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  • Author: Hamilton Beck x
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In the late 1950s, the last major works of W.E.B. Du Bois appeared in the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic and other Eastern Bloc countries before they were published in the US. While Eastern Bloc countries provided welcome support for Du Bois at a time when he was effectively blacklisted in America, they found that his texts presented them with certain challenges. On the one hand, the GDR printed his English-language anthology An ABC of Color complete and without editorial interference. When it came to translating his Autobiography in the GDR and USSR, however, some chapters were dropped for reasons of space, while others were reformulated or excised to eliminate politically awkward views, religious vocabulary, and matters touching on sexuality. This essay provides a close examination of selected passages in the German and Russian translations, compares them with the English original, and argues that in making Du Bois conform to accepted views, the East German and Russian versions straight-jacketed his text.