Harry Watson

Harry Watson

Contact Details

E-Mail: h.watson701@btinternet.com


I am a graduate in English (Edinburgh University) and Scandinavian Studies (London University), and have worked as a teacher of English for the Folk University of Sweden in Linköping.

Over the last 27 years I have written two books and numerous articles on a variety of subjects, but my translation career began in 1992 when I translated an English children's book into German. At about the same time I made the acquaintance of the Swedish writer Per Wästberg (now chair of the Swedish Nobel Prize for Literature committee) who gave me several commissions. He also put me in touch with the author, translator and editor Bengt Jangfeldt, who continues to commission work from me to the present day.

My translations to date are as follows:

A translation into German of Roger Lancelyn Green's "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" (Penguin, 1953) (published in Germany as "König Arthur und seine Ritter der Tafelrunde" by the St. Germain Verlag, Höhr-Grenzhausen, 1992)

Various specimen chapters from a quartet of novels by Per Wästberg (1992)

'Per Wästberg. A Writer for our time', and 'Birthmarks' (translations of three chapters from "Eldens skugga", by Per Wästberg), in Swedish Book Review, 1993:2 (Lampeter, 1993)

Two poem-sequences by Per Wästberg, to be read by the poet at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival in 1994. The sequence "Om Döden" (On Death) was also published in Modern Poetry in Translation, No.11, Summer 1997 (King's College, University of London)

From 1995, annual commissions to translate articles on literature, art and music from the Swedish journal Artes (sponsored by the Swedish Academy) for its English-language edition Artes International.

VOL.2, 1995 - Per Wästberg 'Astronaut by Gaslight' (an essay on Jules Verne)

VOL.3, 1996 - extracts from Magnus Florin "The Garden" (a novel about the Swedish botanist Linnaeus)

VOL.4, 1997 - Ulf Thomas Moberg 'Scandinavian Art and the European Avant-Garde of the 1920s', and
Bo Wallner 'Three Roles. On Wilhelm Stenhammar (an essay on a major Swedish composer)

VOL.5, 1998 - Per Wästberg 'The Façades of
Alf Thoor 'Before Babel. The Musical
Kingdoms of Sweden'
Alf Thoor 'On the CD' (a commentary on the composers and music featured on the accompanying CD)
Peter Cornell 'Sivert Lindblom's
Stockholm' (an essay on a leading Stockholm architect)

Per Wästberg 'At Fåfängan, the height of Folly' (extracts from his novel "Luftburen") in Swedish Book Review, 1998, Supplement

Translation of extracts from Per Wästberg's "I Sydafrika: Resan mot Friheten" (In South Africa:Journey to Freedom) (Stockholm, 1995), for forthcoming Festschrift to be presented to Nobel prizewinning novelist Nadine Gordimer on her 70th birthday

Translation of extracts from film star Bibi Andersson's autobiography "Ett Moment" (A Moment) in Swedish Book Review, 1999:1

Translation of extracts from Anne Marie Kidde "PPR's Arbejde med Tosprogede Elever" (The Educational Psychology Advisory Service's Work with Bilingual Pupils) (Forlaget Skolpsykologi, Copenhagen, 1999), private commission from senior lecturer at Edinburgh University Institute of Education

Various translations for the Swedish literary journal 90tal and its successor 00tal

Translation of extracts from Per Wästberg 'Tre Rader' in Modern Poetry in Translation, No.16, 2000 (King's College, University of London)

Translation of Bengt Jangfeldt "Munthes Capri" (a study of the doctor and writer Axel Munthe on Capri), (Wahlström & Widstrand, 2004)

Translation of an essay on the Swedish-speaking Evangelical Lutheran congregation in St. Petersburg for a a forthcoming collaborative work by Scandinavian scholars (2004)

Translations of chapters by Danish, Norwegian and Swedish historians for Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of Scandinavia (Cambridge University Press, ongoing)

Translation of Bengt Jangfeldt "En Osalig Ande. Berättelsen om Axel Munthe" (A Lost Soul. The Story of Axel Munthe) (Wahlström & Widstrand, 2003) to be published in 2007 by IB Tauris, London

Translation of 'Pokalen' (The Trophy), a text by the Gothenburg-based artist Meira Ahmemulic for a forthcoming book on street art (2007)

More recently I have been commissioned to translate extracts from Bengt Jangfeldt "Språket är Gud: Anteckningar om Joseph Brodsky" (Wahlström & Widstrand, 2009) and Karin Johannisson "Melankoliska Rum: Om ångest, leda och sårbarhet i förfluten tid och nuet" (Bonnier, 2001).

I have just (in November, 2011) completed my translation of Magnus Florin's "Trädgården" but have not yet approached potential publishers.

(Added 17 October 2014)

My translations of Bengt Jangfeldt's "Raoul Wallenberg: en biografi", and Magnus Florin's "Trädgården" have been published in 2014 as "The Hero of Budapest" and "The Garden" respectively. My translation of Bengt Jangfeldt's biography of the Russian poet Mayakovsky was published by Chicago University Press in December 2014.

In 2016 I translated Dr. Torsten Gunnarsson's article 'Grez-sur-Loing och konstnärskolonierna kring Fontainebleauskogen', from "Konsthistorisk Tidskrift", vol.84, issue 1, 2015, for the online journal "Art in Translation" (Edinburgh University & Edinburgh College of Art).

(Added 24/6/18) I have translated Magnus Florin's "Syskonen" (Siblings), "Cirkulation" (Circulation) and "Leendet" (The Smile). "Siblings" and "Circulation" are to be published in the near future by Vagabond Voices of Glasgow.

In 2020 I have translated Jan Romgard's "Polarforskaren som strandade i Kina" and Bengt Jangfeldt's "Immanuel Nobel & Söner: Svenska snillen i tsarernas Ryssland". Both translations await an English-language publisher.

Selected Publications

Jangfeldt, Bengt. .

University of Chicago Press, 2014.

A biography of the Russian Futurist poet V.V. Mayakovsky, set against the background of the Bolshevik Revolution and the artistic and literary ferment of the time.