I’m pleased to announce that my translation of Frank Wedekind’s classic novella, Mine-Haha, or the Corporal Education of Young Girls is now available on Amazon as either a Kindle book or a paperback. Included in it is my description of the translation process and why I made the choices I did for various words, along with a short biography of Frank Wedekind that I wrote (not a copy-and-paste from Wikipedia, which is all too common).
Ever since I started writing about East German films, I’ve tried to read German texts from as many different sources as I can. This means everything from classics of German literature to propaganda sheets prepared after World War II from both sides of the Wall. While researching sex education in Germany, I came across Frank Wedekind—a man well ahead of his time. It was easy enough to find an English translation of his classic Spring Awakens, but I was interested in one of his lesser known works: Mine-Haha, oder Über die körperliche Erziehung der jungen Mädchen.
Search as I may, I could not find an English translation of this book other than a $125 edition from the 1920s. At this point, I decided to do my own translation. It took me a while, but it was fun and good practice. After I finished, I set it down for a while and continued to study German. After a couple years, I took a second look at my translation to see how it held up, now that I knew more about the German languages. There were a few mistakes, but, on the whole, I was pleased to find that I did a good job of it. I checked again, only to find that a couple people had posted new translations of the book. In a way, I’m glad these weren’t available when I first looked for it. I doubt I would have bothered with my translation. But I did, and here it is.
Part of my fascination centered on the subtitle to the book: “oder Über die körperliche Erziehung der jungen Mädchen,” which can be translated in a number of different ways, thanks to the word körperliche. Körperliche means “relating to the body,” and can be translated as either “corporal,” “physical,” or “bodily.” Older translations of the book tend to use “corporal,” while new editions choose either “physical” or “bodily.” Wikipedia chose to use “bodily” I chose to go with “corporal” because it sounds creepier, and the story of the girl brought to a walled academy in a box and taught how to walk and pose is inherently creepy in spite of the rather nonchalant manner these things are described by the narrator.
The Kindle edition is available on Amazon for only $3.99, or free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. The paperback version is $9.98. I should warn you, it’s a very short book (novella really).
If you are interested in purchasing it, click the “Buy this book” button below (gosh, that’s a disturbingly alliterative sentence).