Michael Hamburger

Michael Hamburger was born in Berlin in 1924, and came to Britain as a child. He taught widely in America and Britain and was an outstanding contemporary translator and critic of German literature.

His awards include the German Federal Republic’s Goethe Medal in 1986 for services to German literature. Anvil published his critical work ‘The Truth of Poetry’ and several of his translations, including editions of Goethe, Hölderlin, Rilke and Poems of Paul Celan, which received the EC’s European Translation Prize in 1990. His poem-sequence ‘Late’ appeared in 1997. He died on June 7 2007.

In the Editorial for MPT Third Series Number 8 Getting it Across, in 2007 David Constantine writes

“Michael Hamburger’s association with MPT goes back more than forty years, almost to our very beginning. He is named among the advisory editors in the second issue, Summer 1966; and to the third, Spring 1967, he contributed translations of Ingeborg Bachmann’s ‘Leaving England’ and Helmut Heissenbüttel’s ‘the future of socialism’. In May of this year he sent us four of his own poems and ten days later the translations of Robert Walser, which we publish here… 

When we asked Michael for work or gratefully accepted what he offered, we never fitted him into any of our particular themes; but, as it happens, he is peculiarly in place in this issue called ‘Getting it Across’. Poet, translator, literary critic, tirelessly going to and fro between the languages, could anyone have done more?” 

– from Inpress Books UK with permission and MPT Series 3/8, Getting it Across