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Foodists

John Bayley, 25 February 1993

A History of Food 
by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, translated by Anthea Bell.
Blackwell, 801 pp., £25, December 1992, 0 631 17741 8
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... pudding. Our methodical and encyclopedically learned author, well and even wittily translated by Anthea Bell, lays stress in all her conclusions on the symbolism of food – meat, bread, wine. St Clement of Alexandria observed in an unbuttoned moment that wine is to bread what the contemplative is to the active life. Yet I would suspect that the ...

Bonté Gracieuse!

Mary Beard: Astérix Redux, 21 February 2002

Asterix and the Actress 
by Albert Uderzo, translated by Anthea Bell.
Orion, 48 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7528 4657 4
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... the key figure among these early ancestors is Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls in a notable rebellion against Julius Caesar in the late 50s BC. Vercingetorix is written up in Caesar’s own self-serving account of the Gallic War as a traitor and Gallic nationalist, who was resoundingly outmanoeuvred by Roman tactics at the Battle of Alesia; he surrendered ...

Vermicular Dither

Michael Hofmann, 28 January 2010

The World of Yesterday 
by Stefan Zweig, translated by Anthea Bell.
Pushkin Press, 474 pp., £20, 1 906548 12 9
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... with Pushkin Press’s nice paper and pretty formats and with new translations by the excellent Anthea Bell,* it seems to be succeeding – John Fowles (a representatively Anglo-Saxon e and u crossbreed) wrote: ‘Stefan Zweig has suffered, since his death in 1942, a darker eclipse than any other famous writer of this century. Even “famous ...

What was it that so darkened our world?

Benjamin Markovits: W.G. Sebald, 18 October 2001

Austerlitz 
by W.G. Sebald, translated by Anthea Bell.
Hamish Hamilton, 415 pp., £16.99, October 2001, 0 241 14125 7
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... Sebald’s prose has an air of vulnerability rather than intimacy – a fault perhaps not of Anthea Bell’s excellent translation but of the English language. When Sebald reads in his native tongue, in his strong Bavarian accent, the heaviness of the language bears the load of his thoughts much more easily, more lightly in fact; and Austerlitz ...

Should a real musician be so tormented with music?

Misha Donat: Robert Schumann and E.T.A. Hoffmann, 15 July 1999

Robert Schumann: Herald of a ‘New Poetic Age’ 
by John Daverio.
Oxford, 618 pp., £30, June 1997, 0 19 509180 9
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The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr 
by E.T.A. Hoffman, translated by Anthea Bell.
Penguin, 350 pp., £7.99, April 1999, 0 14 044631 1
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... many puns chance produces that certainly wouldn’t be written down in any library of belles lettres. Only the lame notary was convinced that the affair was strange, and warranted reporting; and while he was taking another look at the sounding-board, out of the sound holes behind the paper spirals peered – a mouse. Anyone who knows Schumann’s ...
The Age of Terrorism 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 385 pp., £17.95, March 1987, 9780297791157
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The Baader-Meinhof Group: The Inside Story of a Phenomenon 
by Stefan Aust, translated by Anthea Bell.
Bodley Head, 552 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 370 31031 4
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... from his earliest years, a self-willed, highly-talented nonconformist. Insolent, humorous and rebellious, he seems never to have obeyed any rules and had to change schools repeatedly. His last headmaster spoke of him as ‘a particularly gifted young man’, but noted that he got into so many fights that ‘a second Baader would be more than my school could ...

On That Terrible Night …

Christian Schütze: The wartime bombing of Germany, 21 August 2003

On the Natural History of Destruction 
by W.G. Sebald, translated by Anthea Bell.
Hamish Hamilton, 205 pp., £16.99, February 2003, 0 241 14126 5
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Der Brand: Deutschland im Bombenkrieg 1940-45 
by Jörg Friedrich.
Propyläen, 592 pp., €25, November 2002, 3 549 07165 5
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Payback 
by Gert Ledig, translated by Shaun Whiteside.
Granta, 200 pp., £8.99, May 2003, 1 86207 565 4
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... superior Allied air fleet. Friedrich points out that many of the final episodes of destruction, labelled as ‘meaningless’ by the Germans, were responses to equally meaningless acts of resistance – a connection all too readily overlooked. But Allied interviewees admitted, too, that there was no stopping ‘the largest war machine ever assembled’. The ...

The Good Swimmer

Chloë Daniel: Survival in Nazi Germany, 3 November 2016

Gone to Ground: One Woman’s Extraordinary Account of Survival in the Heart of Nazi Germany 
by Marie Jalowicz Simon, translated by Anthea Bell.
Clerkenwell, 350 pp., £8.99, February 2016, 978 1 78125 415 8
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... The German word​ for ‘submerged’ is untergetaucht; it’s also the original title of Marie Jalowicz Simon’s memoir, which has been published in English as Gone to Ground. The term has come to be used of the 15,000 or so Jews who attempted to remain undiscovered in Nazi Germany during the war – they called themselves ‘U-Boats’. Half of them were in Berlin, and of those only 1700 would make it to the end of the war ...

The Politics of Translation

Marina Warner: Translate this!, 11 October 2018

This Little Art 
by Kate Briggs.
Fitzcarraldo, 365 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 910695 45 6
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Translation as Transhumance 
by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz.
Les Fugitives, 150 pp., £10, November 2017, 978 0 9930093 3 4
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Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto 
by Mark Polizzotti.
MIT, 168 pp., £17.99, May 2018, 978 0 262 03799 0
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The 100 Best Novels in Translation 
by Boyd Tonkin.
Galileo, 304 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 903385 67 8
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The Work of Literary Translation 
by Clive Scott.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £75, June 2018, 978 1 108 42682 4
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... often key to the appearance of a writer’s work in another language; it may make their fortune: Anthea Bell (Englishing Sebald) and Ann Goldstein (voicing Elena Ferrante) propelled the authors to cult status beyond their own shores. Like a shrub moved to a sunnier position, writers may thrive when transplanted. Han Kang’s The Vegetarian and Human ...

Separate Development

Patricia Craig, 10 December 1987

The Female Form 
by Rosalind Miles.
Routledge, 227 pp., £15.95, July 1987, 0 7102 1008 6
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Feminism and Poetry 
by Jan Montefiore.
Pandora, 210 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 86358 162 5
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Nostalgia and Sexual Difference 
by Janice Doane and Devon Hodges.
Methuen, 169 pp., £20, June 1987, 9780416015317
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Reading Woman 
by Mary Jacobus.
Methuen, 316 pp., £8.95, November 1987, 0 416 92460 3
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The New Feminist Criticism 
edited by Elaine Showalter.
Virago, 403 pp., £11.95, March 1986, 0 86068 722 8
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Reviewing the Reviews 
Journeyman, 104 pp., £4.50, June 1987, 1 85172 007 3Show More
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... and their modes, even to the extent of calling themselves George Eliot, or Currer, Ellis or Acton Bell. (Odd that the imitators should be inimitable.) No applause for authors laying claim to a tradition, and working within it: just a demand that gender should proclaim itself all over the prose. (Try applying this argument to writing by men, and you will ...

Liquid Fiction

Thomas Jones: Francis Spufford, 25 April 2002

The Child that Books Built: A Memoir of Childhood and Reading 
by Francis Spufford.
Faber, 214 pp., £12.99, April 2002, 0 571 19132 0
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A Child’s Book of True Crime: A Novel 
by Chloe Hooper.
Cape, 238 pp., £12.99, February 2002, 0 224 06237 9
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... of her novels about Cyril (who for some unaccountable reason Spufford thinks is called Hugh), Anthea, Robert and Jane and their magical adventures. The first is Five Children and It (1902) – the fifth child being their baby brother; ‘It’ being the Psammead, or sand fairy, a creature that looks a bit like a monkey with eyes on stalks, can grant a ...

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