A Husserlian Question

My copy of Husserl’s Ideas is a mass-market paperback published by Collier in 1931, with a translation by W. R. Royce Gibson. If I were to read this copy rather than other extant versions, would I come away with a tragically distorted idea of Husser’s ideas and Ideas?

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11 Responses to “A Husserlian Question”

  1. Jeff McCurry Says:

    The version in the Husserliana/Collected Works is the translation by Kersten. I guess the questions are whether you want to read the version “sanctioned” by the Husserl Archives in Belgium or ever think you’ll publish on Husserl. Especially if the last is true, you’d probably want to use the Kersten. Relatedly, there’s a really good new book on phen. by Michael Lewis and Tanja Staehler called: Phen.: An Introduction. It’s the best 50 pages on Husserl I’ve ever read. Good luck!

  2. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    I don’t know if I should say who, though I doubt he cares, but a Husserllian who has published quite a bit in his early days on Husserl has only read that translation. He says he’s never seen a copy where the spine didn’t break and the book become an accordion. I suspect he also read the German though.

  3. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Yeah, looking at it now, the text goes down millimeters away from the binding. This might join Hegel’s Science of Logic as one of the classics of broken spines — along with everything ever published by Verso.

  4. Jeff McCurry Says:

    I asked my Husserlian colleague, and she says you’re okay with the Gibson if you’re reading it own your own, because it is easier to read, but not as faithful to the German as the Kersten.

  5. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Thanks for asking around — truly above and beyond the call of duty.

  6. bjk Says:

    It’s funny that Husserl was ever published in a mass market paperback, that was a long time ago. Marcus Brainard is supposed to be coming out with a new translation of Ideas from Noesis Press, but no indication when.

  7. Dave Mesing Says:

    This is second-hand info, but a friend whom I trust thinks that the Kersten translation isn’t great either. I think you will be ok with what you’ve got–the root problem is that Husserl isn’t a good writer.

  8. ben Says:

    You could read it in German!

  9. Christopher Rodkey Says:

    This might anger or annoy those who love Husserl–and a chunk of my forthcoming book deals directly with Husserl (though more on Ideas II and the influence of Edith Stein)–I think it’s probably fair to say that unless you really want to delve deeply into the specifics Husserl either translation would be fine. This is because, as Dave says, Husserl wasn’t a great writer, though he wasn’t a terrible writer either, but for me the ‘ideas’ and concepts are far more important and powerful than how he articulates himself. That’s just my opinion.

  10. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    I’ve never met anyone into Husserl who claims he’s a good writer! Though the Crisis text ain’t awful.


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