The Transnational Rebirth of a Dutch Classic: J.M. Coetzee’s Translation of Marcellus Emants’ Een nagelaten bekentenis

Tom Toremans


The present article sketches the genesis and (para)textual substance of J.M. Coetzee’s A Posthumous Confession, his 1975 translation of Marcellus Emants' novel Een nagelaten bekentenis (1894). Coetzee not only translated but also to an important degree remoulded, as it were, Een nagelaten bekentenis into an artefact commensurate with a transnational literary canon and an international book market. After a brief excursion on the translation’s publication history and the concrete circumstances of its genesis, we will turn to the textual and paratextual aspects that have shaped its afterlife. My objective in this contribution is twofold: while sketching the concrete circumstances of the transnational afterlife of Emants’ novel, I also aims to provide the basis for further research on Coetzee’s work as author-translator.


J.M. Coetzee; Marcellus Emants; Een nagelaten bekentenis; A Posthumous Confession; Translation

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