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The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and Contemporary Global Literature$
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Jeanne Dubino, Paulina Pajak, Catherine W. Hollis, Celiese Lypka, and Vara Neverow

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474448475

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474448475.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 05 December 2021

‘What a curse these translators are!’ Woolf’s Early German Reception

‘What a curse these translators are!’ Woolf’s Early German Reception

(p.25) 1 ‘What a curse these translators are!’ Woolf’s Early German Reception
The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and Contemporary Global Literature

Daniel Göske

Christian Weiß

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the initial phase of Virginia Woolf’s German reception, focussing on the four books which appeared in German before her death: Theresia Mutzenbecher’s version of Mrs Dalloway (1929), Karl Lerbs’s translations of Orlando: A Biography (1929) and To the Lighthouse (1931), as well as Herberth Herlitschka’s rendering of Flush: A Biography (1934). The correspondence between Insel Verlag and the translators indicates how the publisher and their translators altered details in the narrative and transformed what they called Woolf’s ‘Joycean style’. While Flush sold rather well, Woolf’s three masterpieces were commercially unsuccessful in the German market, though they received quite a good press. Young authors admired the ‘mystical’ modernism of Mrs Dalloway and important critics praised Woolf’s ‘superior cleverness’ in Orlando. Some reviewers, however, preferred Sackville-West’s ‘witty and ironic gossip’ to Woolf’s modernist style in To the Lighthouse. Based on Woolf’s correspondence, the Insel Verlag archive, close comparisons of original and translated texts, and a sketch of the early reviews, the chapter highlights some of the key players, who helped Woolf’s works into the world of books: publishers, editors, agents, translators, critics and far-flung friends.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography, To the Lighthouse, Flush: A Biography, Insel Verlag, Literary modernism, Modernist publishing, German reception of Woolf, German translations of Woolf

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