Information Sources Regarding Scandinavian Literature in Translation

By Sem C. Sutter

Scandinavian Discussion Group

WESS Newsletter

Spring 1998, Vol. 21, no. 2

Association of College & Research Libraries
©American Library Association

The WESS Scandinavian Discussion Group meeting on 11 January 1998 at ALA Midwinter Conference focused on pooling tips and information regarding the acquisition of Scandinavian books in translation. Many of these titles are published by small presses that fall outside library approval plans and are advertised on a limited basis so that the nonspecialists responsible for Scandinavian acquisitions in most libraries may miss them. The following summary information is intended to inform colleagues who were unable to attend and to serve as a convenient reference guide. It is drawn from presentations by Beau David Case (Ohio State) and Mariann Tiblin (Minnesota) and comments by other attendees.

Journals with reviews and advertisements

Scandinavian Studies, Provo, UT: Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies (ISSN: 0036 5637) - review coverage is not timely, but can be useful to insure that significant titles have not been missed.

Scandinavica: an International Journal of Scandinavian Studies, London, New York: Academic Press (ISSN: 0036-5653) - coverage similar to Scandinavian Studies, lists of "new books received."

Times Literary Supplement, London: Times (ISSN: 0040-7895) - useful weekly lists, perhaps one relevant review article per year.

Translation Review, Richardson, TX: American Literary Translators Association (ISSN: 0737-4836) - semiannual publication. Especially useful is its Translation Review Annotated Books Received Supplement with both American and European imprints and particularly good coverage of British presses.

World Literature Today, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press (ISSN: 0196-3570) - a good English source of reviews on current publication of Nordic literatures, but emphasis is on original languages, not translations.

Nordisk Litteratur: Nordic Literature Magazine, Copenhagen: Nordisk Litteratur- og Bibliotekskomité (ISSN: 0908-079X) - annual; another good source of bilingual articles on the Nordic literatures, but not much about translations.

Suecana Extranea, Stockholm: Kungliga Biblioteket (ISSN: 0039-4599) - annual; lists all Swedish books translated into foreign languages.

Norwegian Literature (annual supplement to The Norseman, Oslo: Dreyer) (ISSN: 0029-1846) - the parent publication is popular level, but the supplement is substantive. Useful survey articles with bibliographies, reports on prizes, long annual list of recently translated titles (not just into English), advertisements for new titles.

Books from Finland, Helsinki: Publishers' Association of Finland (ISSN: 0006-7490), - quarterly; lists books from Finland in translation, and includes informative articles in English, and translations of short stories and poetry.

Scandinavian Review, New York: American Scandinavian Foundation (ISSN: 0098-857X) - popular level, but typically has 3-4 titles briefly described and sometimes an article on an author.

Swedish Book Review, Lampeter, Wales: Swedish-English Literary Translators' Association (ISSN: 0265-8119) - specific emphasis on translations from Swedish to English.

Danish Literary Magazine, Copenhagen: Danish Literature Information Center (ISSN: 0906-5369) - promotes Danish literature throughout the world.

Publishers with a consistent interest in Scandinavian translation

Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle upon Tyne
Curbstone Press, Willimantic, CT
Dedalus Press, Dublin - new series Poetry Europe. 1st title is by Tomas Tranströmer.
Dufour Editions, Chester Springs, PA - American distributor for a number of UK and Irish publishers
Ecco Press, Hopewell, NJ
Fjord Press, Seattle
Harvill Press, London
Lake View Press, Chicago
Mare's Nest, London - Icelandic titles
New Rivers Press, Minneapolis
North Star, St. Cloud
Norvik Press, Norwich
Seal Press, Seattle
Sun and Moon Press, Los Angeles
Thunder City Press, Houston - defunct?
University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln - its Modern Scandinavian Literature in Translation series is defunct
White Pine Press, Fredonia, NY.

Websites: Publishers:

Bloodaxe Books
Curbstone Press
Ecco Press http://www/
Fjord Press http://www/
Seal Press
Sun and Moon Press
White Pine Press

Websites: Sources for Antiquarian Titles:

INTERLOC: The Electronic Marketplace
Advanced Book Exchange


Norwegian embassy & info service site: Under "Culture & History" has a long list of literature in translation, but latest entry seems to be a 1995 publication.

Other topics discussed

Topics for discussion centered around: To what extent do we make a concerted effort to acquire all Scandinavian literature monographs in English translation? (there are not that many and do not pose a threat to most budgets); Are we making sure that magazines like Books from Finland, Nordic Literature, etc. reach beyond Scandinavian language programs and into Comparative Literature departments and community interest groups? Do we acquire translations into other major languages (German and French)? And, of related interest, are we collecting, at least selectively, translations of world literature INTO the Scandinavian languages? Many leading Scandinavian writers have served as introducers in their own countries of literary works from other countries, and in many cases, influenced the choice of Nobel Prize winners in literature.

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