Translation, mainly from German, was a significant part of Gustave Roud’s writing. If he considered some of the commissioned work meant for various journals—generally requested by the editor Mermod—as “subsistence work,” his translations of the German Romantics were incontestably a part of his own poetic approach. Appreciative that in the translated works were experiences that animated his own poetry—the quest for Presence, the signs of a paradise lost—Roud was a remarkable translator of Novalis (Les Disciples à Saïs), of Hölderlin, of Rilke (Lettres à un jeune poète) and of Trakl (Vingt-quatre Poèmes).

Gustave Roud, Essais de traduction de Höderlin, Fonds Gustave Roud, CRLR.

Recommended reading

Beyond the published volumes of the works of Novalis, Hölderlin, Rilke, and Trakl, one can find a selection of the poems that appeared in journals as well as some unpublished translations in the Traductions éparses published by Philippe Jaccottet (Cahiers Gustave Roud, No. 3).

For an introduction to the issues involved in Roud’s translations, one can also benefit from consulting the following articles: Claire Jaquier, « Gustave Roud traducteur : écriture et signature du texte étranger » (Cahiers Gustave Roud, n°5).