Literary translation from Flemish into German during the Nazi regime

Ine Van linthout


During the Nazi regime and, more specifically, the Second World War, literary translation was eyed with suspicion by the controlling instances as it inevitably involved the import of foreign thought as well as economic exchange with foreign states. Against this backdrop, Flanders represents an interesting case. On the one hand, since it was considered a ‘kindred’ source-language nation, the translation of Flemish literature into German was encouraged within the constraints of the totalitarian system. On the other hand, persisting literary traditions, the private market logic, the agency of mediators, and the prevailing Catholic tone and idyllic nature of much Flemish literature caused significant disparities between translation policy and practice. Starting from the publishing figures of translated Flemish literature in Nazi Germany and their evolution during the twelve-year period, this article confronts official attitudes and discourses regarding Flemish translated fiction with the actual situation within the translated fiction market.


Translation; vertaling; Flemish literature; Vlaamse literatuur; Nazi Germany; nazi-Duitsland; Second World War; Tweede Wereldoorlog; censorship; censuur; propaganda

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