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Esperanto Literature in English

Updated on February 6, 2013

Esperantists sometimes have a certain tendency to boast about the original literature in Esperanto, and to mention translations into Esperanto of important works in other languages (including Shakespeare).

Translations from Esperanto into other languages are not mentioned quite as often.

Last year, however, this hole was partly filled by a British anthology, Paul Gubbins (ed): Star in a Night Sky, published by Francis Boutle PUblishers in London.

The book is of not quite 400 pages, and bilingual: original text in Esperanto and English translation.

The two versions are, unfortunately, not printed in parallell but one after the other, which makes it more difficult for those readers who would like to compare the two languages.


The first third of the book, more or less, seems to concentrate on Esperanto movement rather than Esperanto literature. It gives me an impression that Esperanto literature started dealing with other affairs than the language itself only during World War I. I am not certain whether this impression is quite correct.

Then comes the presentation of a more mature literature: writers like the Hungarians Kalocsay (1891-1976) and Julio Baghy (1891-1967), the Scotsman William Auld (1924-2006) - the first Esperanto author, as far as I know, to be nominated to the Nobel prize of literature (but he didn't get it), and right up to those who are living and active today. The section with short biographies at the end of the book includes about sixty names.

Finally, there is also a short section of translations into Esperanto from English.

The translations seem to me to be quite adequate, but English is not my mother-tongue.


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    • discourse profile image

      discourse 6 months ago

      It takes time for a language to accumulate a body of literature. It has taken English hundreds of years, Persian thousands of years, as well as Chinese and other languages. Esperanto literature is still in its infancy.