Skip to main content

Bertrand Russell in translation

Posted on January 8, 2014 by europeancollections

As an academic with a strong Cambridge connection, it is perhaps unsurprising that Cambridge University Library has a fairly extensive collection of books by and about Bertrand Russell. Rather more surprising perhaps is the fact that we have a substantial number of works by Russell in translation. The Library holds many Russell translations published in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, which were usually acquired by donation and which were interspersed within the general intake. Then there was a hiatus until relatively recently, when the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation resumed donations. These new acquisitions stand together in a small special collection in CCC.64.1- and can all be consulted in the Rare Books Reading Room.

The translations in this special collection currently number over 60 volumes. They are in a wide variety of languages including French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Italian, as well as Chinese and Japanese. According to LibrarySearch, which allows for quick identification of titles by language, the Library also has a single Russell translation in each of Catalan, Galician, Hebrew, Hindi and Slovak.

For the most part, the UL is the only library in the UK to hold copies of these books. The foreign language editions often include substantial critical introductions by a native speaker, sometimes – but not always – the translator. They are also useful source material for those interested in translation studies. The Library sometimes has two or three different translations of the same text in one language.

The University Library is grateful to the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation for its generous donation.

Josh Hutchinson


Popular posts from this blog

'Not as dumb as he looks' - Muhammad Ali on Bertrand Russell

In his autobiography The Greatest: My Own Story, Muhammad Ali recounts how Bertrand Russell got in contact with him, and their ensuing correspondence:

For days I was talking to people from a whole new world. People who were not even interested in sports, especially prizefighting. One in particular I will never forget: a remarkable man, seventy years older than me but with a fresh outlook which seemed fairer than that of any white man I had ever met in America.
My brother Rahaman had handed me the phone, saying, ‘Operator says a Mr. Bertrand Russell is calling Mr. Muhammad Ali.’ I took it and heard the crisp accent of an Englishman: ‘Is this Muhammad Ali?’ When I said it was, he asked if I had been quoted correctly.
I acknowledged that I had been, but wondered out loud, ‘Why does everyone want to know what I think about Viet Nam? I’m no politician, no leader. I’m just an athlete.’
‘Well,’ he said, ‘this is a war more barbaric than others, and because a mystique is built up around a cham…

Brexit Diary: Generous to a Fault

Generous to a Fault

Hapless Theresa May stepped nervously into the June European Council in Brussels. Her own status at such meetings is now qualified by the UK’s notification to withdraw from the European Union, which takes effect in March 2019. She can no longer participate in Council discussions about Brexit and has to leave the room. Before she departed the dinner table last night, however, Mrs May outlined an ‘offer’ on the rights of European Union citizens residing in the UK once that country has left the EU. The full ‘offer’ is due to be submitted in writing on Monday 26 June.

Of course, citizens’ rights are codified in law and guaranteed by treaty, to which the UK has acceded. Accordingly, millions of people have moved around the European Union, with many of them settling in the United Kingdom to live and work. The UK has legal obligations towards them. Continuity in their rights is required, if and when the UK leaves the EU. 

The initial response to Mrs May’s remarks from group…

Nuclear Posture Review: Two letters of protest from Japan

The Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation received copies of the following letters, dated 6 February 2018, from the Japan Council against A and H Bombs. The letters, written in response to the publication of the US Nuclear Posture Review, are addressed to President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We ask that as many people and organisations as possible circulate these letters as an act of solidarity with anti-nuclear campaigners in "Japan, the A-bombed country".

* * *

To President Donald Trump United States of America 6 February 2018
Letter of Protest against the US Nuclear Posture Review
We, of the people of Japan, the A-bombed country, strongly protest against your nuclear policy formulated in the newly released ‘Nuclear Posture Review’, which brings the US much closer to the actual use of nuclear weapons by modernizing your nuclear arsenals and developing new nuclear weapons.
Trying to justify that nuclear weapons are necessary for security, the Nuclear Post…