The Schmooze

An 'Honorary Jewish' Novelist’s Homage

At 72, Italian novelist and Germanist Claudio Magris has many achievements, including critical writings on Kafka and Joseph Roth. One of his most lastingly admired books is a 1991 novel, “Un altro mare” (Another Sea), of which the French translation was reprinted in September from Folio/Gallimard.

An ardently poetic, yet also skillfully calibrated fictional tribute to the Italian Jewish philosopher and painter Carlo Michelstaedter, “Un altro mare” was published in English translation in 1995 by George Braziller as “A Different Sea.” A reprint or paperback edition of this translation, by Stephen Spurr — the pen name of M. S. Spurr, Head Master of London’s Westminster School — is overdue.

Only in 2004 did a definitive English translation appear of Michelstaedter’s masterwork “Persuasion and Rhetoric” (“La Persuasione e la Retorica”), the thesis completed just before his death, published by Yale University Press.

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An 'Honorary Jewish' Novelist’s Homage

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