Babysitting the Reader

Translating English Narrative Fiction for Girls into Dutch (1946-1995)

by Mieke K.T. Desmet (Author)
©2007 Thesis 354 Pages


This comparative study looks at the way English books for girls are imported and translated into Dutch and Flemish culture. Fiction for girls has existed in Flanders and the Netherlands for more than one hundred years and started with the translation of Little Women into Dutch in 1876. Original fiction for girls in Dutch has developed especially in the Netherlands. Translations from English, German and French played an important role in developing the genre over time and Flanders plays an important role in bringing translations of narrative fiction for girls on the Dutch-Flemish market. Translations take many forms and the way a narrative is translated can vary a lot. It is often assumed that only the best of other cultures is translated, but that is not really the case. A large proportion of the translations analyzed in this study are popular fiction series which were heavily adapted and changed in the translation process. The same is true of classic girls’ texts, such as Little Women, which are often unrecognizable in translation. However, not all translations take that many liberties with the original and many award-winning books are translated in a faithful way.


ISBN (Softcover)
Englisch Mädchenliteratur Übersetzung Niederländisch Geschichte 1946-1995 Translation Study Children's Literature Gender Study Women's Study
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2007. 354 pp.

Biographical notes

Mieke K.T. Desmet (Author)

The Author: Mieke K.T. Desmet, born in Kortrijk in 1962, is Flemish and gained an M.A. in Germanic Philology (University of Louvain, 1985). She taught in Taiwan for several years before pursuing an M.A. in Comparative Literature (University College London, 1995), an M.A. in Children’s Literature (Roehampton Institute, 1999) and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (University College London, 2002). She is currently an Associate Professor in the Foreign Languages and Literature Department of Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan. Her main research interests are the translation of children’s literature, fiction for girls, visual texts, alphabet books and children’s literature in Taiwan.


Title: Babysitting the Reader