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Institute of Modern Languages Research


Christian Felix Weiße (1726-1804) is best known as a dramatist and influential children’s writer of the Enlightenment period. This is the first book to explore his singularly extensive output as a literary translator, investigating the conditions which allowed Weiße to become the most prolific German translator of English literature in the eighteenth century, a popular translator of French drama, and an influential editor and ‘entrepreneur’ of the translations of others. Drawing on previously unpublished correspondence, the study examines Weiße’s wide-ranging professional networks as a cultural mediator of European significance. Special attention is paid to his role in the German reception of Ossian, his introduction of English children’s literature to Germany, his translations of popular prose, and the intersections between his original writing and translations.

Tom Zille trained as a bookseller in Leipzig, and is currently reading for a PhD in Modern and Contemporary English Literature at the University of Cambridge. He was until recently an editor at the German literary audio archive,, at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin.

Table of contents

Introduction: A Forgotten Translator
1. Anglophilia and the Background of Eighteenth- Century Translation
2. Early Translations
3. Early Translations of Poetry
4. Professionalization: Weiße at Weidmann’s
5. Weiße and the German Reception of Ossian
6. Translations of Novels and Other Prose
7. Networks: The ‘Uebersetzungsentrepreneur’
8. Networks: Facilitating Cultural Transfer
9. Translations of Children’s Literature
10. Nulla Dies Sine Linea: Conclusion
Bibliography of Translations