Monday, June 30, 2008

The Americans: Spanish and Mandarin editions

I, for one, never tire of hearing about new releases regarding Robert Frank but knowing that some readers may be a little burnt out on all Robert Frank project all the time, I’ll keep this post short.

I want to direct your attention to a couple entirely new translations of The Americans that will bring this great work of art to new cultures. In the past there have been German, Italian, French and English editions and now I bring good news to my in-laws as there is a Spanish edition, Los Americanos, co-published with La Fabrica in Spain and Steidl. La Fabrica are the same publisher who I wrote about in regard to their fine book Man Ray Unconcerned but Not Indifferent, as well as the Conversations with Contemporary Photographers series. Off the press of Steidlville it features the same fine printing as the English edition but with translations by Marcos Canteli. Curious note is that the belly band with this edition mentions that The Americans has sold more than 700,000 copies since its first release in 1958.

The other new edition is a Chinese version in Mandarin with translations by Zhao Yuan and Bian Ge. Either this came about because Robert was just awarded a prize in China or Steidl is going after the 1.3 billion person audience. Maybe they can double that 700,000 number. I was surprised to see a Chinese version before a Japanese one. Robert is big in Japan after all.

Either way I would like to see The Americans top The Family of Man as the book that breaks out of the photobook ghetto of only being owned by artists and other photographers.

Buy online at Steidlville


NGV said...

Just a quick note to pass on a remark on the French edition of The Americans. For the French market, it is Robert Delpire Editeur which owns the copyright of the book from the very first 1958 publication - as it was first published in France, although with a different cover (by Saul Steinberg, which Robert Frank disliked) and an alternative text to Jack Kerouac's 'You've got eyes' introduction: instead, there are poems by Alain Bosquet. Currently in France, Robert Delpire is now republishing a translation of this version and... blocking the Steidl one!

Anonymous said...

Dear ngv,
I am confused by your note. As the 1958 edition was in French, are you saying that "Delpire is now republishing a translation" into English? And will this version have the Steinberg cover and the Bosquet texts?

NGV said...

Sorry for the confusion. Here's the full story: in 1985, Delpire republished Les Américains but this time with a French translation of the Kerouac intro and with a picture replacing the Steinberg drawing.
So, today, the French can see two versions of the same book in French stores: Les Américains (by Robert Delpire ed.) - in French - and The Americans (by Steidl) - in English.
The two are more similar than ever but with the Steidl version being the 'real' re-issue and the other one being a basic reprint of the 1985 French version...
Has this post helped?

Anonymous said...

Dear ngv

Different covers - and even different introductions - are very common practice when the publication rights for different countries are held by different publishers.

To give one other example: at my local bookstore Josef Koudelka's latest book 'Invasion 68: Prague' is available in 3 versions: English, French and Dutch. And all have different covers. I'm not sure why this is done.

NGV said...

Dear Jan V,
Sure, I agree with you - although economies of scale are now forcing publishers to minimise alternative editions.
The funny bit here though is that Rober Delpire ed. owns the rights to the 'real' original edition - as Frank's book was first published in France. It is now the same publisher that is blocking the French translation of the Steidl version...

Anonymous said...

Chinese Simplified is a big joke,
nobody understand the description
about the Americans by Robert Frank since the interpretation is
too poor. : )

Steidl publishing / Robert Frank
just want to sell their books to
China, but the interpretation become a big joke for Chinese Simplified version if you are familiar with the Americans Book/Robert Frank.

Chinese Simplified versopm is translating as per the English version. But the interpretation
is happen a serious translate mistake for this book.

Just want to sell book, but forget to take care the interpretation.

Chinese words are existing the Simplified (Mainland China) and Traditional Chinese (Taiwan).

Wish to Steidl Publishing / Robert Frank to re-considerring
the translations when they issued Traditional Chinese version if they want to sell more books.

The interpretation is an important thing, it need to let
everbody / readers to understand
the books, background, culture,
spatiotemporal, history, the mind of photographer, .....Simplified version is no note these issues.

I am afrid of the big joke again when Robert Frank / Steidl Publishing to issue Chinese Traditional version. : )

Sam Nightingale said...

I am very keen to find out more about the actual text that was published in the original french version of Les Americains, which was gathered by Alain Bosquet. Any help would be appreciated.