Ralph Frederick Manheim (April 4, 1907 – September 26, 1992) was an
American translator of German and French literature, as well as
occasional works from Dutch, Polish and Hungarian. He was one of most
acclaimed translators of the 20th century, and likened translation
to acting, the role being "to impersonate his author".
1 Early life
3 Later life and death
4 Awards and honors
Manheim lived for a year in Germany and Austria as an adolescent,
graduated from Harvard at the age of nineteen, and spent time in
Munich and Vienna (studying at the universities) before the rise to
power of Adolf Hitler. He also undertook post-graduate study at Yale
and Columbia universities.
His career as a translator began with Hitler's Mein Kampf,
Houghton Mifflin and published in 1943. Manheim
endeavored to give an exact English equivalent of Hitler's highly
individual, often awkward style, including his grammatical errors.
Manheim translated the works of
Bertolt Brecht (in collaboration with
John Willett), Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Günter Grass, Peter Handke,
philosopher Martin Heidegger, Hermann Hesse, Novalis, and many others.
His translation of Henry Corbin's work Alone with the Alone: Creative
Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi could be considered a major
contribution towards the understanding of Ibn Arabi's and Sufi
philosophy in the English-speaking world.
In 1961, he rendered transcripts of the trial in
Jerusalem of Adolf
Eichmann into English, and Grimm's Tales For Young and Old - The
Complete Stories, published in 1977. Modern readers are familiar with
his 1986 translation of E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The
Nutcracker and the
Mouse King". It was published with illustrations by Maurice Sendak, in
conjunction with the release of the 1986 film Nutcracker: The Motion
Picture. Lovers of children's books also admire his agile translation
of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story.
Later life and death
He moved to
Paris in 1950 and lived there until 1985, when he moved
with his fourth wife to Cambridge, England, where he died in 1992,
at age 85, from complications associated with prostate cancer.
Manheim was Jewish.
Awards and honors
He received the
PEN Translation Prize in 1964.
He received the 1970
National Book Award in the Translation category
for the first U.S. edition of Céline's Castle to Castle.
He was awarded a 1983
MacArthur Fellowship in Literary Studies. He won
Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, a major lifetime
achievement award in the field of translation, in 1988.
Manheim's 1961 translation of Günter Grass's Die Blechtrommel (The
Tin Drum) was elected to fourth place among outstanding translations
of the previous half century by the
Translators Association of the
Society of Authors on the occasion of their 50th anniversary in 2008.
^ FOLKART, BURT A. (1992-09-29). "Ralph Manheim; Master
Literature". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved
^ a b c d Bruce Lambert "Ralph Manheim, 85,
Translator Of Major Works
to English, Dies", New York Times, 28 September 1992. Retrieved on 25
^ a b c John Calder "Obituary: Ralph Manheim", The Independent, 28
^ "National Book Awards – 1970". National Book Foundation. Retrieved
There was a "Translation" award from 1967 to 1983.
ISNI: 0000 0001 0868 5807
BNF: cb120401476 (data)