Shelley Frisch on Translation and Kafka

An interview with Words without Borders
Shelley Frisch. Photograph: Frank Wojciechowski
From Words without Borders:
Our "Translator Relay" series features a new interview each month. This month's translator will choose the next interviewee, adding a different, sixth question. Ross Benjamin passed the baton to Shelley Frisch, who has published widely on German literature, film, cabaret, and the political and linguistic dimensions of exile, as well as on translation; her book on origin of language theories, The Lure of the Linguistic, was published in 2004. Her many translations from the German include biographies of Nietzsche, Einstein, and Kafka, for which she was awarded a Modern Language Association Translation Prize. Frisch also co-directs international translation workshops with Karen Nölle.


Tell us about a current, or future, translation project that you’re excited about.

For the past decade, I’ve been working with Kafka biographer Reiner Stach, who will soon be finishing the third and final volume of his mammoth work. The first volume was published in English in 2005, the second will be coming out this spring with Princeton University Press, and I am working on the translation of the final volume while Reiner Stach writes it (let’s hope his editor goes easy on revisions…). The full set will run more than 2,000 pages; critic Michael Dirda called its lively, enlightening, and beautifully crafted presentation “an enthralling synthesis” in the pages of the Washington Post. Although I have entertained fantasies that the final volume will be briefer, all indications are that it will not be. [Read More]

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