Abstract

It has long been known that Jonathan Griffin's English translation of Nikos Kazantzakis's Kapetan Michalis is plagued by omissions and inaccuracies. Previous investigations accounted for these in terms of an attempt to remove blatantly anti-Turkish sentiment (Vamvaka 1998) or to reduce the author's tendency to digress or provoke (Beaton 2006), without investigating the possibility that Griffin was not translating from the original Greek text. Recently catalogued unpublished correspondence between translators, publishers, and Eleni and Nikos Kazantzakis reveals that Griffin based his version on Helmut von Steinen's rendition of the novel in German, which was substantially altered by Walter Kahnert of Herbig Verlag before appearing in print. Moreover, it emerges that the English text is just one in a series of translations commissioned by the German-Jewish publisher Max Tau, who made use of an extensive network of contacts to promote Kazantzakis's work on the international market, with what was often scant regard for the accuracy of foreign language editions. Based on this finding, a comparison of translations published in six Germanic languages (German, English, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch) enables us to propose a stemma for Northern European versions of Kapetan Michalis.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 241-262
Launched on MUSE
2010-07-09
Open Access
No
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