Anthea Bell RIP

Anthea Bell










Today the translation community got the sad news that one of the best-known Translators of the last fifty years had passed away. Anthea Bell is a name readily known too. She had translated a lot of the books I read pre-blog so was a translator. She was best known for her work on the Asterix series. She said in an interview “It’s all about finding the tone of voice in the original. You have to be quite Free”. Klaus Flugge said of Anthea -” Anthea has a talent that not every translator has for catching the mood of a book. Some are a bit more wooden and some try to take too many liberties. She has a knack of hitting the right style and atmosphere,” I was a huge fan of she had featured in a dozen review of her translations over that last eight years of the blog. I had picked my three favorites from the blog.

A minutes silence by Siegfried Lenz – One of the Gruppe 47 writers that post-war set alight German Literature. This is the tale of a doomed romance between a teacher and Pupil.

The glory of life by Michael  Kumpfmüller – The book tells the story of Kafka’s final days as he falls for a younger woman first on the Baltic coast then through Berlin.

Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig – the tale of Ludwig and his love for a married woman was a novella that Zweig worked on for y=twweig translations were simply stunning works of translation. I also enjoyed here Sebald Translation.

Have you a favorite Bell translation?

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 22:20:54

    Here’s one that’s not so well known: An Exclusive Love by Johanna Adorjan. It shows how good she was at capturing the poignant tone of an author’s work.


  2. Craig
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 04:45:44

    Very sad news. As far as Anthea Bell translations that stand out to me, I’d pick In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge and Stefan Zweig’s short stories and novellas. And I have Walter Kempowski’s All for Nothing in my TBR pile.


  3. kimbofo
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 08:06:18

    Oh, I didn’t know she died. I’ve read many Anthea Bell translations over the years. In fact I only read one of hers last week (‘A Crime in the Family’ by Sacha Batthyány). Not sure I have a favourite. Maybe Zweig’s Twenty-four Hours in the Life of a Woman.


  4. MarinaSofia
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 09:22:51

    I was so sad to hear of her death yesterday. She has always been one of my favourite translators, perhaps because of the Asterix connection in childhood (I think she was even more clever in choosing her names than the original French version).


  5. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 19:30:15

    Such a shame. Her Zweig translations are excellent.


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October 2018


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