Jump to: navigation, search

Marie Nedregotten Sørbø

‘A paradise for women’: England seen from Norway in 1858


The dialogue between English and Norwegian voices, or more specifically those of British women authors and Norwegian translators, editors and critics, is the focus of my continued contribution to ‘Women Writers in History’.

The first step was taken in ‘The translation of nineteenth-century British and Irish novelists into Norwegian’ (Turku, May 2010) which gave a first, quantitative overview of translations. It showed that around half of the authors that were checked did receive a Norwegian translation, and moreover that there was a preference for contemporary, popular fiction over classics.

My second paper, ‘The image of the female author in Norwegian translations of Burney, Kennedy, Eliot and Ward’ (Belgrade, April 2011) found certain common features in the way these authors were presented to Norwegian readers, for instance that they were all lent male status through extensive name-dropping, that they were presented as women who did not shirk their female duties, and that they all were seen to write wholesome fiction for modern readers.

For this second Milestone conference I would like to add to this by focusing on an intriguing 1858 series of articles on ‘English authoresses’, whose ample selection and proto-feminist profile make a compelling argument. The anonymous writer attempts to convince his (her?) readers that England is a paradise for women writers, without any of the prejudices against female education that Norwegian women face. The selection, and omission, of names is interesting, as is the underlying idea that there are hordes of clever, prolific women writers, not just the odd exception.

Finally, after the conference, I hope to gather the threads of these papers into a published article on British women authors in nineteenth-century Norway.

AsK, September 2012

Personal tools