Monday, 3 April 2017

The Translations of Villette and The Professor – New Acquisitions Part 2 – 400 Comes Up

While doing more research for the China article, the last of the translations series published recently, I found several more previously unknown editions. China brought the total score to 396 editions that have been reported here.

Earlier, recently, a new 2016 Italian edition was found with both novels, and indeed the other Brontë novels too, Tutti I Romanzi. It was published by Newton & Compton (1920 pp.). It has the translation of Marcella Hanau of Villette, and a new translation of The Professor by Angela Ricci. It’s only the second book which has both novels in translation (counting as two translated editions).

Cover of the 2016 Italian Villette,
The Professor
 and the other
Brontë novels

And an Italian The Professor was discovered that was published on 1 February of this year, also by Newton & Compton (192 pp.). It is a second edition for the Angela Ricci translation. From a chronological point of view this is the 399th translated edition. (It appears that nr. 398 is the Swedish The Professor of October 2016.)


Cover of the 2017 Italian The Professor

It is remarkable that the end of the journey around the world coincided with reaching the 400th translated edition. It is the Finnish Villette that had already been announced at the beginning of the year. This Syrjästäkatsojan tarina was published on 27 February, by WSOY again (743 pp.). As expected it is the old Tyni Haapanen-Tallgren translation. It’s the 8th edition since 1921. She’s getting close to a century.

Cover of the 2017 Finnish Villette

The Danish Villette that was intended to be published on 1 March has been delayed, thus missing the chance to become nr. 400. The new publication date is now 21 April. It is a new translation, by Christiane Rohde, who has also translated Lewis Carroll’s Alice and two Wilkie Collins books. This Villette is published by Gyldendal from Kopenhagen, and has 632 pages. The cover has recently been made available.

Cover of the 2017 Danish Villette

There is no news on the Brazilian The Professor set to be published this year, which is the current nr. 402.

New statistics
Presumably all translated editions that have been published around the world up to the summer of 2016 have now been found and described. It is quite possible that a few more recent ones will turn up, so it will take some time before we know which edition really was number 400. The 300th was published at the beginning of 2009. It’s gone fast since, as the following graph shows.




We can now conclude that 2013 is the year with the most translated editions of Villette, with 9. The years 1932 and 2011 are joint second with 8. The best year for The Professor is 2016, with 13. The years 2013 and 2014 have 11. For both novels together 2013 is the winner, with 20. Last year, 2016, has 18, so far. It is well possible that two more may turn up from last year, so there’s still some hope for 2016. As it stands though, the 160th year of Villette has been more popular than Charlotte’s 200th birthday year, for translated editions of the two novels.

At present we know of 230 Villettes and 172 The Professors. One would expect there will be a slowdown in the coming years, but that there would still at least be ten 2017 editions. At such a rate we are likely to get to the 250th Villette and the 200th The Professor in 2020. The 200th Villette was published in 2012, the 150th The Professor in 2014. The 500th translated edition of them both will probably be published in or about 2024.

Eric Ruijssenaars

PS. It would be interesting to hear about your favourite covers, now that all have been presented.

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