On 15 June 2015 German translator, author and actor Harry Rowohlt died.

Rowohlt established his reputation as a translator with Pu der Bär, his insightful and humorous translation of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. Many literary translations would follow. In total he translated over 200 English works into German, among them books by Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway, Frank McCourt, Robert Crumb, David Sedaris, James Joyce and Leonard Cohen. (Below, a short video of Rowohlt reading from Auf Schwimmen-zwei-Vögel, the German translation he made together with Helmut Mennicken of Flann O’Brien’s novel At Swim-Two-Birds.)

Apart from his work as a translator, Rowohlt was known in Germany for his television appearances, both as an actor in a long standing television series, and as a regular guest in talkshows. His unique readings, were he would digress for hours with a bottle of whiskey at hand, became legendary during his lifetime.

Hinrich Schmidt-Henkel, President of VdÜ, the German Association of Translators, wrote: ‘The singular figure of Harry Rowohlt contributed a vast amount to the perception of literary translation as an art.’

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‘It’s better to read the book in Harry Rowohlt’s translation – a lot gets lost in the original.’ (Published with kind permission of Elias Hauck and Dominik Bauer (http://hauckundbauer NULL.blogspot NULL.de/))

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