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].
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.]