J M Q Davies

2017 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

J M Q Davies’ translations from German and Greek give us access to two distinct cultural worlds: Vienna and Corfu in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Slaves in their Chains, by the Corfiot novelist Konstantinos Theotokis, chronicles the decadence of an aristocratic family; while Life and Death of ‘Hangman’ Thomas satirises the machinations of villagers driven by lust and greed. Davies responds resourcefully to the challenging range of registers in both books.

Davies has contributed decisively to the diffusion of Arthur Schnitzler’s work in English. Dream Story, Round Dance and Other Plays and Selected Short Fiction reveal the proprieties of Habsburg Vienna as masks, and venture inward to explore the borderlands of dreaming. Hugo von Hoffmansthal’s Selected Tales, remarkable for their hallucinatory detail, demonstrate the versatility of a major poetic talent. Both of these writers from the ‘Young Vienna’ circle are admirably served by the precision and elegance of the translations.