Andrei Anastasescu was born in Râmnicu-Vâlcea (Romania) in 1981. He studied German, Dutch and literary translation at the University of Bucharest and worked, among other things, as a publisher's editor. Today he lives in Bucharest as a freelance translator of German-language literature. He has translated from German works by Hito Steyerl, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Christian Kracht, Niklas Luhmann, Peter Sloterdijk, Walter Benjamin, Jenny Erpenbeck, Ulrich Plenzdorf, and others. In 2019, he received the Schritte Fellowship from the S. Fischer Foundation, in 2016-2017 the Landis & Gyr Foundation Fellowship, and in 2014 the Looren Translation Fellowship.
My project consists in translating Ilse Aichinger's novel The Greater Hope (1948, 1960) from German into Romanian. The specificity of Aichinger's novel consists in the childlike view of events, which allows a certain playfulness in the face of horror. This playfulness manifests itself in a pronounced sense of paradox. Paradox is, in my opinion, the main stylistic feature of this text. It reflects on a linguistic level what the text achieves in terms of content, namely its utopian potential, the design of a salvation of the world through literature, but without the concrete world with its concrete sufferings being transfigured and thus betrayed. This prose has a certain negativity, which is expressed in puns and paradoxes (bordering on untranslatability), the alienating intrusion of a high, expressionistic language into the everyday conversations of children, the fragmentary nature of perception, and the suggestion of a metaphysical meaning. This meaning-"the greater hope"-does not serve a salvific function, however, but is there only to heighten the tension of the narrative tone. These are, of course, just as many challenges for the translator - both on the technical level and on the level of content, where it is necessary to ascribe the often mysterious, seemingly free-floating voices as accurately as possible to the characters (and to match their affects), not to let my (Romanian) version fall prey to hieratic kitsch, but to let the messianic idea that carries the original text shine through in all its negativity and contradictoriness in the translation as well.