German Philosophy in English Translation : Postwar Translation History and the Making of the Contemporary Anglophone Humanities book cover
1st Edition

German Philosophy in English Translation
Postwar Translation History and the Making of the Contemporary Anglophone Humanities

  • Available for pre-order on April 14, 2023. Item will ship after May 5, 2023
ISBN 9781032391373
May 5, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
184 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
SAVE $32.00
was $160.00
USD $128.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This book traces the translation history of German philosophy, with long and well-justified layovers in Paris, proposing an innovative translation strategy toward addressing the long-standing difficulties in its translation.

The volume discusses the context around why German philosophy, whose profundity is often understood to lie in German’s iconic polysemous vocabulary, has been so difficult to translate. To best grapple with its complexity, Hawkins outlines a strategy of “differential translation,” which involves translating conceptually dense German terms with multiple different terms in the target text, rather than the conventional standard of selecting one term and using it consistently. The book explores how this strategy, which runs counter to the expectation of readers and translators, has played out in debates across both the French-language and English-language translation landscapes, with well-known translators such as Adam Phillips and Joan Stambaugh boldly in favor and others such as Jean Laplanche polemically against it. The book encourages researchers and translators to continue to question norms in translation practice and write translations that do justice to the multifarious meanings in Germanic vocabulary.

This book will be of interest to researchers interested in the German language, translation studies, philosophy, and intellectual history.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. When Thought Resists Translation: The Case for Differential Translation; 2. The Supertranslatability of Metaphor in Hans Blumenberg’s Translation Histories; 3. Retranslating Freud; 4.The Americanization of a French Understanding of Being German; Conclusion; Index

View More



Spencer Hawkins is a Research Fellow in Translation Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. He publishes in Translation Studies, German Studies, and Cultural Studies, and he translates philosophically oriented books. Along with Lavinia Heller, he is co-editing a special issue of Target on migrant scholars’ self-translations.