Alexander (but really Alec) Stillmark is now a prize-winning translator three times over: his edition with us of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, The Incorruptible Servant has won the Austrian Federal Chancellor's prize for translation, a major award he has now won three times. For many years a distinguished London-based professor of German studies, Alec has now retired to Leura, "arguably the prettiest village in the Blue Mountains" (according to the New South Wales tourist board, and it's hard to argue with the photos).

As captioned by the Blue Mountains Gazette: Alexander Stillmark in his Leura study. All of the books are in German.

We have now published two of Alec's translations from the comic plays of Hugo von Hofmannsthal: The Incorruptible Servant, from Der Unbestechliche (1922-23), and An Impossible Man, from Der Schwierige (premiered 1921, though written a little earlier). Hofmannsthal can be a lot of fun, and these translations are very much intended for performance as well as reading. No small extract can really do either Alec or Hugo justice, but here's a typical line of the kind actors relish delivering: a Baroness is upbraiding her son.

You seem rather to overestimate the resources of a limited domestic staff, my dear boy, otherwise you would hardly have sent the second coachman off to town by horse to fetch the locksmith for an insignificant repair to the roof on the very day your various lady friends have to be fetched from every railway station in the district —

If you would like to read further, both plays are out in keenly-priced paperback editions.

cover of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, The Incorruptible Servant


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