chapter
3 Pages

Hampstead

WithJoseph Rykwert

In this chapter, the author recollects the memories of his early life. The author returned to Hampstead, where most of his friends then lived, and became the lodger of the Austrian poet Erich Fried, whose amiable and bear-like physical clumsiness contrasted forcibly with his deft, precise, even delicate way with words. The great speaker and performer he became later. Ascherson again: 'he was a huge voice: a basso which could reach through a hall, pronouncing slowly and almost pedantically, in short, unambiguous words'. At the time of their cohabitation, he was little known in England, though his fame in Germany was rising and had already set out on his epic effort to retranslate Shakespeare and so replace the Schlegel-Tieck standard version, which he rightly thought both faulty and stuffy – all the while working on his own poems and many other translations. Among the German visitors, he remember Hans-Magnus Enzensberger and Ingeborg Bachman – who also, inevitably, bewitched Canetti.