Monday 23 May 2016

A bit more about Villette translations and revenge

Recently a series of articles centering around the early translations of Villette was published on this blog. But much more can be written about translations of this novel after 1860, in many other languages, and about translations of Charlotte Brontë’s other Brussels novel, The Professor. So far I have found 27 languages into which Villette was translated. There will be some more.

Here for instance is a Chinese Villette. Only recently I found this in the collection of Leiden University Library, with this fascinating catalog card description:
Title: Luoxue xiao jie you xue ji
Author/Creator: Brontë, Charlotte 1816-1855
伍光建; Wu, Guangjian
Description: Note: Translation of: Villette.
Related Titles: Series: 人人文庫 Renren wenku
Edition: 臺1版.; Tai 1 ban..
Publisher: Taibei : Taiwan shang wu yin shu guan; 臺北 : 臺灣商務印書館
Date: [Minguo 60 [1971]
Form: 2 volumes in 1 (2,4,1,300 pages) ; 18 cm.
Language: Chinese
 I rushed to the Library and found this book:

Cover page of the 1971 Taiwanese Villette 

Back page of the 1971 Taiwanese Villette

(Jane Eyre in this series was published six years later, in 1977 (Minguo 66), as:
ï  孤女飄零記
ï  Title: Gu nü piao ling ji.)

A measure of greatness is the number of languages a novel  has been translated into. But it seems no research has been done for Brontë translations. Wikipedia has a list of the most translated works. It goes down to books with a minimum of 28 languages, but it does not have a single Brontë work. Yet, Jane Eyre has at least 32 languages, and probably quite a few more. Wuthering Heights surely also has more than 30, and Villette will surely have at least 28.  This aspect of their novels makes it also interesting for bibliographical reasons, and for book collectors of course.