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Event or Incident- Evénement ou Incident

On the Role of Translation in the Dynamics of Cultural Exchange- Du rôle des traductions dans les processus d’échanges culturels


Edited By Ton Naaijkens

Translations are crucial to the flow of themes, images, forms and ideas across boundaries. They constitute a special case of cultural dynamics as, in a sense, they are existing texts revived in a new form. The introduction of textual works in a target culture involves a high degree of strategy and control. These moments of control, selection and influence deserve special attention in cultural, receptional, and translation-historical studies. The essays in this yearbook address aspects of the central topic: the impact of translations on cultural-historical developments in Europe. First and foremost is the question which works were selected and why, and next which were neglected and why. In a wider scope: what – in the long-term processes of cultural transfer – were the «peaks» or key moments, and of which nature was the discourse accompanying the presence of a foreign-language culture in translation? Why did it all happen like this, and what was the precise impact of the introduction of new works, new ideas, new culture through the medium of translation? These are the questions to which the authors of this work attempt to provide answers.

Les traductions ont une importance cruciale quant à la circulation des thèmes, des images, des formes et des idées au-delà des frontières. Elles représentent un cas particulier de dynamique culturelle, insufflant en un sens une nouvelle vie à des textes existant. L’introduction d’œuvres écrites dans une culture cible suppose un déploiement important de stratégies visant à contrôler ces processus, qui font l’objet d’une attention toute particulière dans les études d’histoire culturelle, de réception, et d’histoire de la traduction.
Les études contenues dans ce volume s’intéressent aux différents aspects du sujet principal : l’impact des traductions sur les développements historiques et culturels en Europe. Tout d’abord quelles sont les œuvres retenues, pourquoi celles-ci et non pas d’autres ? Plus généralement, les auteurs s’intéressent aux moments où l’influence a atteint un apogée dans les processus à longue échéance des transferts culturels et à la nature du discours accompagnant la présence sous forme de traduction d’une culture en langue étrangère. Pourquoi tout cela est-il arrivé de la sorte et quel est l’impact précis de l’introduction d’œuvres, d’idées, d’une culture nouvelles à travers le medium de la traduction ? Voilà dans tous les cas les questions clés auxquelles les auteurs de cet ouvrage entendent répondre.


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Anne VAN BUUL The Importance of Translations in Processes of Repertoire Creation. Rossetti’s «Blessed Damozel» in Dutch 47


The Importance of Translations in Processes of Repertoire Creation. Rossetti’s «Blessed Damozel» in Dutch Anne VAN BUUL At the time of the first Dutch translation, in 1889, the lengthy poem «The Blessed Damozel» was already widely known in England. The poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), known for initiating the English group of artists The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, wrote it as ear- ly as 1847, at the age of eighteen. After being published in a variety of publications in different periodicals it served as the introductory poem of Rossetti’s debut, Poems, from 1870 onwards.1 Approximately at that time, Rossetti also immortalized his Damozel in paint. After quickly be- coming part of English canon, Rossetti’s creation found its way into Eu- rope through various channels. Around 1900, «The Blessed Damozel» was a well-known phenome- non in the Netherlands as well. This is shown by the many documents from the fin de siècle in which this blessed Lady crops up: in newspa- pers, periodicals, textbooks, letters, and also in works of art and novels allusions to the poem and the painting can be found. Between 1889 and 1928, the poem has been translated into Dutch three times. The question is what the importance has been of these three translations for the disse- mination of (knowledge of) «The Blessed Damozel» in the Netherlands. What was their role in the integration of this work in the Dutch culture? Did the poem meet with such response in the Netherlands owing to, or despite its...

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