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La traduction dans les cultures plurilingues

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Francis Mus
, 
Karen Vandemeulebroucke
, 
Lieven D’Hulst
, 
et al.

Médiateurs

Intercultural mediators in multilingual cultures: blessing or curse?

Reine Meylaerts

Texte intégral

1. Introduction

  • 1 Although the authors classified the Works as children’s novels, the translations belonged to the ad (...)

1In the second half of the 1930s, two Belgian authors-translators, Stijn Streuvels and Camille Melloy, were simultaneously translating each other’s (children’s)1 novels. Streuvels translated Melloy’s Cinq Contes de Noël (1934a) in Dutch and Melloy translated Het Kerstekind (1911) by Streuvels into French. Both were well-known authors at the time of the translations and for neither of them this was their first translation. It was, however, the first (and last) time they translated each other’s work.

  • 2 For a typology of literary relationships in multilingual cultures, see Meylaerts (2009).
  • 3 The terms “minority” and “majority” languages or literatures do not refer here to numeral size but (...)
  • 4 For a more elaborate overview of linguistic and literary relationships and hierarchies in Belgium d (...)
  • 5 At the tum of the century, when Melloy pursued university education, all Belgian universities were (...)
  • 6 All translations from Dutch or French into English are mine.
  • 7 For a history of the Flemish Movement, see Wils (2009).
  • 8 See Encyclopédie van de Vlaamse Beweging (1998 1800-1801).

2If simultaneous mutual literary translation is rather exceptional, it is precisely this uniqueness that might allow us to highlight some particularities of the translation process in multilingual cultures in general and to fine-tune some of Translation Studies’ key concepts in particular. Indeed, Melloy and Streuvels translated each other’s work during the 1930s in Belgium, a diglossic society where the respective source and target literatures shared the same geo-political space. Both Streuvels and Melloy were native Dutch speakers, born in the second half of the 19th century in Flanders, the north of Belgium. They both leamed French at secondary school but their literary careers followed radically different paths. Melloy became a francophone writer whereas Streuvels published in Dutch. Neither choice was evident or neutral in itself since in diglossic societies languages and literatures do not coexist as equal partners but tend to maintain hierarchical relationships2. In this case, unequal institutionalisation within a nation-state configuration made French the dominant language of administration, the legal System, education, the army, ... while Dutch, although spoken by a majority of people, was the less institutionalised minority language3. Accordingly, Francophone literature and culture were commonly perceived as more prestigious than Flemish literature and culture4. Obviously, the prospect of social upgrading was precisely the reason why both Melloy and Streuvels attended a Francophone secondary school and became bilingual. Still, whereas Melloy continued to study Romance Philology at the Francophone university of Leuven (Flanders)5 and became himself a secondary school teacher in Francophone schools in Flanders, Streuvels left school at the age of fourteen to become a baker. Thanks to his enormous success as a novelist, he was able to quit the bakery after approximately ten years. Probably, Streuvels’ less profound and less perfect bilingualism was one of the reasons of his becoming a Dutch-language novelist. His knowledge of French was however sufficient to allow him to translate French texts. For Melloy, who considered himself as “exclusively formed by French books”6 (letter to Lobet, 2/6/1935), the choice for French seemed a logical one. Language hiérarchies being what they were at the time, and the Flemish Movement7 lobbying for equal institutional and symbolic status for Dutch, Melloy’s choice for French as a literary language was not perceived as neutral. Acclaimed by his Francophone colleagues, Melloy was accused of being a traitor of the Flemish language and of Flemish literature by promoters of the Flemish Movement (see Meylaerts 1996). Streuvels’ choice of Dutch on the other hand, together with some of his political position takings8, gave him the image of promoter of the Flemish Movement.

  • 9 For more elaborate examples, see Meylaerts (2004b & 2006).

3Obviously, translation between minority and majority literatures in a diglossic society characterised by strained sociolinguistic, socio-cultural and socio-political relationships is no neutral activity either. Especially those groups within the minority culture lobbying for an equal institutional and symbolic status for their language and culture may distrust translations between the conflicting languages because they impede the minorities’ search for identity and emancipation. This was precisely how some Flemings perceived French translations of Flemish literature during the 1920s and 1930s. Selected for translation were Flemish regionalist novels, describing poor people’s life at the countryside. Both these preliminary norms and some of the operational noms (e.g. popular language registers, Flemish proper names, ...) were accused of highlighting the inferior status of Flanders and its literature by more progressive Flemish circles. They heaped criticism on the translations, also in the Francophone press9. More moderate Flemish groups, on the other hand, welcomed them as a means of attributing prestige to the minority literature.

4Translations from French into Dutch were rather exceptional since educated Flemish adults were for the greater part bilingual and able to read the French original. The existing translations, however, were perceived with a less critical eye they served the monolingual Flemish reader and helped preventing a linguistic transfer in favour of French. Translations of Francophone children’s literature into Dutch were furthermore progressively needed since in 1932 a linguistic law forbade Francophone primary and secondary schools in Flanders, a reason why even promoters of the Flemish movement might have welcomed the translations. It may be clear that translators translating between the conflicting cultures in a diglossic society risk to be torn between “source” and “target” interests. If the translators are well-known writers themselves, their double role is likely to further complicate their intercultural position.

5Against this general background, this essay will try to shed light on Melloy’s and Streuvels’ strategies, roles, positions and perceptions with respect to their simultaneous mutual literary translation.

2. Linguistic loyalty and self-translation

6Melloy started to translate in 1931, i.e. nine years after his literary debut in 1922. He only translated from Dutch, and focussed on regionalist novels by Timmermans and Streuvels. At that moment, he was already a respected poet, also in France. In 1934, while he was translating Streuvels, his album Enfants de la terre was awarded the Edgar Poe Prize. This prize, discemed by the Parisian Maison de la Poésie, celebrated a Francophone poet of non-French nationality and received quite some echoes in the Belgian press. In Dutch-Ianguage newspapers and periodicals, it gave rise to some critical notes on Melloy’s language choice but his translations, his knowledge of Flemish literature and his friendship with Flemish authors were mostly appreciated (Meylaerts 1996). In comparison to Melloy, Streuvels’ fame was far superior. He was and still is considered as one of the greatest Flemish novelists and was one of the few among his generation who could live by his pen. Before he started to translate Melloy’s Cinq Contes de Noël, Streuvels had already translated more than fifteen other works, amongst others classics by Tolstoj, Bjørnson, and Brentano but also works by Francophone Belgian writers like De Coster. Unlike Melloy, he was not criticised for his translation activities.

  • 10 On linguistic loyalty, see e.g. Grutman (2000).

7Was self-translation an option for these bilinguals? For Streuvels, translating his own works into French was probably no option and this for two reasons. First of ail, his mastery of the French language (cf. supra) was probably insufficient to enable him to translate into French. Secondly, and more importantly, writing in Dutch as a statement in favour of the Flemish linguistic and literary emancipation, Streuvels was likely to belong to those writers who considered self-translation into French as a treachery; as compromising the minority literature’s search for identity and emancipation (Meylaerts 2009). Regardless of his linguistic capacities, his linguistic loyalty10 towards the minority language was probably too strong to opt for bilingual writing and/ or self-translation. For Melloy, on the contrary, self-translation was an option. Towards the end of his career, he published children’s literature in both French and Dutch. However, since children’s literature is a more marginal genre compared to poetry, the critical reception of these self-translations is simply absent and hence did not modify his self-representation and public image as a Francophone poet.

  • 11 The use of Dutch in their correspondence is in itself symptomatic. In most other cases, letters bet (...)

8In his Dutch-language correspondence with Streuvels11, Melloy’s self-image as that of a shabby Fleming using French as a literary language points to his feelings of guilt and treachery with respect to his Flemish origin. “Now that you’ve written again an expert letter, I feel itch [sic] to answer it. (Soit dit une fois et pour toutes, you forgive me my forced turns, right?) I’m indeed just a shabby Fleming and only courageously handle the French language” (Letter from Melloy to Streuvels, 4/2/1937; my emphasis). In his album Offrande Filiale, dedicated to his mother, Melloy presented to his Francophone readers a public account of his inner conflict and guilty conscience

I procured her [my mother] Flemish books, both entertaining and edifying, of which she read a chapter each Sunday. Blushing, I gave her also mine. Once she told me “It’s a pity they are written in French I would have so much liked to understand them!” It made my heart weep for a long time. Because of her, for her I would have liked to be a Flemish writer. (Melloy 1931 43)

9In short, Melloy’s Flemish origins, early bilingualism, and feelings of guilt conceming his betrayal of the Flemish language and Flemish literature may have contributed to the self-translation of some of his children’s novels. However, as already pointed ont, he never extended this practice to the superior poetic genre.

3. Simultaneous mutual literary translation

10Does this specific multilingual configuration interfere with the way in which Streuvels and Melloy related to each other during the translation process and if so, how? What are the specificities (if any) of the translation process in a multilingual culture?

  • 12 Letter from Stijn Streuvels to Emmanuel De Bom (22/4/1927), quoted in Speliers (1994 489-490).

11Streuvels and Melloy did not consider themselves as professional translators but first and foremost as writers. Both of them believed translation was subsidiary to literary writing, a training school for developing or maintaining their literary style. “I’ve translated a selection of short stories by Timmermans in order to exercise myself’, Melloy wrote to a friend in 1940 (letter to Kervyn, 31/7/1940). Similarly, Streuvels confessed to a colleague that after the success of De teleurgang van de Waterhoek, one of his masterpieces, he would go on “translating books (language and style gymnastics) until the gentlemen [critics] cry that I’m extinguished. Then again a great work and so on”12. In other words, as far as their perception of translation as a secondary activity is concerned, they do not distinguish themselves from translators in non-multilingual cultures.

12The way in which Melloy and Streuvels related to each other as mutual authors-translators during the translation process, however, seems influenced by their self-perception and positioning within the respective source and target literary fields and within the larger diglossic society. In general, both the conflicting relationships between the translated languages and literatures sharing the same geo-political space, and the author-translators’ partially shared sociolinguistic antecedents and personal history are likely to be considered as characteristics of translation in multilingual cultures. In this case, Melloy’s feelings of guilt and treachery with respect to his Flemish origin and Streuvels’ position as the most important Flemish novelist of his generation who lobbied for the emancipation of the Flemish language and Flemish literature, seem to have influenced their respective translation processes. Contrary to what is suggested by the reference to the typical submissiveness of translators (Simeoni 1998) and the inferior position of Flemish literature with respect to Francophone literature in Belgium at that time, Streuvels’ translation strategies illustrate his perceived superiority position with respect to the author and work he was translating. Streuvels probably selected the source text Cinq contes de Noël because he loved the genre, as illustrated by the fact that Christmas stories are amongst the preferred themes in his own work. He translated Cinq contes de Noël in Dutch in 1934 without knowledge of the author. Instead, it was the publisher who informed Melloy, on which the latter contacted Streuvels to express his gratitude and admiration

Highly Honoured Master,
The president of the Publishing House Desclée De Brouwer informed me that you honour me greatly by transposing in Flemish my little work “Cinq Contes de Noël”. It makes me very happy and I thank you with all of my heart. For many years – since my student years – I’ve been a sincere admirer of your magnificent and powerful literary work, and I’m pleased to find this opportunity to express this admiration to you. (Letter from Melloy to Streuvels, 15/7/1934; my emphasis)

13The style and content of the Dutch-language letter testify to Melloy’s familiarity with Flemish literature and its major novelists and of his presumed inferiority vis-a-vis his famous Flemish translator. This auctorial inferiority position is striking and can be related to Melloy’s uneasiness conceming his own betrayal of the Flemish literature, as well as to his awareness of Streuvels’ exceptional status within the literary field. In the very same letter, Melloy proposed to retum the favour to Streuvels by translating his Kerstekind, a Christmas story of similar inspiration, into French. “l’ve had the idea at the time to translate your “Christ-Child”; if you wish, I’ll set to work on that book with great pleasure” (Letter from Melloy to Streuvels, 15/7/1934). Streuvels accepted and immediately sent a copy of the book.

14As Streuvels’ translation of Cinq Contes de Noël was more or less completed before the first contact between the two authors-translators, their correspondence does not contain any traces of Melloy intervening in the translation process. As a respectfiil pupil, he most likely simply accepted his master’s translation strategies. A similar hierarchy can be inferred from the paratext on the cover page. It is Streuvels’ name that appears at top of the cover at the exact place where the author’s name would normally figure. A much more discreet reference to Melloy – “after the French of Camille Melloy” – is placed at the very bottom of the cover. Apparently, the Flemish reader was to be attracted by Streuvels’ name and renown, suggesting that he was the author of the stories. Since Streuvels himself had been active in the same genre, some Flemish readers may have been confused about the authorship of the book.

15As a translator, Streuvels adopted the same role, taking great liberties with the source text by adding parts of sentences, whole sentences and even whole paragraphs. In the following example, the parts in bold are Streuvels’ additions

Daarna was de gravin gestorven. Rozlie vertrok met de kruik, zonder ze ooit te durven openen, want de uitspraak harer meesteres nam zij op als een bevel van God. Zij was in anderen dienst gegaan, latergetrouwd, maar haar man was een dronkaard, en daarom alleen had zij hem nooit het geheim van de kruik met de gouden penningen durven mededelen.
  Weduwe geworden had zij voort gewerkt en veelal in armoede geleefd, maar er nooit kunnen toe besluiten een van hare goudstukken uit te geven. ‘s Avonds laat soms waagde zij ’tweleens, metgeslotendeuren, en den angst op ‘t lijf, haren schat te bezichtigen het touw los te maken, de verkensblaas af te nemen, en met ontroering in ‘t hart het goud te betasten – één voor één de goudstukken te tellen in hare voorschoot. Maar de klank van goud deed haar schrikken, en alhoewel de glans van het gele metaal haar een ongekende vreugde en genot verschafte, vreesde zij dat het tinkelen der penningen haar verraden zou, en met tegenzin stopte zij haren schat weg. (Melloy 1934b 25-26)

16In line with his own style as a novelist, Streuvels also rendered proper names in their popular, dialectical version and translated standard or literary French into regional or dialectal language registers. In the above fragment, “Rozlie” and “verkensblaas” are dialect forms and “voorschoot” belongs to the regional register. In short, Streuvels’ translation accentuated the popular character and local colour of the text. His operational norms attest to a domestication of the source text and were likely to be appreciated by those Flemish readers who valued Streuvels’ original works. As already pointed out, Melloy’s feelings of guilt with respect to Flemish literature, together with his awareness of Streuvels’ exceptional status within it, may have contributed to his humble acceptance of the translator’s strategies.

17Melloy himself translated Streuvels’ Kerstekind in French, a similar work for a similar reading public in the very same year 1934. Melloy’s unusually submissive attitude towards his translater (Streuvels) is supplanted by the typical author-translator relationship. As a translator, Melloy submits himself to the author Streuvels. Put differently, both in his role as author and as translator, Melloy takes up a position of inferiority with respect to Streuvels. More in particular, and typical of translation in multilingual cultures (Meylaerts 2004b), Streuvels co-authors the translation process, rendering the distinction between author and translator, between original and translation somehow ambiguous. Both are in close contact with each other during the translation and confer with each other on the selection of the work to translate, they consider various publishing possibilities and conditions, they discuss and share honoraries, etc.

My translation of your Kerstekind has been ready for a month. I’ll add the finishing touch (or rather brush it up) as soon as there is question of publication, the work will probably not be suitable as an album for children; but I’ll insist at Desclée to publish it in another series. If he doesn’t want to, we’ll try elsewhere. Maybe I will first submit it to a periodical e.g. in the Revue Générale (then I would brotherly share with you the honorary).
M. Steinmetz (representative of Desclée) will visit me next week, to talk about other things. I’ll also discuss with him the question of your Kerstekind, and keep you posted about our negotiations. (letter from Melloy to Streuvels, 27/9/1934; emphasis in original)

18In addition, Melloy obtains Streuvels’ advice for the translation of specific regional terms, so characteristic of Streuvels’ style.

[...] first I absolutely wanted to finish your “Kerstekind”; l’ve written the last word yesterday and reached the end, and it will leave for Bruges [the publisher] tomorrow. However, there are a few words that, even with De Bo’s dictionary next to me, cause difficulties for the translation. Lukke l’ve translated by galette
Kwanteknuisten by beignets (?) [sic] but I think that it is in fact what they call in our place kneutels i.e. in boiling water – not in oil – boiled and then fried in a pan lumps of pastry with currents. Isn’t it?
Volaards by brioche, although the shape of a brioche is not the same as that of the volaard; but I think that it is the best French word for it. Muffig à l’odeur fade, malodorant.
Rommelpot I insert in the text, in italics, with a footnote to explain the word. The French word pot bourdonnant is idiot and doesn’t render the same signification.
  When it suits you, you give me your opinion on this it can always be modified on the proofs. (Letter from Melloy to Streuvels, January, lst, 1935; emphasis in original)

19Streuvels readily takes on his role as a co-translator or partial auto-translator. He procures explanations on the proposed translations and suggests a strategy for the problem of regional and dialect registers in line with his own translational norms and auctorial style

I’m curious to see what the Kerstekind will become – I do hope that it will tum out good. You can find the demanded explanation in annex – these are little details without importance. I think untranslatable words should stay in the original form, with if necessary explanation of the matter. (Streuvels to Melloy, 8 January 1935; emphasis in original)

20In the final version, “rommelpot” is indeed maintained in the text and explained by a footnote, “volaards” has become “flans” and “galettes” has been replaced by “gaufres”, probably following the author’s suggestions. The order of the enumeration has changed into two series, one for the food and another for the toys.

  • 13 For the analysis of the translation, we took the 1920 édition of H et Kerstekind, which is probably (...)

Want elk was bezig aan ‘t uiteendoen ‘t geen ze krijgen zouden met Kerstdag volaards, suikerbrooden, wafels, lukken, speeldingen, kwanteknuisten, gouden sterren en kerstboomen met lanteerntjes en roode lichtjes... (Streuvels 1920 26)13
Car chacune de leurs compagnes était en train d’expliquer ce qu ’elle recevrait à Noël flans, crêpes, brioches, beignets, gaufres, Jouets, étoiles d’or et arbres de Noël avec lampions et lumières rouges. (Streuvels 1935 22)

21On the whole, Streuvels seemed very satisfied with Melloy’s translation, except for the style of the opening sentence, which in the first draft did not render the element of surprise related to the snow-white world present in the original. From the point of view of his auctorial poetics, the opening was of special importance to him. Streuvels, however, admits not knowing himself how to correct the translation, leaving the initiative in the hands of his translater. This may testify to his lack of expertise in French and of his trust in Melloy’s linguistic and literary competence

This morning I returned to you the translation of Kerstekind; – I find it excellent, except for the first sentence, that I don’t know how to correct, but that nevertheless doesn’t render the original text – it lacks that is the surprise (sic) of the world that has become white at the brightening of the day.
To the first sentence of a piece of prose I always attach a lot of importance – it is something like the clef in front of a piece of music – it sets the tone, and all the rest has – in terms of style – to be consistent with the beginning of this first sentence.
Do with it what you can. (Streuvels to Melloy, 20/7/1935; my emphasis)

22Melloy, as a good pupil, tries to live up to the expectations of the author and proposes a freer translation

I send you for insight page 1 of L’Enfant de Noël, with the modification of the first sentence. In order to better bring out your view, I preferred to try out a freer translation. If it is not good [s/c], please inform me as soon as possible, because the 2nd and last proof lies waiting here with me. If it’s good, not necessary to inform me. (Melloy to Streuvels 22/7/1935; emphasis in original)

23This was eventually the version that satisfied Streuvels, accentuating the surprise of the snow-white world also in French.

Al op eenen nacht lag de wereld witgesneeuwd.
Bij het aanbreken van den morgen waren de landen toegedekt, zoodat nergens een looverken groen, of een tikkelingsken kleur meer te zien en was – zoover oogen dragen konden, was het al één witte evenheid.(Streuvels 19201)
En une seule nuit, l’enchantement s’était accompli, et le monde apparaissait blanc de neige. À l’aube les champs étaient déjà à ce point recouverts que nulle part ne se montrait plus un brin de verdure ou une moucheture de couleur. À perte de vue s’étendait l’uniformité blanche. (Streuvels 19351)

24Up to a certain point, the translation process thus becomes a common, shared enterprise in which the roles of author and translater partially overlap. Their common origins and comparable linguistic knowledge, together with the translator’s feelings of guilt with respect to the source culture and his profound admiration for one of the monuments of Flemish literature may have played a rôle in this.

25The overall operational norms that characterize L’Enfant de Noël are normalisation of syntax according to French syntactical norms; standardisation of language through the use of standard expressions or clichés instead of neologisms and through the use of standard or even literary French instead of regional or dialectical registers; replacement of Flemish dialectal proper names by standard French proper names. Melloy thus downplayed the picturesque character and the local flavour of the Flemish text. His translation is a more literary version, deviating from the contemporary translation norms (see above and Meylaerts 2004a). However, precisely this less popular, more literary style was highly appreciated by Streuvels. Indeed, in general, Flemish authors were opposed to popular (izing) French translations since they would only accentuate their position of inferiority in the eyes of the Francophone target reader (Meylaerts 2004a & 2008).

4. Conclusion

26In diglossic societies, author and translater often share their linguistic and cultural origin. Being both bilingual, their choice of a literary language, their willingness to self-translation and/or to translate into the “other” language is determined not only by sheer linguistic knowledge but also by linguistic and cultural loyalty. The hierarchical, often strained relationships between the translated languages and literatures sharing the same geographical and institutional context may push linguistic loyalty and the quest for minorities’ emancipation to the point where self-translation and/or writing in the majority language is not an option anymore. Those who do self-translate and/or write in the majority language are often criticised by emancipatory groups within the minority culture. This may partly explain these authors’ submissiveness to the translater who translates their majority language works into the minority language, especially when this translater is him/herself a renowned minority language author. On the contrary, when roles are switched and a renowned minority language author is translated in the majority language by a majority language author-translator originating from the minority culture, the author is likely to intervene during the translation process. The acceptability and degree of his intervention during the translation process do not depend on his/ her linguistic competence in the first place but on the complex relationships between languages and literatures, authors and translators in diglossic societies, making the binary distinctions between source and target text and literature, between author and translater ambiguous.

Bibliographie

Bibliography

Correspondence Camille Melloy – Marcel Lobet, 1932-1941, Conserved in Archives et Musée de la Littérature, Brussels (ML3168).

Correspondence Camille Melloy – Roger Kervyn de Marcke ten Driessche, 1932-1941, Conserved in Archives et Musée de la Littérature, Brussels (ML3577).

Correspondence Camille Melloy – Stijn Streuvels, 1934-1941, Conserved in Archief en Museum voor het Vlaams Cultuurleven, Antwerp (S935).

Nieuwe Encyclopedie van de Vlaamse Beweging, Tielt, Lannoo, 1998.

Bourdieu Pierre, Ce que parler veut dire l’économie des échanges linguistiques, Paris, Fayard, 1982.

Grutman Rainier, « Écriture bilingue et loyauté linguistique », Francophonies d’Amérique, 2000, 10, p. 137-147.

Melloy Camille, L’Offrande filiale, Paris, Bloud & Gay, 1931.

– , Cinq Contes de Noël, Paris, Desclée de Brouwer, 1934a.

– , Vijf Kerstvertellingen, Brugge, Desclée de Brouwer, 1934b.

Meylaerts Reine, « ‘De taal is gansch het volk’ Vlaamse literatuur en haar Franstalige promotoren tijdens het interbellum in België », Neerlandica extra muros, 1996, 34, p. 13-27.

– , L’Aventure flamande de la Revue Belge langues, littératures et cultures dans l’entre-deux-guerres, Bruxelles, P. I. E.-Peter Lang – Archives et Musée de la Littérature, 2004a.

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– , « Conceptualising the Translator as an Historical Subject in Multilingual Environments A Challenge for Descriptive Translation Studies? », in G. Bastin & P. Bandia (eds), Translation and the Future of History, Ottawa, Presses de l’Université, 2006, p. 59-79.

– , « Translatons and (their) norms towards a Sociological construction of the Individual » in Miriam Shlesinger, Daniel Simeoni & Anthony Pym (eds), Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies. Investigations in homage to Gideon Toury, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins, 2008, p. 91-102.

– , « Les relations littéraires au-delà des oppositions binaires national et international, traduit et non traduit », TTR, 2009, 222, p. 93-117.

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Speliers Hedwig, Dag Streuvels Ik ken den weg alleen, Leuven, Kritak, 1994.

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– , L’Enfant de Noël, Paris, Desclée De Brouwer, 1935.

Wils Lode, Van de Belgische naar de Vlaamse natie een geschiedenis van de Vlaamse beweging, Leuven, Acco, 2009.

Notes

1 Although the authors classified the Works as children’s novels, the translations belonged to the adult literature (see also below).

2 For a typology of literary relationships in multilingual cultures, see Meylaerts (2009).

3 The terms “minority” and “majority” languages or literatures do not refer here to numeral size but to power, to status as a result of institutionalisation. On linguistic power mechanisms see e.g. Bourdieu (1982).

4 For a more elaborate overview of linguistic and literary relationships and hierarchies in Belgium during the interwar period, see Meylaerts (2004a & b).

5 At the tum of the century, when Melloy pursued university education, all Belgian universities were Francophone. In 1930, Ghent University became the first Dutch-language university.

6 All translations from Dutch or French into English are mine.

7 For a history of the Flemish Movement, see Wils (2009).

8 See Encyclopédie van de Vlaamse Beweging (1998 1800-1801).

9 For more elaborate examples, see Meylaerts (2004b & 2006).

10 On linguistic loyalty, see e.g. Grutman (2000).

11 The use of Dutch in their correspondence is in itself symptomatic. In most other cases, letters between a Flemish author and his translator in French are written in French (see e.g. Meylaerts 2004a).

12 Letter from Stijn Streuvels to Emmanuel De Bom (22/4/1927), quoted in Speliers (1994 489-490).

13 For the analysis of the translation, we took the 1920 édition of H et Kerstekind, which is probably the one Melloy used.

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