Doctor Faustus (Thomas Mann)

English translations

  • H. T. Lowe-Porter translated many of Mann's works, including Doctor Faustus, almost contemporaneously with their composition. Mann completed Doctor Faustus in 1947, and in 1948 Alfred A. Knopf published Lowe-Porter's English translation. The translator in her note remarked 'Grievous difficulties do indeed confront anyone essaying the role of copyist to this vast canvas, this cathedral of a book, this woven tapestry of symbolism.' She described her translation as 'a version which cannot lay claim to being beautiful, though in every intent it is deeply faithful.' She found a linguistic spirit comparable to Mann's intended authorial 'voice', and employed medieval English vocabulary and phrasing to correspond with those sections of the text in which characters speak in Early New High German.
  • John E. Woods' translation of 1997 is in a more modern vein, and does not attempt to mirror the original in this way.

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