Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Vennewitz, Leila mss., 1964–2007, consist of the papers of Leila Vennewitz (1912–2007), one of the most important literary translators from the German in the second half of the twentieth century. Her major translations include the works of Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Böll, Alfred Andersch, Jurek Becker, Johannes Bobrowski, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Herman Hesse, Uwe Johnson, Walter Kemposki, Uwe Timm, Martin Walser and others. Vennewitz was born in England and lived most of her later life in Vancouver, Canada. Educated in England, she also attended the Sorbonne in Paris, where she studied French literature. While in Paris she began her study of German, which she later continued in Germany. Before moving to Canada with her husband, she spent twelve years with him in China, where she studied Chinese and Italian. Her long engagement with the work of Heinrich Böll began in 1964 and continued until his death in 1985. Over the course of her career, she won many awards, including the Schlegel–Tieck Prize in 1968 for End of a Mission (Ende einer Dienstfahrt) by Heinrich Böll, the Goethe House P.E.N. Prize in 1979 for And Never Said a Word (Und sagte kein einziges Wort) by Heinrich Böll, the American Translator's Association's German Literary Prize in 1989 for Breakers (Brandung) by Martin Walser, and the Kurt and Helen Wolff Prize (1997) for her translation of Jurek Becker's Jakob the Liar (Jacob der Lügner).

The collection includes correspondence, revised drafts, proofs, reviews, and other related material.

Acquired: 2002–2007.

Collection size: 1,000 items

NOTE: Access to this collection requires advance notice. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts for additional information.

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.