Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

Translations of "The Tempest" in Germany and Japan

Friederike von Schwerin-High, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Like all of Shakespeare's works, The Tempest, Shakespeare's last play, has been translated into German and Japanese on numerous occasions. This thesis concerns itself with ten landmark translations of The Tempest, exploring them from a theoretical and historical point of view. The translations surveyed are those by Christoph Martin Wieland (1762), August Wilhelm Schlegel (1798), Heinrich Voß (1818), Richard Flatter (1952), Hans Rothe (1963), Rudolf Schaller (1971), Erich Fried (1984), Tsubouchi Shôyô (1915), Toyoda Minoru (1950), and Fukuda Tsuneari (1975). In The Tempest, Shakespeare's most consistently fantastic play, the Other is represented in magical terms. The results of this thesis suggest that in the translations, which are likewise a representation of the Other, the magical aspects become heightened. ^ My analysis draws on a multitude of recent reconceptualizations of and approaches to translation. These include André Lefevere's description of translation as rewriting, Maria Tymoczko's concept of translation as a metonymic process, Lawrence Venuti's insistence on a translation's heterogeneity, Theo Herman's focus on translation as manipulation and as institution, Itamar Even-Zohar's idea of translation as systemic innovation, and Gideon Toury's emphasis on translators' norms. ^ Chapter one gives the methodological groundings of this study. In order to explain what accounts for the comet's tail of translations that Shakespeare's writings have occasioned in German and Japanese, an outline of the modern history of these two vibrant translation cultures is given in chapter two. Chapter three is likewise an historical account, describing the major trends in Shakespeare reception in these two cultures. ^ Chapter four presents the story of The Tempest and aspects of its critical and staging history. Chapter five investigates the literary language of The Tempest, arguing that Shakespeare's word magic is produced by what is always already a “translated” language. Chapter six delineates the ten translators' positions and strategies, their approaches to Shakespeare, and, where applicable, their specific appraisal of The Tempest. This chapter examines, moreover, how the translational practices of the various translators contribute to the construction of a narrative of national identity in the receptor cultures. In chapters seven and eight, five passages from The Tempest and their respective translations are examined, again with an emphasis on the supernatural and fantastic aspects. In the last chapter, the results are summarized and the rewriting of Shakespearean texts is placed in a global context. ^

Subject Area

Comparative literature|Asian literature|German literature|Theater

Recommended Citation

von Schwerin-High, Friederike, "Translations of "The Tempest" in Germany and Japan" (2001). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3012190.