Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Crossing Cultures

Crossing Cultures: Nineteenth-Century Anglophone Literature in the Low Countries

Tom Toremans
Walter Verschueren
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 218
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Crossing Cultures
    Book Description:

    Crossing Cultures brings together scholars in the field of reception and translation studies to chart the individual and institutional agencies that determined the reception of Anglophone authors in the Dutch and Belgian literary fields in the course of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. The essays offer a variety of angles from which nineteenth-century literary dynamics in the Low Countries can be studied. The first two parts discuss the reception of Anglophone literature in the Netherlands and Belgium, respectively, while the third part focuses exclusively on the Dutch translation of women writers.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-013-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    (pp. 7-18)
    Walter Verschueren

    In his introduction toLiteratuur van elders[Literature from Elsewhere], a collection of essays published exactly twenty years ago, Raymond van den Broeck rejoiced at the steady rise of academic interest in translated literature and expressed his enthusiasm in terms that were at once confident and promising:

    Over the last decades the interest in translated literature within the field of literary studies has rapidly increased. Started up in the 1960s, reception studies – with its focus on the effect and the function literary texts have for the receiving audience, have greatly contributed to this. More and more literary scholars have taken...

  2. PART 1 The Critical Reception and Translation of English Literature in the Netherlands

    • “Fame and Fortune in the Field of Shakespeare Translation: The Case of A.S. Kok”
      (pp. 21-34)
      Cees Koster

      In the second half of the 19thcentury, the field of reception and translation of Shakespeare’s works in the Netherlands seems to have come of age, certainly when taking into consideration the situation in the major cultural centres on the continent as a criterion of maturity. In that period two complete translations were published: a prose translation of the complete dramatic works by A.S. Kok, published between 1873 and 1880, and a verse translation of the complete works (the poems included) by L.A.J. Burgersdijk, published between 1884 and 1888. The last quarter of the century also saw the rise...

    • “Eccentric Authors: Cd. Busken Huet and Taco H. de Beer on English Literature”
      (pp. 35-52)
      Ton van Kalmthout

      At the time of his sudden death, Conrad Busken Huet (1826-1886) was working on an essay in which he wrote: “No Dutch author in the last fifty years has written any Dutch book, whether in prose or in verse, that is valued by the rest of Europe.”¹ In the light of this opinion, it is not surprising that Busken Huet’s interests had become increasingly international in the course of his career. His name is bound to crop up in any study of literary relations between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. In his home country he is regarded as one...

    • “Elusive Poets, Fugitive Texts: The Impact of the London Shelley Society in the Low Countries”
      (pp. 53-68)
      Kris Steyaert

      In 1995, Ton Naaijkens published his essay “De slag om Shelley”, in which he examined the literary debate initiated by the publication of a number of ambitious Dutch Shelley translations.¹ This debate, he argued, was driven by personal agendas, deep-seated rancour, and calculated strategies of selfinterest. I would like to put Naaijkens’s arguments to the test by bringing into the picture an aspect of the reception of Shelley not covered in his essay. Like him, I will take Dutch Shelley translations as my main starting point but I will then shift my attention to the possible source texts and their...

    • “British Influences on Dutch Book Designs: A Case Study on Dutch Bibliophilic Editions of Works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti”
      (pp. 69-82)
      Anne van Buul

      In August 1905 the Dutch poet P.C. Boutens (1870-1943) mentioned in a letter to his friend J.M. Kakebeeke (1881-1958) that he was working on a translation of the poem “The Blessed Damozel” by the Pre-Raphaelite poet, painter and translator Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). By winter, he hoped, he would have completed several stanzas and sent them to his friend. A later letter shows that Kakebeeke did indeed receive Boutens’s translation and was much impressed by Rossetti, as Boutens praises him with the words: “How good of you, to love him so!” [“Hoe goed van je, dien zoo te beminnen!”] (Goud,...

    • “George Eliot on the Dutch Market (1860-1896)”
      (pp. 83-98)
      Susanna De Schepper

      Although a surprising number of Dutch 19th-century translations of George Eliot’s works can be found in the Dutch Central Catalogue, very little scholarshipaboutthese translations has been published. William Baker and John Ross mention most studies on Eliot’s reception in the Low Countries in their thoroughGeorge Eliot: A Bibliographical History(2002), but they clearly suffer from a language barrier, proof of which are the many misprints in the transcription of the Dutch title pages. There also seems to be an additional geographical barrier, as most of the mentioned translations are held in libraries that they apparently consider...

  3. PART 2 The Critical Reception and Translation of English Literature in Belgium

    • “‘English Literature in Belgium’: Some Introductory Remarks”
      (pp. 101-106)
      Lieven D’hulst

      The terms used in the title refer to complex and changing realities and should therefore solicit further explanation: needless to say, ‘English’ may cover more than one literature in English (American, British, Irish, etc.), whereas ‘ Belgium’ is both a changing geopolitical construct (at least between 1800 and 1830) and a network of institutional and discursive practices in more than one language (Dutch /Flemish /French /Walloon), each being carrier of literary repertoires. As a consequence, the study of Anglo-Belgian literary relations better renders explicit the different steps of a comparative analysis, while relating them to a corresponding frame of reference....

    • “The Image of English Literature in Belgian Avant-Garde Periodicals”
      (pp. 107-120)
      Francis Mus

      In the age of Internet and globalisation, it may seem inadequate to consider literary relations between two ‘national literatures’, both on a structural and on a more pragmatic level. An artificial demarcation of the object of study (‘English literature’) and, consequently, an impalpable corresponding reality, make that the initial research project seems doomed from the very beginning. However, these two objections necessitate a profound nuance regarding a fraction of the interbellum period in Belgium that will be the subject of this article.

      First, the existing exchanges were much more streamlined and literally more ‘channelled’ than they are today: as regards...

    • “Presence and Treatment of English Poetry in 19 th-Century Belgian Literary Periodicals”
      (pp. 121-136)
      Karen Vandemeulebroucke

      Any literary ‘province’ is forced to be conscious of the presence and representation of other literatures. This also goes for 19th-century Belgian literature, which had to cope not only with the literary influences of prestigious neighbouring countries (France in particular), but also with intra-national linguistic diversity. From that perspective, even though a large number of 19th-century Belgian literary periodicals advocated the development of a truly Belgian literary identity, reality appeared to be far more complex. As such, any literary periodical defining itself as a mere “Belgian” mouthpiece should be considered a dual entity, a crossing of intra-national (Flemish-Francophone) and...

    • “The Import of English Literature by Women Translators in Flanders, 1870-1914. A Comparative Survey”
      (pp. 137-156)
      Liselotte Vandenbussche

      In December 1913, Dina Logeman-Van der Willigen (1864-1925), a Dutch translator living in the Belgian city of Ghent, wrote to her friend Marie Elisabeth Belpaire (1853-1948): “I never translate works from English because itdoes not pay. Everyone in Holland is able to translate from English [and] publishers are flooded by young girls who want to translate awholebook for 5 or 10 guilders!!”¹ Instead of choosing British authors, Logeman-Van der Willigen opted for writers from the smaller Danish, Norwegian and Swedish communities, such as Johannes Jørgensen, Georg Brandes, Ellen Key and Herman Bang.² By selecting these authors for...

  4. PART 3 Women’s Writing in Dutch Translation

    • “Researching Women’s Place in the Literary Field: Anglophone Authors in the Netherlands”
      (pp. 159-160)
      Suzan van Dijk

      What about the reception of British or American women authors in the Netherlands? This question is discussed in the following four articles, which were prepared in the context of an international collaborative project dedicated to studying women’s place in the European literary field before 1900. Entitled “New Approaches to European Women’s Writing” (NEWW),¹ the project is particularly concerned with these authors’ works being received: that is, bought, lent, read, commented on, translated or otherwise rewritten, by male as well as female readers more or less contemporary to publication. Women’s place in the public sphere is to be traced, using a...

    • “Was Jane Austen Read in the 19th-Century Netherlands?”
      (pp. 161-176)
      Suzan van Dijk

      The question as to whether Jane Austen was or was not being read in the Netherlands was recently addressed in one of the contributions to the volumeThe Reception of Jane Austen in Europe. It seems to me, however, that this question was only partially answered. In a sense, such incompleteness is characteristic of any research on the reception of literary works, and should, in general, not be considered a major obstacle to our appreciation of such efforts. Nevertheless, the book, and in particular the article by Maximiliaan van Woudenberg entitled “Going Dutch: The Reception of Jane Austen in the...

    • “English Reading in a Dutch Library for Women (1894-1900).”
      (pp. 177-188)
      Lizet Duyvendak

      In 1894 a group of young gentlewomen from The Hague founded a library: the Damesleesmuseum [“Ladies’ Reading Museum”]. In the second half of the 19thcentury, the fact that existing reading societies rarely admitted female members led to the foundation of reading societies and study clubs especially for women in Europe and the United States of America. The reading society was one of many women’s organisations that developed in the first wave of feminism. It answered the need felt by upper-middle-class women for meaningful recreation and enhanced women’s opportunities to learn a vocation. The founders’ aim was to create a...

    • “Feminism in Translation: Re-writing the Rights of Woman.”
      (pp. 189-200)
      Laura Kirkley

      In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft published her Revolutionary feminist manifesto,A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Provoking outrage amongst conservatives and admiration in progressive circles, theRights of Womanwas translated into French and German in the same year and brought the author fame in Europe. At the hands of each translator, however, Wollstonecraft’s feminist message underwent distinct transformations. The anonymous French translator uses his translational choices and paratextual commentary to promote Wollstonecraft’s feminist message. A note of utopian possibility sounds throughoutDéfense des droits des femmes[Defence of the Rights of Woman], aligning it with the deluge of political...

    • “What Literary Historians ‘Forgot’: American Women Authors in the 19th-Century Netherlands.”
      (pp. 201-214)
      Stephanie Walker and Suzan van Dijk

      In 1982 J. G. Riewald and J. Bakker publishedThe Critical Reception of American Literature in the Netherlands 1824-1900. At the time, reception studies were still referred to in German as “Rezeptionsforschung” and were only starting to be recognized “as an important part of comparative studies” (6). The authors did have some predecessors who had worked on the reception of American literature in Germany and Russia, but were quite confident that their book-length study on the Netherlands was the first of its kind, unique in its scope and approach in an until then “much neglected field” (1). Right at the...