The Austrian Shakespeare scholar Richard Flatter (1891-1960), author of Shakespeare’s Producing Hand (1948), had some markedly original interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays. He had already published German translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets (1934) and of Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet (1938) when he fled from Nazi Vienna to Britain, whence he was deported to a camp in Australia as an enemy alien. There he began translating A Winter’s Tale into German, and became convinced that it was not by Shakespeare. The Librarian here in Senate House Library, Dr J.H.P. Pafford, later edited the Arden Shakespeare edition and corresponded with Flatter after reading brief articles by him on the authorship of the play. While Pafford makes it very clear that he is unlikely to be convinced by such arguments, Flatter lists numerous inconsistencies in forceful language, speaking of the ‘incredibility of the plot’, of ‘helpless clumsiness’, and the ‘lack of characterization’. Perhaps most aggressively, he insists that ‘the language is petty, clumsy and uncouth. The verse is halting, the line-division contrary to all we are used to’.
Flatter’s translation appeared within his six-volume translation of twenty-four plays, based on the text of the First Folio (1952-55).