I started Angel Classics some years ago, when foreign classic literature tended to be passed over by publishers in favour of what was more modern and usually less lasting, and published translations were often poor and/or outdated. I had spent my earlier career as an editor in general publishing and a literary translator. The Angel list has been determinedly kept small and selective, concentrating on authors and works, fiction and verse, not readily or adequately available in English.
Today publication of translations has been spurred by an increased quantity of prizes and funding, translations make up a distinctly higher proportion of books published, and translation standards are higher. But English-speaking readers are still missing out on a host of writers who often turn out to be decidedly to their taste. The Angel list contains not only well-known foreign writers but also exciting discoveries among the lesser-known, from nineteenth-century German novellas to Russian post-revolutionary Gothic tales. All Angel titles contain absorbing introductions or afterwords and end notes, and most are in original paperback format.
Angel’s distinguished translators include writers and poets. Four of them have won translation prizes and others have been runners-up. All are at one with their chosen authors and able to capture their individual flavour.
It’s sometimes said that a given writer is untranslatable. We have known more than one university teacher who first thought it impossible to teach a given poet in translation but had a change of mind on reading a translation published by Angel. Writers and the enjoyment of reading them can survive translation – provided it is the best translation.
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