IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE by John C. Thirlwall


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A Record of the Thirty-Year Relationship between Thomas Mann and His English Translator, Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter"" is that and more: an insight into the translation process itself. Mrs. Lowe first undertook to translate Mann with Buddenbrooks, a task the author pronounced as accomplished ""wie geboren."" (Even so, he was reluctant to deliver Der Zauberberg, The Magic Mountain, into her hands because he felt it required a male outlook.) Buddenbrooks had been a great success in Germany in 1901, but Mann was still unknown here and in England and Mr. Thirlwall suggests that ""without her translations, the name of Thomas Mann might well be as little known to the English speaking world as that of his brother Heinrich."" She proceeded to translate him through the years and through Dr. Faustus, after which she withdrew to attend to her own writing. This book is based on 140 letters from Thomas Mann to Mrs. Lowe, 32 from Katia Mann (Mrs. Lowe's letters were jettisoned in the 1933 move from Munich.) They reveal a meeting of minds, an increasing understanding as to Lebensauffasung (life philosophy), particularly after 1933 when the previously apolitical Mann moved toward a conviction that a total involvement of the artist with the world was required. Mrs. Lowe's comments on Mann's work, particularly Dr. Faustus, are valuable, as are those on the art of the translator: keep the words and the spirit. Special.

Publisher: Knopf