Ralph Manheim

Ralph Frederick Manheim (1907–1992) was an American translator of German and French literature. After graduating from Harvard, Yale and Columbia, Manheim spent time in Munich and Vienna. His first major work was translating Hitler’s Mein Kampf into English with all of its grammatical errors and awkward phrasing intact. Manheim won many awards in his lifetime, including a MacArthur Foundation (1983) “genius” grant. He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a National Book Award and honors from PEN. The PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation is awarded to mark major lifetime achievement in the field of translation.

Journey to the End of the Night

Fiction by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Translated from the French by Ralph Manheim

With a contribution by William Vollmann

Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s revulsion and anger at what he considered the idiocy and hypocrisy of society explodes from nearly every page of this novel. Filled with slang and obscenities and written in raw, colloquial language, Journey to the End of the Night is a literary symphony of violence, cruelty and obscene nihilism. This book shocked most critics when it was first published in France in 1932, but quickly became a success with the reading public in Europe, and later in America where it was first published by New Directions in 1952.…
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Efraim’s Book

Fiction by Alfred Andersch

Translated by Ralph Manheim

Efraim’s Book is the sophisticated, offbeat novel about the peculiar society of post-World-II Berlin. Its hero George Efraim is a Jewish reporter who has fought for the British on the Italian front and lost both parents to Auschwitz. He returns home to Berlin in 1962 for the first time since the war to investigate the wartime disappearance of his editor’s daughter, only to begin writing a novel, which helps him “to embark on a certain arrangement of signs with the help of which I hope to chart my position.…
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The Life Before Us

Fiction by Romain Gary

Translated by Ralph Manheim

The Life Before Us is the story of an orphaned Arab boy, Momo, and his devotion to Madame Rosa, a dying, 68-year-old, 220-lb. survivor of Auschwitz and retired “lady of the night.” Momo has been one of the ever-changing ragbag of whores’ children at Madame Rosa’s boardinghouse in Paris ever since he can remember. But when the check that pays for his keep no longer arrives and as Madame Rosa becomes too ill to climb the stairs to their apartment, he determines to support her any way he can.…
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Death On The Installment Plan

Fiction by Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Translated from the French by Ralph Manheim

Death on the Installment Plan is a companion volume to Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s earlier novel, Journey to the End of the Night. Published in rapid succession in the middle 1930s, these two books shocked European literature and world consciousness. Nominally fiction but more rightly called “creative confessions,” they told of the author’s childhood in excoriating Paris slums, of service in the mud wastes of World War I and African jungles. Mixing unmitigated despair with Gargantuan comedy, they also created a new style, in which invective and obscenity were laced with phrases of unforgettable poetry.…
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