912), when I was at university and had always been disappointed at other English translations which, to me […]

I’ve learned to live a life that’s simple

I’ve learned to live a life that’s simple

28th May 2020

As many of you may know, I also write choral music, and am always on the lookout for interesting texts to set. Early last year, a friend sent me an English translation of a poem she liked by Anna Akhmatova, thinking it may appeal. The translation didn’t rhyme and, curious, I went to find Akhmatova’s […]

A German interest in English folksongs

A German interest in English folksongs

22nd April 2020

German interest in folksongs began in the middle of the eighteenth century, stoked in no small part by the Europe-wide mania for Ossian.  Thomas Percy’s influential Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765) was also much admired, and the philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder, who had been sent a copy by Rudolf Erich Raspe (of Munchausen fame) […]