The Linguist

TheLinguist 58,3-June/July 2019

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 12 of 35

FEATURES @Linguist_CIOL JUNE/JULY The Linguist 13 Both series comprised mainly middlebrow non-fiction titles drawn from the lists of major American publishers, although a few literary works were featured, particularly among the OEs. These included Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, an Italian landings fictional tale by Harry Brown, Howard Fast's Citizen Tom Paine, Ernie Pyle's The Story of G.I. Joe and EB White's One Man's Meat. Charlotte's Web, also by White, was the only literary text among the TEs. 2 A SPIRITUAL VACUUM These books were initially distributed by SHAEF, which closed down publishing facilities in western Germany before being disbanded itself in July 1945. The military government in each occupation zone then assumed responsibility for the rehabilitation of local publishing by distributing licences to 'clean' German citizens. In contrast to the western allies, and in response to 12 years of Nazi propaganda and middlebrow literature, leading German publishers in the western and Soviet zones placed a strong emphasis on literary rehabilitation aimed primarily at opinion makers and the young. They did this by promoting what Ernst Rowohlt, of Rowohlt Verlag, termed "the dictatorship of the good book". 3 As he had intimated previously, what he was referring to first and foremost was the predominance of highbrow literature in translation, as well as the work of German émigré writers, all of which was intended to fill a spiritual and intellectual vacuum created by Nazi censorship: Are you aware that in Germany there is an entire generation that knows nothing of what we call literature? Sinclair Lewis, Joseph Conrad, André Gide – they hardly even know their names. In 1938 already, it was impossible to publish English or American authors, and when the war broke out, all foreign literature disappeared from libraries, along with German literature prior to 1933. Thirty-year-olds today were 17 at that time. It is this, and this alone, that interests me at this time, this spiritual and intellectual vacuum in the generation that is now expected to sort out the mess. 4 This vacuum was also of prime concern to Johannes R Becher, the head of Aufbau Verlag, the main publishing house in the Soviet zone. A poet prized by the Soviets, he was the first president of the Kulturbund zur demokratischen Erneuerung Deutschlands (cultural league for the democratic renewal of Germany). The Soviets, too, understood the power of literature. Prior to the currency reform of 1948, they published six times as many books in their zone as the other allies, and Aufbau's production far exceeded that of the leading publishing houses in the western zones: Kurt Desch Verlag in Munich and Rowohlt Verlag, based mainly in Stuttgart and Hamburg. Rowohlt became the only publishing house with a presence in all four zones after the Soviets granted it a licence in spring 1947. Aufbau, however, was the first publishing house to be granted a licence in occupied Germany, in August 1945, and was consequently the first German publisher to bring out a book. The Kulturbund's manifesto and the first edition of the cultural-political journal Aufbau both appeared in September 1945. RUSSIAN TRANSLATIONS Aufbau's programme was initially determined by Becher and Paul Wiegler, a writer and translator of French classics. In the first year, works by German exiles predominated, since their books were already in print, or readily available. Becher and Wiegler also had a large backlist of Russian translations to draw on. Existing translations of works by Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy and Gorky could quickly be equipped with new covers. Aufbau's translation programme was strengthened further in 1947, when Becher enlisted the help of Erich Wendt, who had been active in Soviet exile as a translator of Russian. Wendt brought extensive knowledge of Russian and Soviet literature with him. He took control of Slavistics alongside the editor and translator Hertha von Schulz, a renowned translator of Tolstoy and Chekhov. Thus, by the early 1950s, 70% of translated titles in OCCUPATION A British armoured car at the Brandenburg Gate in occupied Berlin (main image); French forces in Berlin, May 1946 (top); and (above) Hemingway works on For Whom the Bell Tolls, which featured in the American book distribution programme GERMANY DEUTSCHE FOTOTHEK CC BY-SA 3.0

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