Culture is present in texts created in a certain literary system and socio-cultural context on every level and becomes particularly visible in culture-specific items (CSIs). They anchor the texts into a certain culture and as such pose serious translation problems. At the same time culture is embedded in the system of transnational relations where there is always cultural asymmetry that exerts influence on the translation process. The position of the culture and the language in the international system tends to be reflected in translator’s choices. This paper addresses the issue of the cultural asymmetry and culturebound translation problems in the Dutch translations of modern Polish literature. For this purpose the author takes a close look at the translations of Popioł i diament [Ashes and Diamonds], Mała apokalipsa [A minor apocalypse] and Dukla [Dukla].
Two hypotheses on identity lay at the core of this paper. (1) Doeschka Meijsing presents identity as unstable and as a construct of one’s own in three novels. (2) Meijsing uses memory discourses and cultural phenomena to display how characters struggle when (re-)constructing their identities. Pip (Over de liefde, 2008), has to deal with the secret affair of her female lover who has got pregnant. She refuses to be the ‘left one’ everyone feels pity for. As a result, she has to create a new identity that doesn’t fit the expectations of others. In 100% Chemie (2002), an unnamed daughter of a German migrant and Dutch father grew up in the Netherlands. As she doesn’t identify with any nationality she seeks to stabilize her fragmented identity. Investigating the history of her German family she tries to create her own identity. Robert Martin, main character of De tweede man (2000), struggles with the legacy of his brother Alexander who has passed away. Robert has not only inherited his brother’s fortune but also his friends. They want Robert to replace Alexander. Robert has to create a new identity which fits their lifestyle. Meijsing’s characters feel as if they have ‘lost’ their identities, as far as they ‘owned’ ones. As a result, their stories stress views on identity: do they have fixed identities, which can be destroyed? Is identity a construction and if so, how can it be created? I discuss how cultural memory, especially counter-memory which questions memory discourses, impacts the construction of identity. Furthermore, I show how intersections of identity categories trouble Meijsing’s characters.
The sixteenth-century morality play Elckerlijc is one of the few texts mentioned in almost all Dutch canon lists. It is no surprise that this is one of the few medieval Dutch texts transferred into different languages and cultures. There are two Polish texts based on it, the first from 1921 by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (Kwidam), the second from 1933 by Stanisław Helsztyński (Każdy (Everyman): średniowieczny moralitet angielski). The text was though never directly translated into Polish from Dutch. The main issue is whether these translations have influenced the image of Dutch literature in Poland. It appears that secondary literature has seen the plays of Iwaszkiewicz and Helsztyński only as transfer of German or English literature and ideas and that it is rarely known that the original story originates from the Netherlands.
During the Second World War, both in the Dutch East Indies and in Curaçao, journals were published in which Dutch authors could publish their works unhampered by German censorship. In addition, literary works in Dutch were published in the Dutch East Indies, South Africa and New York. A man involved in all these initiatives was Jan Greshoff, an author who had played an important role in Dutch literature during the time between the two world wars. In this article, the role of Greshoff in relation to the literary journal De Stoep, which originated in Curaçao after the German occupation of Holland in 1940, will be explored. Although he never went to Curaçao and never met the journal’s founder, Luc. Tournier, in person, Greshoff played an important role in the history of De Stoep during the years of the war, and thus indirectly in the development of Dutch literature in Curaçao.
This paper focuses on current issues relating to cultural encounters in contemporary Dutch literature. The starting point is transculturality - a concept suggesting a new way of looking at culture that is frequently applied as an alternative to concepts such as multi- and interculturality. This article deals with theoretical issues as well as with the question whether transculturality is appropriate when characterizing how cultural contacts are represented in literature. The results of this case study based on a literary analysis of Kader Abdolah’s short story “Een onbekende trekvogel” provide a strong argument for modifying the concept of transculturality and sharpening awareness for increasing interrelations of individuals, societies, institutions and nations.
In his Geschiedenis van de Russische literatuur [History of Russian Literature, 1985] the famous Dutch Slavist and essayist Karel van het Reve, links Russian writers, such as Gavriil Derzhavin and Aleksei Pisemskii to Dutch and Flemish ones, such as Vondel and Willem Elsschot. Further on, in the chapter on Lev Tolstoi, Multatuli’s Max Havelaar is cited, although it is clear from the start that none of these Dutch-speaking authors could have had any influence on the Russian writers to whom Van het Reve devotes his colourful chapters. In this article I explore the ‘transnational’ potential of Van het Reve’s self-willed literary-historiographical approach. It turns out that Van het Reve mentions most of these Dutch-speaking authors rather to indicate - directly or indirectly - that he (dis)likes them, than to contribute to the achievements of comparative literature. Both in his choice of authors and his way of practicing literary historiography Van het Reve manifests himself as a proponent of the vent (cf. the well-known vorm of vent or manner or man discussion). Nevertheless, some of his observations could be considered as transnational constellations (in the world-literature sense of the term).
This article deals with recent Danish literature in the light of the discussion about canons occasioned by the publication of the two ministerial canons: Undervisningskanon (Educational Canon, 2004) and Kulturkanon (Cultural Canon, 2006). The article argues that recent Danish literature challenges traditional work categories and the concept of the author on which the two canons are based, and discusses which works and texts in recent Danish literature ought to belong to a future canon.
Charles Darwin’s theories were already introduced in Scandinavia in the early 1860s, whereas his two major works, On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871), were translated by Danish writer J.P. Jacobsen in the 1870s. Jacobsen acts as an important intermediary both as a scientist and, probably, the first Danish writer whose work is influenced by Darwin’s thoughts. But also in the writings of other authors of the time, e.g. Herman Bang, at least the name “Darwin” infrequently occurs as is also the case with the symbolist writers of the 1890s, e.g. Viggo Stuckenberg and Sophus Claussen. However, not until after 1900 does Darwin serve as an artistic inspiration and a positive role model. This happens in an overpowering manner in the fictional and essayist works of the Danish Nobel Prizewinner Johannes V. Jensen. Jensen’s Darwinism was not countered until the so-called “livsanskuelsesdebat” - a philosophical debate - during the 1920s with the eloquent poet and dramatist Helge Rode as his acute opponent. Hereafter, Darwin’s role in Danish literature decreases significantly unless one wishes to see Peter Høeg’s novel from 1996, Kvinden og aben (The Man and the Ape) as the last example of a Darwin-influence on a literary text.