Underlying Rhythm

On Translation, Communication, and Literary Languages. Essays in Honor of Burton Pike

by Peter Constantine (Volume editor) Robert Cowan (Volume editor) Henry Gifford (Volume editor) Genese Grill (Volume editor) James Keller (Volume editor)
©2023 Edited Collection XVI, 250 Pages


This volume explores the importance of scholarly and literary communities, the challenges of translation and difference, and the search for the ineffable in art. It is a collection of interviews, translations, scholarly essays, and tributes in honor of Burton Pike (1930–2022), a renowned translator of Robert Musil, Rilke, Goethe, Gerhard Meier, and others, as well as a scholar of literary Modernism and the image of the city. He was also an extraordinary teacher, mentor, and inspiration to a generation. The pieces are mostly written by former students, colleagues, and admiring friends, but the book also includes two interviews with Pike, along with Pike’s own previously unpublished lecture on Thomas Mann’s last novel, Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Curriculum Vitae of Burton Pike
  • 1 Introduction (Genese Grill)
  • 2 An Interview with Burton Pike (Peter Glassgold)
  • 3 Growing Up in Language and Music: An Interview with Burton Pike (Peter Constantine)
  • Part I Translations
  • 4 With All the Senses: A Translation of Klaus Mann’s “Gimietto” with Commentary (James Keller)
  • 5 Short Prose from Contemplation by Franz Kafka, with Commentary (Ross Benjamin)
  • 6 Translation of a Passage from Madame Bovary, with Commentary (Roger Celestin)
  • 7 An Ode to Rome, and a Translation of Lucio Mariani’s “Roman Ode” (Thomas Harrison)
  • 8 Letters on The Man without Qualities by Robert Musil (Peter Constantine, Philip Payne, and Burton Pike)
  • Part II Scholarly Essays
  • 9 Armand de Kroullosta: Thomas Mann’s Confessions of the Confidence Man—A Lecture (Burton Pike)
  • 10 The City as TK (Robert Cowan)
  • 11 Accessing Ludwig Hohl (Elizabeth Tucker)
  • 12 Arnheim and His Discontents in Musil’s The Man without Qualities (James Keller)
  • 13 The Birth of Modern Czech Out of the Spirit of the Austrian Enlightenment (David S. Luft)
  • 14 Diderot and Musil: Negative Capability as Ironic Acting (David Auerbach)
  • 15 Pre-Existing Conditions: The Diseased Urban Self in Andrei Bitov’s The Pushkin House (Ekaterina Sukhanova)
  • 16 The Utopia of Metaphor as Translation (Genese Grill)
  • 17 The Art of Betrayal: Translation in an Age of Suspicion (Tess Lewis)
  • 18 Acceptance Speech for the Friedrich Ulfers Prize, 2016 (Burton Pike)
  • Part III Laudations
  • 19 Laudation for Burton Pike as He Is Awarded the 2016 Friedrich Ulfers Prize [Adapted and Updated in 2022] (Shelley Frisch)
  • 20 Stalking the Ineffable (Patricia Towers)
  • 21 A Tribute to Burt Pike (Norma Hurlburt)
  • 22 Celebrating Burton Pike (Mary Ann Caws)
  • 23 Burton Pike in Vienna, circa 1994 (Esther Allen)
  • 24 Reminiscence (Alyson Waters)
  • 25 A Mental Desk with Many Drawers (Evelyn Barish)
  • 26 Tribute (David S. Luft)
  • Bibliography
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index

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The editors would like to thank the copyright holders for permission to reprint the following:

Peter Glassgold, “Interview with Burton Pike.” Translation Review 60:1 (2000): 5–7. © The Center for Translation Studies, reprinted by permission of Taylor & Francis Ltd, http://www.tand​fonl​ine.com on behalf of The Center for Translation Studies.

Klaus Mann, “Gimietto.” Translated by James Keller. Fiction 17, no. 1 (2001): 69–72. Altered. Permission granted by Mark Jay Mirsky, Fiction.

Lucio Mariani, “Ode romana.” In Oratorio. Milan: Crocetti Editore, 2016. Permission granted by Nicola Crocetti, Crocetti Editore.

Robert Musil, “Letters on The Man without Qualities.” Translated by Peter Constantine. Commentary by Philip Payne. Edited by Burton Pike. Fiction (Winter 1999). First published in Fiction with first North American publishing rights, copyright held and permission granted by Peter Constantine et al.

Rainer Maria Rilke, “Sonnets to Orpheus, 2.29.” Translated by Burton Pike. New Poetry in Translation 2. <https://new​poet​ryin​tran​slat​ion.com/rilke.html>. Permission granted by Peter Constantine, New Poetry in Translation.

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Curriculum Vitae of Burton Pike

Burton passed away on December 22, 2022, while this book was being prepared for publication.

Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and German, The Graduate Center, City University of New York


XVI, 250
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2023 (April)
Modernism the city [in literature] twentieth-century literature Underlying Rhythm Peter Constantine Robert Cowan Henry N. Gifford Genese Grill James Keller Burton Pike Translation Literary communities
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2023. XVI, 250 pp.

Biographical notes

Peter Constantine (Volume editor) Robert Cowan (Volume editor) Henry Gifford (Volume editor) Genese Grill (Volume editor) James Keller (Volume editor)

Peter Constantine is Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Connecticut. Robert Cowan is Professor of English at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY. Henry N. Gifford is a freelance copy editor and writer. Genese Grill is a Musil scholar, translator, essayist, and former student of Burton Pike. James Keller is Adjunct Assistant Professor of German at Pasadena City College in California, a translator, and former student of Burton Pike.


Title: Underlying Rhythm