John Gould

John Gould is a doctoral student in political science at Yale

Recent Articles

Translations: Stealing Tocqueville?

F or years Harper and Row featured a blurb on the front cover of George Lawrence's 1966 translation of Alexis de Tocqueville's classic Democracy in America: "Tocqueville, whose brilliance has always been granted by academics, is now accessible to readers who don't mind brilliance as long as it is readable." Apparently, though, it's not been obvious to everyone that this accessibility has been a good thing. Reviews of a new translation published last fall by the University of Chicago Press have been overwhelmingly positive, and largely for the reason that it is more difficult to read. What could possibly be better about a translation that's harder to read than its predecessors? In their introduction, Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., and Delba Winthrop suggest that the ease of previous editions came at the expense of accuracy. Two English translations have appeared prior to this one: Lawrence's, almost 40 years ago, and another by an English contemporary and friend of Tocqueville's, Henry...