Thursday 23 June 2016

'Villette' and 'The Professor' in Dutch – Part one

After the first Dutch Villette of 1856, described on this blog in this article of a few months ago, six more translations were published. These will be described below in a two-part article. Some attention will also be paid to The Professor and to the other Brontë novels.

The second Dutch Villette had two editions, published in 1949 and 1950. It was translated by R.N. Bekaert, but it’s not been possible to find out who this person was. The surname though indicates that she or he was probably from Flanders, as the name is much more common there than in The Netherlands. The first of these editions was published by the Wereldbibliotheek, from Amsterdam & Antwerp (498 pp). Unfortunately this publisher, who has been very helpful,  also knows nothing about the translator. As far as is known this is the oldest Villette translation with a cover illustration, and a really good one at that, with Lucy and the Ste. Gudule cathedral (in a composition similar to the 1950 Swiss Villette that got to number 3 in the cover top six). The illustration was done by the Antwerp artist Germaine Cluytmans 1912-1968). She was a painter and print-maker, and made a few more book covers.

It is a hard cover book, with the illustration on a dust wrapper. It is also a very rare book. The publisher appears to have the only known existing copy with the dust wrapper. And at present there’s only known antiquarian bookshop in The Netherlands that has a copy for sale (unfortunately without the dust wrapper).

Pictures of the dust wrapper cover illustration, the title page and the hard cover spine of the 1949 Dutch Villette (with thanks to Frenchie de Kunder of the Wereldbibliotheek, and Klaas Mulder of antiquarian bookshop De Boekenbeurs in Groningen)

The second edition of this translation was published in 1950 by Boekengilde Die Poorte, from Antwerp (500 pp.). The hard cover is the same, apart from the colour. This one is green, whereas the 1949 edition was in red. It will most probably have had the same dust wrapper cover illustration, but that was missing in the copy we saw.

Pictures of the hard cover page and the
title page of the 1950 Villette (collection KBR -
Belgian Royal Library)

Very shortly afterwards, in 1951, a third Villette translation was published.  It got to four editions. The translation was a co-production, by Elisabeth de Roos and Cees Kelk. Kelk also wrote the preface.
Elisabeth Geertruida de Roos (1903-1981) also translated Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, as well as, among other English and French works,  George Eliot’s The mill on the Floss. She also wrote some books herself, and was active in the women’s rights movement. She was the wife of the well-known Dutch writer Edgar du Perron.

Photo of Elisabeth de Roos, ca. 1935

Cornelis Jan (Cees) Kelk (1901-1981) was a writer and a translator. His list of translated works includes Dickens’ Oliver Twist, and French works such as Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

The first four editions of their translation were published by Contact (Amsterdam & Antwerp).

The cover of the 1951 Contact Villette (488 pp.)

Title page of the 1951 Contact Villette

The second edition was published a year later, in 1952, with a new, charming, cover (viii + 489 pp). Since these two editions are not available for research it is not clear whether the first one contains the preface. But the 1951 title page suggests it didn’t.

Cover of the 1952 Contact Villette

The third edition was published in 1968, as Villette. Meisjeskostschool in Brussel (536 pp., incl. intro), in the ‘Contact Klassieken’ series. Meisjeskostschool is a translation of Pensionnat de demoiselles. It had six illustrations, one of which was also used for the cover page. These were made by André Nicolas Suter, a painter and a book illustrator (Switzerland; 1943-). Other books he illustrated include books by W. Somerset Maugham and Agatha Christie. The cover shows Lucy and Ginevra.

Cover of the 1968 Contact Villette

The fourth edition of this translation was published in the same year, 1968, by De Boekenschat (536 pp.), with a very dull cover.

Cover of the 1968
De Boekenschat Villette
Title page of the 1968 
De Boekenschat Villette

The fourth Dutch translation was published in 1964, by Veen (Amsterdam), in the ‘Amstel boeken’ series (409 pp.). It only got to one edition. This translation was done by Ina Eliza Prins-Willekes Macdonald (1886-1979). She also translated Wuthering Heights and Shirley, as well as many other English works, and French and Russian novels. She wrote some books herself and was active in the women’s rights movement too.

Photo of Ina Prins-Willekes Macdonald

Cover of the 1964 Veen Villette

In 1969 the fifth Villette translation was published, by Kempische Boekhandel (492 pp.). This Villette was translated by Frans van Oldenburg Ermke, a pseudonym of Franciscus Antonius Brunklaus (1909-1974), a Dutch writer, journalist and translator. Among the circa 250 works he translated are Wuthering Heights, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

Cover of the 1969 Kempische Boekhandel

To be continued

Eric Ruijssenaars


bengelapen said...

Ik heb de uitgave van 1950 in mijn bezit, mijn vader kocht die ooit bij de afvoerverkoop van de bibliotheek.
Er zit een harde kaft omheen, typisch voor bibliotheekboeken van vroeger en er mankeer mogelijk een schutblad.
Is er een ISBN nummer voor deze uitgave die dan op een missend schutblad stond of heeft dit boek geen nr?

Alvast bedankt voor uw reactie

Eric Ruijssenaars said...

Dag An,

Er was nog geen ISBN in 1950. Dat begon pas 20 jaar later.
Maar leuk dat u die Villette hebt!