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Customer Review

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a vintage edition - 'Nothing New On The Western Front', 27 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: All Quiet on the Western Front (Paperback)
Not thinking or knowing and with a name like Vintage I heedlessly purchased this edition, believing that I would be reading the original translation - the one closest in time, in sympathies, in a general approach to life - simply the translation most likely to preserve a feeling of the early 20th century.

At the beginning Brian Murdoch generously acknowledges his pilfering of A. W. Wheen's poetically translated title 'All Quiet On the Western Front', what Murdoch would otherwise literally translate as 'Nothing New on the Western Front', but then goes on to render the rest of the book himself in a basic style evocative of the 1990s in which it was made. I half expected the boys in the trench to pull a copy of Maxim out.

Unless you need to have the past made modern for you I recommend this instead:

All Quiet on the Western Front (New Windmills)
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Mar 2011 13:42:01 GMT
Rosemary says:
LOL I suppose we are lucky he didn't suggest 'No Big Deal On The Western Front'

Posted on 30 May 2011 13:29:27 BDT
Thanks for pointing out the differences in translation, I took your advice and purchased the earlier translation, which must have been the version I originally read in the 70s.

I've just finished re-reading it and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks again.

Posted on 18 Jun 2012 11:51:19 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Feb 2014 10:58:08 GMT
Thank you SO much for pointing out the translation difference - it is very important in my opinion. I originally purchased the Brian Murdoch translation, read it.... then having read your review, also purchased the New Windmills translation. It is streets ahead, and adds so much more in terms of tone and nuance and delicacy and context to this classic novel. Having read both, the Brian Murdoch translation does seem to pander to 'modern' sensibilities, which it REALLY didn't need to do - we don't need this story made 'modern' in order to understand and empathise, the original was powerful enough. Anyway, whichever version you read, this is an amazing, devastating, perspective-changing novel - just even better with a more sympathetic translation. :-)

Posted on 27 Jul 2012 00:34:52 BDT
Thanks for your invaluable comment on the vintage edition not in fact being vintage, as I assumed it was. Like many others, I'm not looking for the 'modern' version of this story but the version that fits its time. Thanks too for the link to what I assume is the original translation.

Posted on 5 Dec 2013 12:43:53 GMT
JustMe says:
THANK YOU so much for mentioning the different translations. I wouldn't have given it a thought except for your review and I would much rather read a more authentic translation. Buying New Windmills now!

Posted on 5 Jan 2014 17:33:27 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Jan 2014 17:34:27 GMT
R. J. Hole says:
I am glad I found out the different translations. I sampled the versions side by side in Amazon and satisfied myself that it was no trivial issue. It is simple enough to try this yourself by opening two tabs, then compare the two. For me the Brian Murdock version has nothing the recommend it.

I will order a version that is not "modern", i.e. the New Windmills version, or one published prior to 1994.

Posted on 15 Nov 2015 18:38:52 GMT
John Hopper says:
I think these comments are very unfair to Brian Murdoch's translation. I think it is very evocative of the sights, sounds and smells of the trenches, and I don't see it as a modernised or sanitised version at all. Yes, I have read both translations of the novel and, while both are very good, I think the Murdoch translation is slightly better.
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