Da wär’s halt gut, wenn man Englisch könnt! Robert Gilbert, Hermann Leopoldi and the Role of Languages between Exile and Return Cover Image
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„Da wär’s halt gut, wenn man Englisch könnt!“ Robert Gilbert, Hermann Leopoldi i rola języków między wygnaniem a powrotem
Da wär’s halt gut, wenn man Englisch könnt! Robert Gilbert, Hermann Leopoldi and the Role of Languages between Exile and Return

Author(s): Joachim Schlör
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Jewish studies, Studies of Literature, Theology and Religion, Jewish Thought and Philosophy
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
Keywords: Robert Gilbert; Hermann Leopoldi; German-Jewish emigration; „Little Vienna” in New York; My Fair Lady

Summary/Abstract: Robert Gilbert (b. Robert David Winterfeld, 1899–1978) was one of Germany’s most successful writers of popular songs, many of them made famous by operettas and movies in the late years of the Weimar Republic (Ein Freund, ein guter Freund; Liebling, mein Herz läßt Dich grüßen; Was kann der Sigismund dafür?). In 1933, Gilbert emigrated to Vienna and later moved on to Paris, 1938, and New York, 1939. After his return to Europe in 1951, Gilbert started a second, again very successful, career as translator of American Musical Comedies, from My Fair Lady (1951) via Oklahoma or Annie Get Your Gun to Cabaret (1970). During his years in New York, he had acquired the English language he needed for this new activity. Recently discovered documents – manuscripts donated to the Vienna City Library by the Leopoldi family – give an insight into the translatory workshop and into the conditions of exile: Gilbert, together with the piano artist Hermann Leopoldi (1888–1959), produced a large number of songs, many of which were written in a mixture of German and English, with language (problems) as their subject. This paper traces Gilbert’s life and work, his translations and his thoughts on translation. The discussion focuses on the role of returning exiles as mediating agents and cultural translators between American (popular) culture and post-War Germany and Austria.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 29
  • Page Range: 157-178
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Polish