Monday 27 June 2016

Villette and The Professor in Dutch – Part two

Villette continued

The sixth translation, by Nannie Nieland-Weits, was published by Muntinga (Amsterdam) in 2008, in which year it had two editions. It was published as a ‘Rainbow pocket’ (675 pp.). Nieland-Weits has translated many books, also from French and German, and wrote a book about Jane Austen.

Cover of the 2008 Muntinga Villette
(Painting: Pierre Auguste Renoir -
La liseuse (c. 1874-6))

The seventh and so far last translation was published in 2010 by Reader’s Digest (Amsterdam/Brussels). It’s an ‘adaptation’ (461 pp.). The book doesn’t mention who translated it. The cover is very dull.

Cover of the 2010 Reader's Digest

The Professor

The first Dutch translation of The Professor was published in early 1859, by Van Bolhuis Hoitsema (Groningen; 10 years earlier they published the first Dutch Jane Eyre). The title it got was Edward Crimsworth, with the subtitle, in translation, The life of a teacher. a story (vi + 304 pp.). The ‘Edward’ is quite remarkable of course, all the more so since at the beginning of the novel the name of William Crimsworth is given first in big letters. The book has the preface of the author and Arthur Bell Nicholls.

Cover of the 1859 Dutch
Edward Crimsworth

Title page of the 1859 Dutch Edward Crimsworth

Advertisement for Edward Crimsworth (Opregte Haarlemsche
Courant, 26 March 1859)

The second and last translation was first published in 2005 by Kemper & Boekwerk (Leidschendam; 239 pp.), with the title Leven en liefde (Life and love). The translation was done by Temilo van Zantwijk (a philosopher) and Agave Kruijssen (mostly known for writing historical novels). It was republished in 2009 as a Rainbow pocket too by Muntinga, entitled William Crimsworth (279 pp.).

Cover of the 2005 Dutch
  Leven en liefde
(Painting: Pierre Auguste Renoir -
Danse à la ville (1883))

Cover of the 2009 Dutch
William Crimsworth

The other Brontë novels

Remarkably, the first Dutch Brontë translation was Anne’s second novel, published as De bewoonster van Wildfell Hall. The first advertisement for this book is from September 1849. Two months later the first ad appeared for the Dutch Jane Eyre. This has been digitized, and the two volumes can be seen here. The first Shirley translation was published in 1851, in three volumes. The first,  second and third have also been digitized.

The 1850s library catalogue, which I spoke about in an article about a supposed novel by Acton Currer Bell, wrongly gives the title of Anne’s novel as De huurster van Wildfell Hall, which is a correct translation though. Bewoonster means occupant, or inhabitant. The word ‘huurster’ was indeed used for the translation that was first published in 1997. It got several more editions.

It took until 1941 before the first translation of Wuthering Heights was published, done by the above mentioned Elisabeth de Roos. The first translation of Agnes Grey was only published in 1962.


Agnes Grey was also the name of a Dutch (Frisian) pop band which existed between 1978 and 1980. It was probably based on a (bluesy) song with the same name recorded in 1977 by Arti Kraaijeveld, and was later also played by The Bintangs. These can be found on Youtube. There doesn’t seem to be a direct relation with Anne’s novel.

Mrs. Gaskell’s Life of Charlotte Brontë has never been translated into Dutch.

Eric Ruijssenaars

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