(urth) BotNS in German

Hmpf MacSlow hmpf1998 at gmx.net
Fri Dec 3 14:00:09 PST 2004

But first: print-on-demand Lexicon Urthus? Very good news. :-)

Yeah, I know I said I'd go back to lurking, but circumstances drive me to 
posting again... circumstances being these: I have this habit of giving my 
mom who, fortunately, is really open-minded my favourite book of the year 
for Christmas. By this self-imposed 'rule' I should have given her BotNS 
last year already, but I was somewhat daunted by the task of finding copies 
of the German version. (I usually read books that were written in English 
in English, but my mom reads mostly German, and I certainly wouldn't ask 
her to read *Wolfe* in English.) But this year, I've found copies of all 
the five volumes, and one of them, UotNS, arrived today. I've only had a 
quick glance at it so far, but even so it is painfully obvious that the 
translation is, well, less than satisfactory. Severian's '... what I've 
done *to* Urth." has been turned into a '... what I've done *for* Urth*, 
Apheta is addressed as 'woman' instead of 'lady', etc. Unfortunately all 
the volumes have been translated by the same translator, so there's little 
hope of the other four volumes being any better.

Add to that the fact that the books have been out of print for years, and 
you can see why I as a German Wolfe fan feel both vaguely ashamed and 
enormously frustrated. I want to recommend this book to people I know, but 
it's unavailable! (I'm translating the book myself now, as 'therapy' for 
that frustration, but of course there is little chance of me finishing that 
work, much less finishing it within any kind of useful timeframe. It 
clearly is a mammoth task.)

In my opinion it is a crying shame that The Book of the New Sun is not 
currently available in a German edition. I don't know if there is any 
chance of us lowly readers influencing the decisions of big publishing 
houses, but maybe it's worth a try. Are there any other German Wolfe 
readers on this list? Maybe a few well-argued letters to Heyne, the 
'current' publisher, and perhaps to Suhrkamp and Klett-Cotta, which IMO 
would me much better suited to Wolfe than Heyne is, couldn't hurt... and if 
we're asking for a reprint, we can just as well ask for a new translation, 

The worst that can happen is that they tell us 'no', in which case we'll be 
no worse off than we are now.


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