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Tanja Badali?, Astrid Kulsdom,

Lucyna Marzec, Marie Nedregotten Sørbø

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


A 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 use 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 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 is, therefore, provisional, but it does contain authors received in other European countries. We will try to give reasons for the presence or absence of these authors 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 Slovene territory was 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, in comparison to the other three countries, makes the Slovene reception quite different. However, a comparison including also the 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 will address the question of how the situation and position of an author, such as her popularity or her prolificacy, influence her reception and, consequently, our results. This will be highlighted in the reception of our chosen authors in several different countries. For this purpose, some attention will also be drawn to the cultural and historical contexts of our countries. The preliminary results concerning the reception of these two women writers in our countries have demonstrated that Braddon’s works were more 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, 10 June 2013

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