Who created Ulysses

"Damn good book, that." On the revision of the Ulysses translation by Hans Wollschläger

The English writer Malcolm Lowry is credited with this insightful anecdote: “Nice comment from a friend to whom I am Ulysses had borrowed and who returned it to me the next morning with the words: 'Damn good book, that.' “Even who doesn't have access to Ulysses thinks seems obliged to be impressed. No doubt about it, it's a “damn good book”, but it definitely won't read out overnight. Even an uninterrupted audio book version of the original takes 42 hours. And in the sense of a one-time reading, this novel cannot be read at all, because only when reading it again do the reader gradually light up where he was previously groping in the dark. And even who the wanderings of the Ulysses undertakes more often, will always turn a corner in this novel of a city and wonder where the expected déjà-vu or déjà-lu has gone. This book is like Odysseus and his less heroic modern hero, Leopold Bloom, polýtropos: it changes shape constantly, it is cunning, and there is a lot of wandering in it. The story of the bourgeois Dubliner Odysseus is therefore not suitable for a one-night stand: anyone who wants to get to know it needs curiosity, patience and persistence; in return, lovers who embark on this adventure can expect extraordinary surprises, insights and delights.

One of the greatest disappointments the critics could cause James Joyce was their failure to notice the ubiquitous comedy of the work. One of them was the psychoanalyst C. G. Jung, and Joyce commented dryly: “He seems that Ulysses from beginning to end without reading a smile. The only thing you can do in such a case is to change the drink. ”Of course, Joyce was not entirely innocent of the fact that his early readers expected highly serious, ultra-modern, occidental education rather than causes for Homeric laughter. Not least to rebut the accusation of obscenity, which was dangerous for a literary work at the time, he had done his part to ensure that word quickly got around that the novel was on the Odyssey and is subject to a complex scheme of structural elements in structure and language, which are assigned to the individual episodes. But maybe he just relied on his readers to draw humor from the contrast between the heroic world of Homer and the shabby, narrow-minded elegance of his fin de siècle Dublin. Or is it not funny when his city-Ulysses brings his wife breakfast to bed in an episode devoted to the nymph Calypso, under which her chamber pot is poking out, or when his one-eyed Cyclops proves to be a stupid, furious, foamy, local nationalist and antisemite ? Joyce named the episodes of his novel after the Homeric equivalents listed on page 5. Since they immediately reveal thematic references - the Hades episode, for example, tells about Paddy Dignam's funeral, the Nausicaa episode Bloom's encounter with young Gerty MacDowell on the beach - they have proven to be useful guides when reading and talking. The basic structure of the work is actually easy to survey. The reader accompanies three main characters, the ambitious budding poet Stephen Dedalus, the advertising acquirer Leopold Bloom and his wife, the singer Marion (Molly) Bloom, in 18 episodes and just as many hours through Dublin on June 16, 1904 and the early hours of the next day . It's almost a day like any other, and just like in real life, the daily tragic comedy largely takes place in the protagonists' minds. How Joyce succeeds in demonstrating and demonstrating this inner experience, instead of telling it traditionally and commenting on it, is one of the astonishing miracles of this relentless, but also very humane mirror that he holds up to our urban dwelling nature. The challenge for the reader is not to give up when he threatens to get lost in the shimmering diversity of the urban landscape and its inhabitants and in the various perspectives and linguistic-stylistic breaks like in a labyrinth. My heretical but serious advice to first-time readers should they get away from the ominous reputation of the Ulysses To be intimidated is to begin with the final episode, Molly Bloom's punctuated monologue. One thing is already revealed: Spoiler warnings are unnecessary for Ulysses, and the thriller question "Who was it?", which the reader sometimes does, remains consistently unanswered. Molly's cathartically cleansing thunderstorm of thoughts has a reliable pull on the reader and can give an initial idea of ​​the comedy and linguistic magic of the work. If you really want to start at the beginning, you can do so with the fourth, the first Bloom episode, because the first six episodes of the novel, the plot of which begins around 8 a.m., overlap in time. (Once you have become curious, it is easy to make up for what you have missed.) Episodes one to three, the actual beginning of the Ulysses namely, may prove to be a bit awkward to a reader unfamiliar with Stephen Dedalus from Joyce's first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Especially the admirable third episode, which rigorously reflects the complex inner workings of this recalcitrant, contradicting young intellectual, is the reason for quite a few first-time readers to continue reading the Ulysses to postpone later. We all know what "later" means in this case - but also that dropouts lose a holiday, "Bloomsday"; because June 16 belongs exclusively to them Ulysses-Readers.

With regard to the revision of the 1975 translation, there are essentially three questions to be answered:

1. Why does Hans Wollschläger's successful translation of the Ulysses a fundamentally revised version by James Joyce?

2. What were the main focuses of the revision work?

3. How was the procedure?

Reasons for revising Hans Wollschläger's translation As early as 1975, in the follow-up to the two-volume bound edition of the new translation, it was emphasized that there was no error-free English text. A work of the length and complexity of the Ulysses, in seven difficult years of exile, 1914 - 1921 in Trieste, Zurich and Locarno, again Trieste and finally Paris, copied by countless typists, often overwhelmed by the language and handwriting of the author, set in a French printer for reasons of censorship, by a difficult one eye-suffering author corrected and on this occasion drastically expanded from stacks of notes and finally hastily completed under the pressure of an ominous publication date - that did not promise a trustworthy original. Only a reconstruction of the sometimes adventurous text genesis on the basis of the extensive notes, manuscripts, typescripts and proofs finally led, after seven years of work in a project funded by the German Research Foundation under the direction of Hans Walter Gabler, to the Critical and Synoptic Edition of the novel in 1984, which has since established itself and proven itself worldwide as the standard reference text for Joyce research.

It was HansWollschläger's own wish, his translation to the critically edited English Ulysses which differs significantly from the first edition published in 1922. The spectrum of thousands of editorial changes ranges from formatting and punctuation to individual words and missing or incorrectly placed sentences.

A few examples may illustrate this: Where Wollschläger found “a gray sweet mother” in his original in the first episode of the novel, there is now “a great sweet mother”, and only in this form is Buck Mulligan's allusion to “Algy”, the Poet Algernon Swinburne and his poem "The Triumph of Time", coherent: "Isn't the sea what Algy calls it: a great sweet mother?"

In the 3rd episode, in which Stephen Dedalus is on the beach of Sandymount, the following sentence could be read so far: “Unwholesome sandy areas lurked to suck on his stepping soles, exhaling a clotted mist. He held on to their edges, with a careful step. "The revised version adds a missing sentence at the end:" Unwholesome sandy areas lurked to suck on his stepping soles, exhaling a clotted mist. He clung to their edges, walked carefully, a bubble of seaweed smoldering in the sea fire under a pile of human ash. "Joyce had it a few months before the publication of the Ulysses Supplemented in proofs that accidentally went unnoticed in the Dijon print shop.

Even more important is an addition in the 9th episode, as it clarifies a much discussed question that Stephen asks his late mother in one of the "hallucinatory" scenes in the 15th episode without receiving an answer: "Tell me the word, Mother if you know now The word that everyone knows. ”(Unlike Hans Wollschläger, the revision assumes that not only all men know this word.) In several lines of text that the typist of the 9th episode accidentally skipped over when copying the manuscript anticipated Stephen's own answer to his question: “Love, yes. Word known to all men. "/" Love, yes. Word that everyone knows. "

The last episode, Molly Bloom's famous monologue, contains the following confusing passage: "Anyway, he forgets that we don't me." Wollschläger's original text was no less cryptic: “he forgets that we then I dont”. The critical edition restitutes what Joyce actually wrote:

As the English Dialect Dictionary explains, “wethen / whethen / why then” is a common exclamation in Ireland at the time, which is roughly equivalent to an indignant “So something like that!”. The passage now reads more conclusively: “In any case, he won't forget me”.

Hans Wollschläger was also known that the understanding of Joyce's complex masterpiece had deepened in many ways in the three decades since it was translated. The language of the novel, which includes all conceivable registers, style levels, regional and historical variants, was meanwhile from Oxford English Dictionary lexicologically largely recorded, Don Gifford's indispensable annotations Ulysses have been available in a significantly expanded and corrected second edition since 1984; the setting of the novel, Dublin in 1904, was written by Clive Hart and Ian Gunn in James Joyce’s Dublin systematically researched and its extensive Dublin staff most recently by Vivien Igoe in The Real People of James Joyce’s "Ulysses". Over three decades, hundreds of other meaningful annotations of the text had also been published in specialist journals. In other words: In many places where Hans Wollschläger still had to give inspired advice, the revision was able to orientate itself on new research results.

Internet search engines and electronic databases, especially Google Books with more than 20,000,000 documents and the groundbreaking online version of the Oxford English Dictionary have meanwhile opened up research opportunities that a translator in the 1970s could only dream of. Our own research during the revision work led to a considerable number of new insights, which have been published in an electronic specialist journal, the James Joyce Online Notes, be published. In March 2007 there was a meeting with Hans Wollschläger, at which it was discussed how a small team on behalf of Suhrkamp Verlag could work on the extensive revision. After his sudden death on May 19, the publisher decided to stick with the planned revision. Ten years later it has now been completed. The team initially included Harald Beck, Dirk Schultze and Dirk Vanderbeke from 2007 to 2009, and Harald Beck from 2009 to 2017 as well as Ruth Frehner and Ursula Zeller, curators of the James Joyce Foundation in Zurich. As with Hans Wollschläger's original translation, Fritz Senn, head of the James Joyce Foundation in Zurich, was also available as a mentor for the revised translation (in the Homeric tradition) from 2009, although he is secretly convinced that he is Ulysses does not translate.

Main focus of the revision work

First and foremost was the adaptation of the 1975 translation to the critical edition of the original, which was already discussed.

Lexicological revision

A central area of ​​work was the lexicological revision under various aspects. The translator can run into misunderstandings depending on the context, even with harmless vocabulary: For example, when Wollschläger in the 10th episode “Gerty MacDowell carrying the Catesby cork lino letters for her father who was laid up” with “Gerty MacDowell, who is just replacing her sick father for Catesby , Cork linoleum, letters delivered ”translated. In the 13th episode in which Gerty MacDowell as Ulysses-Blooms Nausikaa works, but the reader learns: "She had to go into town to bring him the letters and samples from his office about Catesby’s cork lino". Gerty takes home the letters intended for her father, she does not deliver them in his place. Occasionally it was necessary to expose a "false friend": When in the 4th episode Milly writes in her letter to her father: "Fair day and all the beef to the heels were in", the translator can easily believe that it was a beautiful one Day was. But Milly works in the provinces and “fair day” is market day, which explains why “all the thick-skinned Trinen” came in. And more often than hoped, the translator has to crack a hard nut that the text offers him with his own research. In the 7th episode there is the cryptic line: “In ferial tone he addressed J. J. O’Molloy.” None of the im Oxford English Dictionary The given definitions of the adjective "ferial" allow a convincing translation in the context.

It is a musicological term that is rarely used today and refers to the so-called "tonus ferialis" or Ferialton in mass singing, the everyday variant in contrast to the "tonus festivus".

For decades, Joyce was primarily seen as a brilliant new creator. At the time of Wollschläger's translation, Joyce research was only just beginning to understand the rigorous documentary nature of his “diary” of the 16th and 17th centuries. June 1904 to be discovered. It manifests itself not only in the meticulously recorded topography and street furniture of the Dublin setting, the staff of the novel with hundreds of secondary characters, whose real models have left their verifiable traces in the text, but above all in its systematic evaluation of the most diverse contemporary language material. “Contemporary” is to be equated with the life and memory of his characters and the life of the author up to the end of 1921, which dates back to the middle of the 19th century. Many word formations that were ascribed to Joyce have meanwhile proven to be the adoption of already existing language material, which not infrequently documents the generic pleasure of the hiberno-English language community in word play. Even Stephen Dedalus ’much-quoted 36-letter creation" contransmagnificandjewbangtantiality "reveals its origin from the language of a yesterday that is already fading. James Clarence Mangan's "transmagnificanbandancial" or Billy Murray's popular song, "Trans-mag-ni-fi-can-ban-dam-u-al-i-ty" were the godfathers. The temptation for the translator was therefore great, supposedly following in Joyce's footsteps, to create neologisms himself that are not necessary on closer inspection. In the penultimate, 17th episode of the novel, the reader learns that Bloom and Stephen are enjoying “the creature cocoa” in the kitchen of 7 Eccles Street in the early morning hours of June 17th, which Wollschläger translates as “the creamy cocoa”.Creature, in today's parlance in Ireland mostly related to whiskey, here simply means something like "refreshment" (OED: "A material comfort; something which promotes well-being").

When Bloom in his mind regrets Mrs. Purefoy's lot as the constantly pregnant mother of a stately group of children, the English original says: “Hardy annuals he presents her with” and when the translator has made sure that a “hardy annual” corresponds to a hardy perennial, he will start looking for a metaphorical solution. Wollschläger's translation already suggests that Ulysses The circulating botanical pun don't shine through: "And for her every year the same capital investment as a gift." The revision tries to keep it: "Year after year he gives her a hardy plant."

Joyce also included short-lived, local idioms in the collection of the linguistic pieces in the mosaic of his contemporary painting, which are now almost incomprehensible and apparently escaped the attention of lexicologists. For decades, for example, the commentators were in the dark about the meaning of the idioms “I'd like my job” in the 5th episode or “Leave it to my hands” in the 11th episode, until Eamonn Finn from Dublin was able to solve the two riddles : “Anything else!” And “Just my hands” are correct translations. But all efforts to find out more about the phrases "Herring’s blush" or "pepper on him", which describe the pub owner Davy Byrne within a few lines in the 8th episode, have so far been in vain. (The suggestions made in the secondary literature lack any documentary basis.) And these are just two examples of some of the mysterious things in Ulysses.

"Ulysses" as a linguistic document of the times

In keeping with the documentary character of a novel that captures the linguistic and lifeworld of one day and one night in Dublin in the summer of 1904, the revision tries as far as possible to avoid vocabulary and idioms in the German translation that arose well after the time the novel was written. An undertaking that has only become halfway practicable thanks to the databases available today. Leopold Bloom was born in 1866, and his linguistic world defines large parts of the novel. This explains why Joyce informed his patroness Harriet Shaw Weaver that his father John Stanislaus (born 1849) had "hundreds of pages and dozens of characters" Ulysses had contributed. Joyce was aware that the authentic voice that he - born in 1882 - could give Stephen Dedalus and his peers, needed another contemporary witness for Bloom's generation. Unlike when Wollschläger's translation was created, it is now possible, thanks to Google Books, to check with comparatively little effort whether a certain expression was in use within a certain time frame. Of course, it must be taken into account that obscene and blasphemous slang in particular generally has a longer latency period until around the First World War before it appears in printed texts.

The 7th episode of the novel, which is in the offices of Freeman’s Journal and Evening Telegraph is pervaded by a kind of chronology of the newspaper headlines. One of them, relating to the funeral of Paddy Dignam on June 16, 1904, reads: WITH UNFEIGNED REGRET IT IS WE ANNOUNCE THE DISSOLUTION OF A DUBLIN BURGESS. Hans Wollschläger translates: "It is with sincere regret that we announce the passing of a highly respected Dublin citizen." The hollow and dusty pathos of the English original can, however, be reproduced even more precisely if the translator can ensure that the corresponding vocabulary is also used in the early German language 19th century: WITH UNCHEMED REPRESENTATION WE REPORT THE DESOLUTION OF A HIGHLY RESPECTED DUBLIN CITIZENSMAN. The word "dissolution", which is now perceived as inappropriate in such a context, was quite common at the time, as the following text example from a letter from Schiller from 1802 shows: "For fourteen days I have been looking forward to the painful news of its dissolution with fear." Occasionally the reader may have doubts about the consistency of these efforts; E.g. when words like “girls” or “doped” are used in the revised translation. But both can easily be proven for the time the novel was written. Girls and doped racehorses were topics of conversation in Germany as early as the beginning of the 20th century. The popular feeling for language is an unreliable guide when it comes to dating questions outside of our own experience.

It should not go unmentioned that the reformed spelling, which Hans Wollschläger thought was wrong anyway, would have had an "anachronistic" effect.

The following example shows how the lack of consideration of the documentary character of the text can be reflected in the staff: In the 8th episode, Bloom improvises a joking culinary exchange: “May I tempt you to a little more filleted lemon sole, Miss Dubedat. Yes, do bedad. And she did bedad. ”Although Bloom continues in his inner monologue:“ A miss Dubedat lived in Killiney ”and thus emphasizes the real life background, Wollschläger changes Miss Dubedat to“ Miss Dusedat ”for his subsequent pun:“ Oh yes, dun Se dat ". A minor character related to Blooms' real life in Dublin is lost in the novel. With the play on words “do bedad” Joyce explicitly refers to the stage name of the “Irish nightingale”: Miss du Bédat (1860-1932). The revision gives the reality priority over the smoother play on words: “… Miss Dubedat? Oh yes, dun Se dat. And then did se dat with God. "

Place and time documentary

Also uncertain knowledge of the scenes of the, reproduced with the greatest precision by Joyce Ulysses can cause translation glitches. For example, the translation from 1975 made the carriages of the funeral procession for Paddy Dignam turn instead of turn in the narrow suburban street, which not only would have been almost impossible, but would also have meant a drastic break in dignity and etiquette in the ritual of a funeral procession. It is topographical reality that defines the word “turn” here: the cars turn left from Newbridge avenue into Tritonville road. It is surprising that, despite his great admiration for Arno Schmidt, whose work is known to be meticulously anchored in reality, Hans Wollschläger offers to deal with the real scenes of the Ulysses to familiarize, turned down.

Revisions to the inner monologue

Another area of ​​work for the revision was the internal monologue of the three main characters. Here, too, the focus has sharpened since 1975. Wollschläger's tendency to formulate correct, fluent sentences and his generous use of filler words and spontaneous additions make the inner monologue of the main characters, which realistically tends to ellipse and erratic, often appear more articulate and coherent than Joyce consciously designed it.

Bloom thinks of Ben Dollard, a habitually thirsty soul: “Powerful man he was at stowing away number one bass.” Wollschläger translates: “Capacity like a barrage stallion. And the first-class bass beer, which he stows away at the bar, directly unlikely! ”The revision changes to:“ The man cleaned up powerful bass number one. "(OED: stow away: jocularly, to 'put out of sight', 'dispose of'). Bloom doesn't have to make it clear in his mind that Bass number one is beer. Stephen Dedalus sees two women again on the beach who he had already met: “the two maries. They have tucked it safe among the bulrushes. "Wollschläger translates:" The two Marien. Happy tucked her bundle between the rushes. ”When Stephen sees her first, he asks, looking at one of them,“ What has she in the bag? ”And speculates:“ A misbirth with a trailing navelcord, hushed in ruddy wool . "(What do you think she has in her pocket? A miscarriage with a shuffling umbilical cord, falls silent in fresh red wool.") Neither Stephen nor the attentive reader has to explain the "it". There is no equivalent in the original for “happy” and “bundle”. (The lower case "maries" are on a different sheet.)

Molly thinks about her husband: "if ever he got anything really serious the matter with him its much better for them to go into a hospital". Wollschläger translates: "So if he got something really serious, that's the catch with him, it is much better if you go to the hospital". The reader searches in vain for the origin of the hook in the original.

Nine words in the English text become seventeen in the German translation: “Well I suppose he wont find many like me”: “So I can show myself something like me, he doesn't find something like me every day”.

Six become thirteen: “after that hed kiss anything unnatural”: “he'll probably finish it off and kiss everything else that is unnatural”.

Dialect issues

The rendering of dialects is a notoriously hot topic for translators. Wollschläger's decision to reproduce regional variants of English with pronounced locally identifiable German dialects can lead to problematic cultural connotations. For example, when Buck Mulligan reports on receiving Stephen Dedalus ’telegram in the pub where he is waiting with Haines with a parody of the darkly provincial characters in John Millington Synge's plays (here in Playboy of the Western World):

- It's what I'm telling you, mister honey, it's queer and sick we were, Haines and myself, the time himself brought it in.

Wollschläger uses a misleading Berlin metropolitan tongue, which is more reminiscent of Franz Biberkopf in Alfred Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz:

- So what ick you, Manneken, what have we already been stupid and stupid eating, the Haines and how the little fellow lets that thing flutter into it.

In such a case, the translation can only make do with a colloquial artifact, since any recognizable dialect would conjure up false associations:

- And that you only know, honey boy, it was really sick for us, Haines and myself, where he brought it in. ("Honey boy" connects to Anna Elisabeth Wiedes and Peter Hacks ’translation by Synges playboy her.)

"Roughening" of the German translation

The revision has roughened up some of the smoothing and removed explicit translations such as the bundle mentioned above as far as possible, because this remains for the English native speaker as well Ulysses an occasional rough reading experience, a deliberate imposition that shows him that his vocabulary or his knowledge of the Irish world of 1904 let him down or that the erratic, elliptical flight of thoughts of the main characters puzzles him temporarily or permanently. Molly Bloom's use of personal pronouns often makes the reader wonder whether she is talking about her husband or one of her lovers. It communicates with itself and the reader has to see where he is. And when Bloom takes his hat off the hook in the morning and, after a quick glance at the hat ribbon, comes to the verdict “completely safe”, he of course knows what he is talking about; the reader simply has to take note of it first and wait for the hat puzzle to be solved in the next episode. Joyce has an almost inconsiderate realism in the portrayal of the inner monologue of his characters, and his readers are often confronted with self-sufficient and difficult-to-understand content of consciousness: "Sheet kindly lent", "Bed sheet friendly." The translation cannot illuminate what is cryptic in the original. Only decades after the publication of the Ulysses it turned out that Bloom was referring to an illustration from Molly's reading (Amye Reade, Ruby: A Novel, Founded on the Life of a Circus Girl), which shows how the naked female victim of the cruel ringmaster wraps herself in a sheet on the floor.

Another focus of the revision resulted from the fact that the individual episodes of the Ulysses in language, narrative situation, subject matter and motif as well as in the references to the relevant context in Homers Odyssey are individually designed and clearly separated from each other. The 11th episode shows numerous references to musical terms. A well-known example is the sentence: “Tenors get women by the score”, in which the word score appears next to the number word (“twenty”) and the meaning “score”. Rarely can such a "smuggled" musical element be reproduced on the spot in the translation. The phrase "gold in your pocket, brass in your face", which characterizes Molly's lover, in German translation (gold in the sack, cheeky mouth) neither allows the two metals nor the musical echo "brass: Blech (bläser) “To evoke.

The 17th episode suggests that all events and descriptions in it are subject to coldly scientific consideration. Accordingly, the revision endeavored to increase the proportion of scientific terms of Latin-Greek origin. As an example shows, this is not always an undertaking that guarantees success: "... ignition was communicated from the fagots of precombustible fuel to polyhedral masses of bituminous coal ..." Of the five words of Latin or Greek origin that the English reader uses has to fight, remain polyhedral and bituminous in German. Communicating the Ignition on precombustible fuel would inappropriately exaggerate the parodic element in the narrative. The 5th episode, whose occasional drift into dreamy lethargy is derived from the Homeric model, begins with the sentence: "By lorries along sir John Rogerson's quay Mr Bloom walked soberly ..." The contrast of this initial "soberly" and the following Daydreams are not noticeable through Wollschläger's "... Mr Bloom strode along Sir John Rogerson's Quay". The revision therefore reads: "... Mr Bloom walked along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay with sober courage."

In the 6th episode, Joyce took every opportunity to allude to the motive of death, for example by associatively charging the everyday use of "dead" in these examples: "He's dead nuts on that", "dead letter office" and "dead against". The 7th episode with reference to Odysseus ’encounter with the wind god Aiolos accordingly forces every kind of air movement, not least by confronting the reader with the hot air of windy journalists in a drafty newspaper company. Molly Bloom's monologue shows the reader, among other things, that she has her difficulties with foreign words like "emission" and "omission" and with spelling. In her mind, she confuses “place” (= place) with “plaice” (= clod) when planning a purchase. “Scholle” is not a word that would cause difficulties for a German Molly. The lapse is made up a little later when Molly thinks of Aale and writes the revised version “Ahle”.


The highly complex network of recurrences in Ulysses can only be partially maintained in a translation. The first page of the novel already shows the problem: Here there are two of a total of 21 repetitions of the adverb "gravely". Hans Wollschläger's decision to reproduce "He [...] blessed gravely thrice the tower" with "dignified" and "He [...] looked gravely at his watcher" with "serious" is quite plausible, but inevitably makes the recurrence and its potential recognition value disappear. (The word is related to Buck Mulligan five times in three episodes.) Another example: In the second episode, Stephen Dedalus uses the rare word "uncouth". “They [the jews at the Paris Bourse] swarmed loud, uncouth about the temple.” In the following episode, Stephen sees himself wandering among “uncouth stars”. In the first example “uncouth” means: “Of persons: Awkward and uncultured in appearance or manners”, in the second: “Of an unknown or unfamiliar character; unusual, uncommon, strange; marvelous. ”In the first case, the revision translates as“ uncouth ”, in the second“ unknown ”.

The same problem arises with the expression "passing the time of day", which occurs in a prominent place in the first sentence of the 12th episode and, more inconspicuously, in the 10th chapter.The translation cannot reproduce the recurrence because the term is used in two different meanings. Wollschläger was obviously not familiar with the special meaning of the phrase and translated it twice as "to pass the time". The OED shows the range of possible meanings: “to exchange greetings, pleasantries, or casual remarks; to spend time chatting, usually briefly ”, from changing a greeting to a short chat. As the end of the 15th episode shows, Corny Kelleher clearly has more influence than an ordinary informer in the service of the Castle. The policemen follow his instructions without any ifs or buts. The policeman who meets him in the Irrfelsen episode, greets him and quietly passes on information about an undisclosed person, does not pass the time with the "secret". Unlike the nameless first-person narrator at the beginning of the 12th episode, who chats with an old friend.

The place names Dottyville, Edenville, Romeville, Bloomville and Flowerville all make use of the word formation element -ville, which was very productive during Joyce's lifetime, for an often fictional locality. Wollschläger translates as: Deppenstedt, Edenhausen, Romeville, Bloomville and Flowerville. But there are four of the five places, which is why the names should have remained unchanged. Dottyville was a joke for a madhouse made famous by the punch artist Phil May; Edenville and Bloomville were real addresses in the Dublin suburbs, Romeville had been red word for London since the 16th century. Only Flowerville was probably formed by Joyce in allusion to Bloom's name and alias Henry Flower (although there were already several locations of this name in the USA.)

The allusion network

The allusion density of the Ulysses often leads to a dilemma, especially with the numerous Shakespeare quotes: the Schlegel-Tieck translation is undoubtedly more recognizable than later ones, but is often not close enough to the English original. When Simon Dedalus furiously threatens Buck Mulligan: "I'll tickle his catastrophe", he quotes (not necessarily consciously) from the 2nd part of the drama King Henry IV, where in Schlegel's translation of Wollschläger it says: "I want the upper room for you sweep"; but the play on words refers to the lower room in a playful way, which fits in with Dedalus senior's aggressive attitude towards his son's companion. In such cases, the revision gives in semantically and leaves Schlegel-Tieck. A hidden Hamlet quote, which Wollschläger escaped, can be found in the 5th episode when Bloom thinks of skirts that are not correctly fastened: "Glimpses of the moon". His “Permit, there is a flash of lightning with you” is now more subtle: “The moon's twilight”. Well-known texts to which the Ulysses-Orginals could be sensibly alluded to, often remain without recognition in the German translation. In such cases, the German translation cannot do justice to Joyce's virtuoso puns and allusions, despite all efforts. When Bloom's attention turns to a James McCann for thoughts of navigating Irish waterways, the sentence "Row me o'er the ferry." An alert reader may notice the poetic elision and inquire into that this sentence comes from a poem by Thomas Campbell, "Lord Ullin's Daughter", which has been anthologized many times. But even a native speaker may not immediately understand the line if he is not familiar with the fact that the word “ferry” does not mean the ferry here, but rather, as the OED defines: “A crossing over a river or other stretch of water which is served by a ferry boat ”, a stretch to be crossed on the water. No translation can evoke a text that is unknown in the linguistic area of ​​the target language, but it can at least make it clear that there is a quote: A German translation by Julius Krais from 1839 reads: "Let us hurry across the lake!" Crossing the Scottish Hole is a plausible translation, at least in this respect. This quote, long overlooked by the comments in the original, is also suitable to show how profound Joyce's prose is. James McCann was not only a prominent Dublin personality, the director of the Grand Canal Company, but at this point in the 6th episode of the Ulysses the reader encounters with him one of the shadows that Charon rows across the Styx: McCann had already died on February 16, 1904.

An exception

The first parts of the 14th episode represent a special case in the revision. In a literary tour de force analogous to the developmental stages of an embryo, Joyce tells the plot in the style of historical language stages, based on interlinear translations of literary texts from Latin, Old and Middle English - to the slang vocabulary of the early 20th century. While Joyce makes no concessions to historical orthography, Wollschläger uses it consistently in the first half of the episode as a reinforcing marker of the language development stages. In contrast to the English original, this further restricts the legibility of the already complex text. The revision did not intervene at this point in order not to significantly change the specific character of Wollschläger's translation in a considerable part of this episode. This does not apply to the translation of sections two and three at the beginning of the episode, which, due to their vocabulary of exclusively Latin origin, make it necessary to “Latinize” the German translation as far as possible. Care was taken to ensure that the corresponding foreign words were also used in German in earlier centuries: "Universally that person’s acumen is esteemed very little perceptive concerning whatsoever matters are being held as most profitable by mortals with sapience endowed to be studied". Wollschläger translates: "All over the world that man's acumen with regard to all mortals endowed with wisdom is considered to be most useful to study as very little penetrating ..." The revised version reads: "Universaliter is the person acumen with regard to all mortals endowed with sapience as the highest objects held profitable to study are estimated as very little penetrating ... "

The examples given here from the various work areas of the revision cannot of course dispel the reader's doubts about individual decisions. The revision must be based on the fact that a skeptical shake of the head is followed by a look at the original; but it should be admitted that there is still scope for misunderstandings and the presumption of arbitrary interventions:

So the reader may wonder why Buck Mulligans are more brash

Comment: - Redheaded women are as horny as goats: "- Redheaded women buck like goats"

It was changed to: "- Red-haired women are as horny as goats."

The elision "Rothaar’ge" and the hint of a meter are intended to indicate that it is a line from a poem. It comes from Buck Mulligan's alter ego Oliver St. John Gogarty, from whom Joyce had also quoted the following line “And all creation simply gloats” in a first manuscript version.

Or the reader may wonder why Buck Mulligan's ironic-cryptic comment, "- You were speaking of the gaseous vertebrate", "- You were just talking about the gaseous vertebrate" has a "gaseous vertebrate" in the revised version. Ernst Haeckel's as blasphemous statement that God is presented as a "gaseous vertebrate" by those who believe in a personal God, was made at the time of the Ulysses so quoted, and the reader is now more likely to suspect a quotation.

Elsewhere he may wonder whether the revision is perhaps even prudishly censored, where Hans Wollschläger puts it frankly. Or why does “A delighted asshole” become “A delighted bum”? In the original, Buck Mulligan mumbles to himself in Stephen Dedalus' presence: "A pleased bottom". The jump in register from “bottom” to “asshole” is huge and just as little justifiable as the intensifying “extreme”, but as almost always with Joyce, there is even more at stake. In the next instant, Stephen recognizes among the students in the reading room of the National Library a student who tends to be rounded (Emma Clery), to whom he was once fond. Doubt that Mulligan's teasing was related to her delighted bum admits a note from Joyce Ulysses from: "Clery 'a pleased bottom' (B. Mull)". What even the revision cannot achieve is that Joyce has also managed to smuggle “Bottom the weaver” in German from the Midsummer Night's Dream in this episode known as the Shakespeare chapter. The following passage from the 5th episode may also cause a frown: Although Bloom converted to the Catholic faith in order to be able to marry Molly, he cannot refer to a verse in the abbreviation I.N.R.I. do. He remembers Molly's explanation: "Iron Nails Ran In", which Wollschläger translates as "I am close to the salvation of Israel". The drastically naive explanation resulting from the incomprehension of the Latin abbreviation and the sequence of four words are thus eliminated. Research by Eamonn Finn has shown that Molly's explanation could be heard by the simpler minds of the older generation in the Irish provinces until the middle of the 20th century. The revision opted for “Your nails tear him” because “tear” of the possible verbs with “r” is the closest to a bloody injury. Because the tablet with the inscription INRI only meets the believers in pictorial representations of the crucifixion, the present tense form “tear” should be more plausible than “tear”.

Joyce has Ulysses self-deprecatingly referred to as “chaffering all including most farraginous chronicle”, that is to say as a “chatty all-encompassing extremely junky chronicle”. It contains more than a quarter of a million words and a vocabulary of around 30,000 entries. Accordingly, this chronicle, centered on one day and one night in June 1904, is characterized by an overwhelming wealth of detail, but despite all the "loquacity" of astonishing security of detail and chronic reliability that goes so far that z. For example, a review of the sun positions described on June 16, 1904 by an astronomer with the help of a planetarium software showed that Joyce was not wrong at any point. If Bloom can narrowly avoid an embarrassing encounter with Blazes Boylan, who two hours later will be spending a long nap with Molly Bloom, on the corner of Molesworth and Kildare streets, it is only because the rich snob is blinded by the sun (“Light in his eyes "). This almost unbelievable precision of Joyce's memory is confirmed by a memory of the American composer Otto Luening, who met Joyce in Zurich1 [1 Otto Luening, The Odyssey of an American Composer, New York 1980, pp. 195f.

(Translation by H. Beck)]

When Joyce described a road, he started with the types of paving stones ... the shape of the stone and its relationship with the others that made up a piece of the road ... how they were connected ... and if anything grew between them. He described the stalks of dry grass that were still standing and sprouting green saplings that enlivened a patch. He brought to life the sounds of horses' hooves and the sound of footsteps on the pavement and their various echoes and then the smells - sometimes musty, sometimes of dirt, and sometimes of fresh or dried horse manure, which he called horse droppings. He lit this street in his mind, describing what it looked like at different times of the day, in different light. He talked about the shops, with their special entrances and colors, and why some looked poor and some prosperous. He described their insides - how they were sometimes light, but then dark and gloomy when the sky was cloudy, and how they were filled with smells inside and sometimes smells from outside that seeped through the door. [...]

His portrait was so colorful, so simple and clear that it taught me something new about art. No one has ever shared a remotely similar experience with me. In Ulysses the reader can learn to understand Luening's incredulous astonishment.

The process of revising the 1975 translation

The revision did its best to meet the precision required by the original. The aim, of course, was to bring Hans Wollschläger's translation closer to the English original as it is available today. The “normative factuality of the template” (in Martin Meyer's words) was accordingly the most important point of reference for the revision.

Since the 18 episodes of the novel are clearly delimited from one another in terms of language, narrative perspective, motifs as well as the representation of place and time, each of them initially formed a revision unit. In a first step, the team leader created a first revision of the respective episode (with comment where necessary) in the successor mode of the word processing, which was then carried out independently by Ruth Frehner and Ursula Zeller, the two other members of the team (from 2009 with Fritz Senn on the sidelines) has been re-revised and commented on. These two versions were merged in a third step after review and presented again to the two auditors. In step five, this feedback was incorporated and the preliminary end product was checked by the publisher's editor. His suggestions for correction were in turn entered.

Due to the large time gap between the early and the last very extensive episodes and in order to harmonize the insights gained in the revision process across the entire text, the provisionally final text was completely revised in 2016 before it went to the production of the publisher.

The correction of the first flags by the publisher and (again independently of one another) the team of auditors offered the opportunity for a final, extensive adjustment. The newly set Ulysses created a useful distance for the editors from a text that had been in constant development for so many years.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the revised translation does not claim to be a definitive German version of the Ulysses to have created. The translation of a literary text of the complexity of this novel of the century has failure as a condition, even if it represents a determined and persistent rebellion against it. Sisyphus sends his greetings quite unpathetically.

Perhaps it is worthwhile to look at the obvious with the help of the first four words in the first sentence of the Ulysses To clarify once again: "Stately" and "stately", "plump" and "fat", and "Buck Mulligan" already attest to at least partial semantic failure - not to mention the syntax of the sentence they introduce. There are common overlaps, but there is no coincidence of the original and target language; because neither the meaning cores nor the associative courts of these words exactly match. (The fact that Goethe was still able to write “state” and that German still let the state shine through in “stately” like English is little consolation today.) But one could argue that Buck Mulligan is just a name after all. Yes, but it is tough too: The Oxford English Dictionary defines “buck”: 1. The male of several animals. 2. b) A gay, dashing fellow; a dandy, fop, 'almost' man. Also used as a form of familiar address. The translation cannot transport this triad of goat, dude and salutation to the other side of the language without bringing an explanatory comment on board. Nor can it convey the malicious contrast between the lively Buck and the common name Mulligan, which tastes of Irish provinces. Four of around 265,000 words in the original, and yet some things have already gone overboard when translating to the other language bank. Nevertheless, neither Georg Goyert, the underrated first translator, nor Hans Wollschläger and the people who edited his translation were discouraged and tried to make their contribution to the work in progress of an ideal German translation of the Ulysses afford to. Their mistakes are, to quote Stephen Dedalus, “portals of discovery”.There is no smoke without fire: where translators and readers rub their eyes, something is simmering beneath the surface of the text.


Finally, I would like to thank helpers and employees who, of course, are in no way responsible for mistakes that I have made:

Professor Hans Walter Gabler (Munich) for funding, advice and friendly support since the days of my student collaboration on the Critical and Synoptic Edition of Ulysses. John Simpson, until 2013 editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, for outstandingly competent and tireless support in all questions of English lexicology and his spontaneous readiness for the James Joyce Online Notes to bring into being. The Dublin friends and Joyce connoisseurs, above all Vincent Deane and Eamonn Finn, as well as Vivien Igoe, Gerard O’Flaherty and Robert Nicholson. In England the unforgettable Clive Hart †, in Scotland Ian Gunn, in America Aida Yared, Phillip Herring and Bob Janusko.

Hans-Ulrich Müller-Schwefe, our editor, who steered the revision with imperturbable composure through all difficulties and edited it meticulously. The colleagues Ruth Frehner and Ursula Zeller for all these years of loyal, friendly, joyful cooperation. And who would know more about Ulysses as Fritz Senn? Not to forget the idyllic translator house Looren for hospitality during the team work on the proofs. My biggest thanks go to my wife Irene for her stoic patience and forbearance over the past ten years.

© Harald Beck 2018. Foreword to James Joyce:Ulysses. Translation by Hans Wollschläger; Revision of the translation by Harald Beck with Ruth Frehner and Ursula Zeller; advisory participation by Fritz Senn. - First edition, not for sale special print. - Berlin: Suhrkamp, ​​2018