Keynote Speaker and Workshop Leader: John E. Woods


Translators’ Roundtable

As part of the 2012 BUGSC program, three award-winning translators and experts in German-language literature – Ross Benjamin, Shelley Frisch and David Dollenmayer– will come together to discuss a series of short texts they have translated especially for the Colloquium program. The texts and translations (excerpts from literary works and scholarly essays) will be made available to all Colloquium participants prior to the program. In an informal conversation, Benjamin, Frisch and Dollenmayer will offer insights into the art and science of translation based in part on these texts. These renowned translators will speak with one another and with the other Colloquium participants about their work and the theory and praxis of translation.


Ross Benjamin is a writer and translator living in Nyack, New York. His translations include Friedrich Hölderlin’s Hyperion (Archipelago Books, 2008), Kevin Vennemann’s Close to Jedenew (Melville House, 2008), Joseph Roth’s Job (Archipelago, 2010), and Thomas Pletzinger’s Funeral for a Dog (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011). He was awarded the 2010 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize for his rendering of Michael Maar's Speak, Nabokov (Verso Books, 2009) and a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship to translate Clemens J. Setz’s The Frequencies. His literary criticism has appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, The Nation, and other publications. He was a 2003-2004 Fulbright Scholar in Berlin and is a graduate of Vassar College. His website is


Shelley Frisch / Photo: Beowulf SheehanShelley Frisch holds a doctorate in German literature from Princeton University.  During the years she taught at Columbia University, she served as Executive Editor of The Germanic Review, and later chaired the bi-college German department at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. She has written and lectured extensively on modern German literature, film, and cabaret, the political and linguistic dimensions of German writing in exile, and translation theory and practice, and has contributed entries to American National Biography and the Encyclopedia of German Literature. Her book on the origin of language theories, The Lure of the Linguistic, was published in 2004. Her essay, “Transnational Transplants on Tenterhooks: A Pastiche of Pitted Paths to a New Heimat,” will appear in Trans-Lit2 this summer. Her many translations from the German include biographies of Nietzsche, Einstein, and Kafka, for which she was awarded the 2007 Modern Language Association Translation Prize for a Scholarly Study of Literature.  She is active in the PEN American Center Translation Committee and the Princeton Research Forum, and co-directs translation workshops with German colleague Karen Nölle. Frisch is now translating the third and final volume of Reiner Stach’s Kafka biography as well as a dual biography of Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
(Photo © Beowulf Sheehan)

An interview with Shelley Frisch


Mark HarmanDavid Dollenmayer is a prolific translator and Professor of German at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is the author of The Berlin Novels of Alfred Döblin (University of California Press, 1988) and co-author with Thomas Hansen of Neue Horizonte: A First Course in German Language and Culture (Houghton Mifflin, 7th edition, 2008). Dollenmayer has translated a diverse range of texts from German to English, including important works by Bertolt Brecht, Elias Canetti, Peter Stephan Jungk, Michael Kleeberg, Perikles Monioudis, Anna Mitgutsch, Mietek Pemper, Moses Rosenkranz, and Hansjörg Schertenleib. Dollenmayer’s translation of Moses Rosenkranz’ Kindheit. Fragment einer Autobiographie (Childhood. An Autobiographical Fragment. Syracuse UP, 2007), for which he was awarded the prestigious Kurt and Helen Wolff Translator’s Prize, captures in a vivid way the life of Jews in the waning days of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. He has translated major books by other important Austrian writers like Anna Mitgutsch, whose 2000 novel Haus der Kindheit  appeared in Dollenmayer’s translation in 2006 (House of Childhood, Other Press). Dollenmayer has translated texts by Bertolt Brecht (Flüchtlingsgespräche), Perikles Monioudis (Im Äther) and Michael Kleeberg (Der König von Korsika). His translation of Mietek Pemper’s memoir Der rettende Weg. Schindlers Liste – die wahre Geschichte (The Road to Rescue: The Untold Story of Schindler’s List) appeared in 2008 and was followed in 2009 by his translation of Peter Stephan Jungk’s novel Die Reise über den Hudson (Crossing the Hudson). Dollenmayer is currently at work on a translation of Veza and Elias Canetti’s Briefe an Georges as well as, with Susanne Even, a bilingual young adult novel. He received the 2010 Translation Prize of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. His translations of essays by art historian Willibald Sauerländer appear frequently in The New York Review of Books.


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