Over the last 20 years, literary nonfiction has become increasingly popular among the Dutch reading public. Thanks to increasing sales, translations and literary awards the genre achieved a strong position in Dutch literature. This article analyzes the image of Central and Eastern European countries in Dutch literary nonfiction of the last ten years (2004-14). It searches for characteristics of an orientalist and balkanist discourse and the presence of the imagological centre-periphery model in the works of Geert Mak, Jelle Brandt Corstius, Olaf Koens, Joop Verstraten and Jan Brokken. Contemporary Dutch literary nonfiction contains a euro-orientalist discourse. Characteristics such as underdevelopment, hedonism, obscurity and authenticity are projected on Central and Eastern Europe, which is put in the periphery of Western Europe.
Since mid-19th century Dutch and Flemish literature has often been translated into Central European languages. We find authors like Conscience, Multatuli or Heijermans almost everywhere, often with the same works. Until the late 19th century translations were often made via German. Czech had a special position. Though there is not that much translated into this language as into German, until World War II Czech was the language into which was translated more than into other Central European languages. Until the 20s many translators were writers themselves. This gives rise to questions such as how the choice was made, what is the position of a particular author or his work within translated literature? How was Dutch literature defined? In this paper, we give a look how the choice was made, at the position of translators of Dutch literature in the late 19th and early 20th century in the Czech literary field, the position of Dutch in their work and how this literature was received in translation.
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