Saturday, June 09, 2007

Michael Hamburger 1924-2007

Michael Hamburger, the German-British poet, translator and critic, died on Thursday. Here is an obituary from the London Telegraph. He was particularly known for his translations of Holderlin, though he translated many other poets too.

My only introduction to him was through W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn in which he makes a memorable appearance. A very "Sebaldian" figure. A German Jew he emigrated from Germany after the rise of Hitler when he was just nine. He spent his later life living in a village in rural Suffolk, that's where Sebald meets him in the book during his tour in the same region which is the main subject of the book.

Sometime back I also read or rather breezed through his collection of essays on modern German literature titled A Proliferation of Prophets. It contains his essays on Nietzsche, Hofmannsthal, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Kafka, Musil and others. I should check it out once again.


j. stoffel said...

I personally like his Celan translations best. For more on him and on translation, check out this blog:

p.s. enjoyed your post about the Vienna blogs, thanks!

j. stoffel said...

Sorry, the entire link didn't show up; check out this one:

Alok said...

Hi, thanks for the link. There were also some nice obituaries in the British newspapers. I have read German poetry only in bits and pieces but I do plan to read more systematically in near future. I will take a look at the Humburger translations of Paul Celan.

and the austrian literature blogs were wonderful. I did spend a lot of time browsing through the different posts.

Ashok said...

His translations of Goethe and Holderin are worth reading. He has a way of bringing out their power that I haven't quite seen in other translations.