In 1963 Bruno Schulz’s vivid, hypnotic short stories finally reached an English audience in a translation by Celina Wieniewska. The UK edition retained the Polish title: CINNAMON SHOPS, after the bakeries characteristic of the author’s Galician hometown of Drohobycz. In the United States the collection was renamed THE STREET OF CROCODILES, the title by which it is best known today. Schulz was also an accomplished visual artist, and his drawings were incorporated into the covers of both English first editions.
Schulz, a Jew, was shot in the Drohobycz ghetto in 1942. He thought and wrote in Polish; he didn’t know Yiddish but was fluent in German. He is credited as having translated Kafka’s THE TRIAL, but the attribution is controversial: he probably lent his name to a translation by his fiancée, Józefina Szelińska, on which he may also have collaborated. Schulz defamiliarised language with startling, evocative results. His two surviving works are written in a lush, lyrical style and have inspired many subsequent writers and artists.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH was also first published in English in 1963, in a translation from the Russian by Ralph Parker. This revelatory depiction of life in a Soviet gulag, based on the author’s experience, became an instant classic and has been retranslated several times. The unexpurgated 1991 translation by Harry T. Willetts is the only one to have been authorized by Solzhenitsyn himself.
A spot on this #TA60 list must also go to the much-loved Moomin children’s stories by Tove Jansson. Jansson was part of Finland’s Swedish-speaking minority and wrote her books in Swedish. Many were translated into English prior to the start of our list in 1958, but 1963 saw the publication of TALES FROM MOOMINVALLEY, translated by Thomas Warburton.