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Petra Broomans

Awards and networks. A secret formula for the canonization of a cultural transmitter? On Swedish women´s literature in Dutch translation

One of the topics chosen for this seminar is "Translations between Scandinavian languages and other European languages involving women (as authors or translators)". Regarding Scandinavian culture and literature in the Dutch-speaking area, in cultural transfer and transmission history not much attention was paid to women cultural transmitters. Though Philippine Wijsman (1837-1907) and Margaretha Meyboom (1856-1927), among others, produced an enormous amount of translations, it was not until recently that scholars started to study their work, their networks and the images they transmitted of foreign literature.

Though these "silent" workers were excluded from cultural transfer and transmission history, they were highly praised by the Scandinavian authorities; Wijsman for example got the "Litteris et Artibus" award of the Swedish king, Oscar II. At this moment much more is known about some very productive women cultural transmitters such as Wijsman, Meyboom and also Dien Logeman-Van der Willigen (1864-1925).

But when compiling the bibliography of translations of Swedish books into Dutch (forthcoming) many more popped up. Who were Hendrika Bleeker and Jeannette E. Keyser? Did they also act as literary critic, writer, journalist or did they only translate? If so what does this add to the definition of the phenomenon of a cultural transmitter and to our understanding of the different phases in the process of cultural transfer?

Another question that arises, when discussing the invisibility of these category of unknown translators, is what qualities, strategies or rules are required to gain cultural capital in the literary field (Bourdieu) in order to enter the canon of cultural transfer and transmission history.

SvD, September 2011

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