Wilhelm Meinhold, 'The Amber Witch'
Translated by Lady Duff Gordon

Edited by Barbara Burns

European Translations 4

Modern Humanities Research Association

1 April 2016  •  174pp

ISBN: 978-1-781880-95-1 (paperback)  •  RRP £10.99, $17.50, €13.99

ISBN: 978-1-781882-70-2 (JSTOR ebook)

ISBN: 978-1-781882-72-6 (EBSCO ebook)

Access online: Books@JSTOR

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Wilhelm Meinhold's Gothic romance Maria Schweidler: 'Die Bernsteinhexe' (1844) was a seminal German text in the literary landscape of Victorian England. The 1846 English translation by Lady Duff Gordon, entitled The Amber Witch, enjoyed widespread popular success, and Meinhold's suspenseful tale of a guileless young woman, unjustly accused of witchcraft, was hailed as the leading German novel of its day.

Written in the style of a seventeenth-century chronicle, the story appealed to a readership which identified in Meinhold's work echoes of Daniel Defoe, Oliver Goldsmith and Walter Scott. This volume makes available for the first time in a critical edition a literary translation which transformed the German text into a cult classic in English, and suggests ways in which this work resonated with trends in Victorian culture. Duff Gordon's accomplished rendering of what was perceived as an untranslatable text made Meinhold's novel accessible to new generations of readers.

Affording an insight into the devastation of the Thirty Years' War and the superstition and miscarriages of justice which marked the peak of the witch-hunting period in Early Modern Europe, this translation should generate continuing momentum and impact for Meinhold's original German novel.

Reviews:

  • ‘The modest success the novel enjoyed in nineteenth-century Germany was far outstripped by its popularity in Britain. Writing with verve and clarity, Barbara Burns explores the reasons for this in her meticulously researched introduction. Meinhold was fortunate in his English translator... When Duff- Gordon decided to translate this work she selected something that arguably deserved to become a German classic but did not, and turned it into a minor classic in English in its day... It is easy to imagine it finding a further afterlife as a graphic novel or a movie.’ — Helen Chambers, Translation and Literature 26, 2017, 100-08

Contents:

[i]-[iv]
Front Matter
Barbara Burns
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[v]-[vi]
Table of Contents
Barbara Burns
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1-14
Introduction
Barbara Burns
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15-16
EDITOR’S NOTE
Barbara Burns
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17-148
THE AMBER WITCH
Mary Schweidler
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149-161
NOTES TO THE TEXT
Barbara Burns
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162-165
Bibliography
Barbara Burns
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166-168
Back Matter
Barbara Burns
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Bibliography entry:

Burns, Barbara (ed.), Wilhelm Meinhold, 'The Amber Witch': Translated by Lady Duff Gordon, European Translations, 4 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2016)

First footnote reference: 35 Wilhelm Meinhold, 'The Amber Witch': Translated by Lady Duff Gordon, ed. by Barbara Burns, European Translations, 4 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2016), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Burns, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Burns, Barbara (ed.). 2016. Wilhelm Meinhold, 'The Amber Witch': Translated by Lady Duff Gordon, European Translations, 4 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Burns 2016: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Burns 2016: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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