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John Bull and the Continent


Edited By Wojciech Jasiakiewicz and Jakub Lipski

Ever since John Arbuthnot published The History of John Bull in 1712, the figure of John Bull has stereotypically personified the best and the worst traits of the British (or English) national character. The present work takes the eponymous juxtaposition as an incentive to study the variety of multi-faceted contacts between the two sides. Given the recent attempts at a re-definition of the relationship between Britain and the Continent – best visible in the turmoil over Britain’s EU membership – the results of the research will hopefully stimulate discussion about John Bull’s ever-changing presence within or without the Continent.
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Billy and Casp: Rediscovering forgotten translations in Polish-English cultural exchanges


1. Introduction

In October 1939, shortly after the military aggression of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union against Poland, at the time of escalating war and chaos in this part of the European continent, a little-known fact occurred in the context of the cultural exchange between Poland and England. Janusz Korczak’s children’s novel Bankructwo małego Dżeka [Bankruptcy of little Jack], the story of a young boy running a school shop and struggling with various down-to-earth, financial decisions, was published in London by Minerva Publishing under the title Big Business Billy. A decade earlier, in 1928, in the more peaceful climate of the late twenties, another English translation of a Polish children’s book was published in London. This time it was a fairy tale entitled Kłopoty Kacperka góreckiego skrzata [The troubles of Casper, a mountain gnome] by the Polish writer Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, which came out in English under the title The Troubles of a Gnome. To date, these two English versions seem to have attracted very little or no attention among translation researchers. Unjustifiably so. It is therefore these two ‘forgotten’ translations of Polish children’s books that have become the focus of the present article.

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