Thursday, 11 June 2009

Mikael Enckell

Söderströms reports that Sweden's prestigious Längman Cultural Foundation (Längmanska kulturfonden) has awarded a literary prize to the Finland-Swedish author and psychoanalyst Mikael Enckell (b. 1932), who is best known for his major studies of Proust and Hölderlin, as well as the three-volume biography of his father, the Finland-Swedish modernist poet Rabbe Enckell (1903-1974).

Among his many publications, Mikael Enckell has also written essays and monographs on English literature, notably the work of George Eliot (Daniel Deronda), on Jewish theology (The Soul that Wouldn't Shrink), and on the filmmaker Luchino Visconti.


Lev said...

Bodil Zalesky reads Enckell's book on Hölderling posting her thoughts about this book on her blog The most recent post is today:

David McDuff said...

Thanks for the link.

Mikael Enckell is certainly an author whose work one might have thought would have been translated into English by now, at least in part, as it covers an international perspective and is also of considerable interest in the non-literary context of psychoanalytic theory.

But perhaps it's a body of work that is hard to categorize and classify - and in Britain and America publishers (though not the reading public) tend to shy away from such difficulties.

Eric Dickens said...

Glad to see that Lev has picked up on the Hölderlin book, mentioned on this blog on 6th June ("Bodil Zalesky's literary blog"). Bodil commented again yesterday on her blog. Enckell certainly sounds to be an interesting author, as David mentions. Pigeonholing can get in the way of the spread of knowledge. While British publishers agonise about which pigeonhole to put him in, the Germans, French and others will be busy translating him.

The Enckell clan has certainly produced several authors: Rabbe, Mikael, Martin and Agneta, to my knowledge alone. Plus the painter Magnus. If you simply Google the word "Enckell", you get umpteen entries, all of them Finland-Swedish or Finnish.

Today, Bodil has a Swedish translation of a poem by Estonian author Jaan Kaplinski. Strange that the Swedish translation is via the Latvian. Guntars Godinš has been the Latvian cultural attaché at the Tallinn embassy for several years; Juris Kronbergs is in a similar position in Sweden, being the son of an exile Lett. Kronbergs has almost single-handedly been responsible for a quarter of a century or so for translations of Latvian poetry into Swedish by, for instance, Vizma Belševica, Imants Ziedonis and Knuts Skujenieks.

The Letts have a very good literary tradition which is sadly hindered by a lack of translators. Kronbergs and Godinš have done their best, but relatively few Latvian poets are as visible in the English language as the Estonian Kaplinski is.

Lev, have you read any Andrukhovych?