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Marie Nedregotten Sørbø

A New Persuasion:
The Discovery of a Nineteenth-Century Translation of Jane Austen


A hitherto unknown, 1871 translation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion has recently been discovered in a Norwegian newspaper. It is unrecorded in bibliographies and library catalogues, and seems to have gone straight from the press – from the columns providing readers with the hottest literary names – into the cold of an unmarked grave in newspaper archives. The discovery significantly alters our perception of Austen’s early reception. Although the first translations of Jane Austen appeared as she was writing, there were relatively few in the nineteenth century. Previous research has documented altogether seventeen translations into four languages only: French, German, Swedish and Danish. These records must now be adjusted to include Norwegian. Of these eighteen translations of Austen’s novels, five were of Persuasion, and three of them changed the title to The Elliot Family. This paper will present the surprising results of a comparison between these three versions of the novel: La Famille Elliot (1821), Familjen Elliot (1836) and Familien Elliot (1871).

SvD, June 2013

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