This book introduces thirty-two key works of European literature in translation to ordinary readers. Ranging from Dante's Divine Comedy to Brecht's Threepenny Opera, Philip Gaskell takes a canon of recognised literary classics and introduces each work, setting it in the literary and historical contexts of its times. The selection of works cover the main genres of poetry, prose and drama, and the other authors included are Petrarch, Villon, Ronsard, Montaigne, Cervantes, Moliere, Voltaire, Rousseau, Goethe, Schiller, Pushkin, Lermontov, Balzac, Flaubert, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, Ibsen, Strindberg, Hamsun, Chekhov, Gorky, Zola, Fontane, Proust, Mann, Kafka, and Pirandello. The author's skills as critic and bibliographer are demonstrated in the practical guide to translations in and out of print, and the recommendations for further reading. There are four appendices to the book that examine issues and problems of translation giving examples side-by-side of different translations for comparison; provide quotations from texts in their original languages; advise on the form and pronunciation of Russian names; and describe the value of money in the mid-to-late-nineteenth century. Aimed at those who want to explore European literature for themselves, this is an extremely readable and entertaining introductory guide.
- Evaluates thirty-two of the greatest works of European literature
- Clear explanation of critical terms and modern literary developments
- Includes short biographies of each author
- The literary and historical contexts are expertly summarised
- Suggests the best available paperback translations
The strength of this guide is the faith it places in the general reader. Its purpose is to provide the basic equipment and encouragement for anyone interested in broadening their reading experience to embark on their own journey through European literature. The book resoundingly achieves what it sets out to do.