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Tanja Badali?, Astrid Kulsdom,

Lucyna Marzec, Marie Nedregotten Sørbø

Anglophone women authors as received in four European countries (19th century)


The comparison of the reception of Anglophone female authors in four countries (the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Slovenia) in the long nineteenth century will show how influential/popular their works were in different parts of Europe and, where the conditions for their reception differed due to different historical, cultural and political situations. We will investigate the circulation of their writings as a historical fact, contingent upon many circumstances, along which a decisive factor is the book market and the consumer’s need or usage of a specific type (genre) of literature. Simultaneously, we will provide insight into a process of canonizing.

Our presentation is in two parts. The first part will uncover authors who have been received (or not) in the four countries, out of a list of 56 British and Irish authors who published in the periods chosen (1800-1900 and 1900-1920). Our research is still in progress, and the list therefore is provisional, but it does contain authors received in other European countries. We will try to give reasons for these authors’ presence or absence from our research material. Since the communications between major and minor countries is a main interest in Women Writers in History, we propose to present an illustration of such connections. In addition, this will enable us to compare the reception of the same authors in several minor languages. The paper will investigate translations into Dutch, Norwegian and Polish, and compare the results to the presence of the same authors and their works in library catalogues, the periodical press and the theatre repertoire in Slovenia. Since the Slovene territory was a part of the Habsburg Monarchy at that time, with German as the official language of the empire, Slovene readers mostly read Anglophone authors in German translation. Consequently, there were almost no Slovene translations of English texts, which makes the Slovene reception quite different comparing to the reception in other three countries. However, a comparison between these types of reception will serve to illustrate the different conditions for reception in these countries.

In the second part of our paper, we will focus on the reception of two of the authors in our material, namely Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Charlotte Brontë. Their cases are very different; Braddon was a very prolific and popular author, Brontë had a more limited output and reception. This very difference between them will help answer the question about how the situation and the position of an author, such as her popularity or her prolificacy, influence her reception and consequently our results. This will be highlighted just in the reception of our chosen authors in several different countries. For this purpose, some attention will be drawn also to the cultural and historical contexts of our countries. In fact, the preliminary results of the reception of these two women writers in our countries have demonstrated that Braddon’s works were often received (i.e. translated) in the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland, while the reception in the Slovene territory was much more in favour of Brontë.

Throughout our presentation we will try to show our results by means of visualization.

SvD, 26 May 2013

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