Goethe’s poems in Hausa

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — one of Germany’s best-known poets — was born in Frankfurt am Main on Aug. 28, 1749. Goethe’s “West-östlicher Divan“, a collection of lyrical poems, was inspired by the Persian mystic and poet Hafez.

Herrmann Jungraithmayr, a retired professor of African languages at Frankfurt’s Goethe-University, and his collaborator Yahaya Ahmed have produced Waƙoƙin Goethe , which is the first translation of some of these poems into Hausa.

In their introduction to the book the editors give details about the history of the poems, the importance of Hausa as a vernacular and a literary language and the translation process. This is followed by 20 poems, which are presented in German and Hausa side by side. At the end of the book, they present another poem, which they have composed themselves.

The book can be purchased at Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

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