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A Very Low Birth Rate in Kakania

Nicholas Spice, 16 October 1997

The Man without Qualities 
by Robert Musil, translated by Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike.
Picador, 1774 pp., £40, November 1995, 0 330 34682 2
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The Man without Qualities 
by Robert Musil, translated by Sophie Wilkins.
Picador, 1130 pp., £15, October 1997, 0 330 34942 2
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... stretches) was similarly awry. And, in almost every case, I found the 1954 translation by Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser, if not very elegant, at least truer to the German original. To translate ‘Sich etwas Schädliches verbieten können, ist die Probe der Lebenskraft! Den Erschöpften lockt das Schädliche!’ as ‘The ability to fend off harm is the ...

Flowering and Fading

Michael Irwin, 6 March 1980

Wrinkles 
by Charles Simmons.
Alison Press/Secker, 182 pp., £4.95, January 1980, 9780436464904
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Devotion 
by Botho Strauss, translated by Sophie Wilkins.
Chatto, 120 pp., £5.50, January 1980, 0 7011 2421 0
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The Followed Man 
by Thomas Williams.
Sidgwick, 352 pp., £5.95, January 1980, 9780399900259
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Reverse Negative 
by André Jute.
Secker, 264 pp., £5.95, January 1980, 0 436 22980 3
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... Two of the novels under review consist of a series of fragments that the reader is tacitly invited to relate. This elliptical mode carries certain obvious advantages: it makes for tautness; it does away with irksome problems of exposition, verisimilitude and consistency. The reader is likely to be particularly alert, apprehensive lest he miss the point: it could be that something deucedly sophisticated is going on ...

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