Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Publishers' Impressions

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Publishers' Impressions

Article excerpt

Publishers' impressions

"Allen & Unwin have had a long and fruitful association with Unesco book projects. It started, I believe, when Sir Julian Huxley, the first Director-General, and the man who claimed to have added the S to Unesco, told us of the imaginative project for a multi-volumed History of Mankind that would break the old tradition of viewing world history from a purely national standpoint. We were delighted to be chosen as the English publisher, though we hardly anticipated that it would take over twenty years to come to completion. But meanwhile, particularly throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Unesco Collection of Representative Works was establishing itself--another global project that helped to bring great works from minority languages before a larger, English language audience. Many publishers participated in this continuing scheme which Unesco underwrote and encouraged. We must have published over thirty such titles, most of them books of great distinction that without the support of the Unesco series would never have appeared on our list. It is invidious to single out individual titles, but I am particularly fond of Premchand's The Gift of a Cow, Arberry's vivid translations of the Persian Tales from the Masnavi, the Armenian classic Daredevils of Sassoun, and the elegant anthology of Bengali poetry that Deban Bhattacharya translated under the title The Mirror of the Sky.

"And although nowadays on a more modest level, the series continues and serves the world community well. Our most recent additions to the Unesco treasure house have been a first ever translation of the old Catalan classic Curial and Guelfa, and a new translation of the more recent Czech author Karel Capek's mordant satire War with the Newts.'

Rayner Unwin

London

"In our opinion the Unesco Collection of Representative Works, several of which have been published by us, is of capital importance in promoting knowledge of literatures that are unjustly ignored and neglected. The dictates of the market take no account of certain cultural aspects which are sometimes of great importance but do not correspond to the taste of the moment.

"In the field of culture there are the strong and the weak, the powerful and the obscure. It is to the credit of the Unesco Collection that it takes no have to do with ideology and business, but tries to establish some kind of justice in the appreciation of those works of the past that form part of our heritage. Consequently we cannot but approve of the creation and development of this Collection and, within the means at our disposal and true to our convictions, contribute to its success.'

L'Age d'Homme publishers

Lausanne

Actes Sud publishers

Arles, France

"Thanks to Unesco, Aubier have been able to publish works by two relatively unknown figures of world literature-- Halldor Laxness of lceland and Countess Leonora Christina of Denmark. Souvenirs de Misere, which we are now publishing, is the portrait of a remarkable woman, a king's daughter who, in the seventeenth century, began by making history before becoming its witness and relating--with what talent!--her twenty years of captivity in the sinister Blue Tower of Copenhagen Castle. May we add that these books would never have seen the light without the enthusiasm, patience and talent of their remarkable translators, to whom our thanks are due.

"These are two examples among many others, which show that the Unesco Collection of Representative Works meets an essential need. It may be the only Collection that establishes a real link between different cultures. …

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