Works of twentieth-century theory that exist in new or revised translations – further examples wanted

As I said I would last week, I’m preparing a detailed post on why we need a new translation of Foucault’s Surveiller et punir, and was thinking of other major works of twentieth-century theory that exist in more than one translation. There are frequently multiple translations of earlier works, of course. These are the ones I came up with, but additional suggestions welcome.

Heidegger – there are now two translations of Being and Time, by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, and by Joan Stambaugh; the latter of which also exists in a revised version by Dennis Schmitt. There are also recent editions of some of his essay collections – such as Pathmarks and Off the Beaten Track – which replace earlier translations of their essays; and two versions of his Contributions to Philosophy (Emad & Maly; Rojcewicz & Vallega-Neu), the second of which appeared with the same publisher only twelve years later because the first was so terrible and so widely-criticised.

Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception has recently been reissued in a new translation by Donald Landes, though I’m not sure how much it is revised from the Colin Smith one.

Derrida’s Of Grammatology was reissued in a revised version in 1997, correcting some of the problems in Gayatri Spivak’s original version. [Update: Yoav Kenny has added Leonard Lawlor’s 2010 translation of  Derrida’s La voix et le phénomène as Voice and Phenomenon replacing David Allison’s 1973 translation as Speech and Phenomena].

Foucault’s History of Madness replaced the much abridged Madness and Civilization – the latter was based on Foucault’s own abridged French version, with one chapter of the original also included.

Any other good examples? Or, a bigger question, which other major works really need a fresh translation?

[Update: Beauvoir’s Second Sex is mentioned in a comment below, and came up on Facebook too – a very good example. Interesting comment below about the variable quality of recent Benjamin translations, and a wish for better translations of Adorno.]

[Update 2: Mentioned in comments below and on Facebook are the following – Lacan’s Ecrits (Alan Sheridan-Smith and Bruce Fink) and Seminar XX; the complete translations of Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks which re-do earlier versions and add previously untranslated texts; Debord’s Society of the Spectacle; Bataille’s Guilty; Saussure’s Course on General Linguistics; Sartre’s The Imaginary and The Imagination; and that Adorno’s Minima Moralia was supposed to be in progress. Thanks for all of these suggestions.]

This entry was posted in Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Works of twentieth-century theory that exist in new or revised translations – further examples wanted

  1. Jane Gilbert says:

    The debate around the second English translation of Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe may be relevant.

  2. Oliver says:

    Definitive translations of Adorno (esp. Minima Moralia) and Benjamin would be nice. The HUP translations of Benjamin’s Selected Writings are highly uneven, some great (e.g., Critique of Violence), others poor (e.g., The Storyteller). Stanford is doing a good job with Adorno. The model should be what Alan Schrift has done as editor for Nietzsche’s Complete Works. He is an excellent scholar, and so careful.

  3. Teo Ballvé says:

    In his ongoing full translation of Gramsci’s Prison Noteobooks Joseph Buttigieg does his own translations of bits that have already appeared elsewhere (e.g. in Selections From the Prison Notebooks by Nowell Smith and Hoare). Ken Knabb redid translations of Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle.

  4. Scu says:

    Lacan’s Ecrits got a new translation. Though again, we are basically dealing with a translation of a partial work, getting a new translation when the whole work has been translated.

  5. Scu says:

    Lacan’s Ecrits is another one. Of course, it follows the route of a translation of a smaller work, being retranslated when the larger work comes out.

  6. Chathan says:

    Agreed with the Adorno remark. Negative Dialectics was supposed to get a fresh translation but the translator seems to be behind on it.

  7. Pingback: Beyond Discipline and Punish: Is it time for a new translation of Foucault’s Surveiller et punir? | Progressive Geographies

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