Before the ‘Nooteboom Effect’ - Dutch Literature at the Suhrkamp Publishing House (Vóór het Nooteboom-effect. Nederlandse literatuur in de uitgeverij Suhrkamp)

Pawel Zajas


The present article analyses factors related to the functioning of the publishing field, which have contributed to the relatively important place of Dutch literature on the German book market. The reconstruction of decision-making with regard to translations of Dutch literature spans a period from the early 1960s until 1993, when the Netherlands and Flanders were the guests of honour at the International Book Fair in Frankfurt am Main. The data for the study have been drawn from the publishing archives of the Suhrkamp Verlag, which were purchased by the German Literature Archive (Deutsches Literaturarchiv) in Marbach am Neckar. The Suhrkamp archive data provide an insight into the manufacture of the translation of Dutch literature and, in a broader methodological perspective, offer a unique laboratory environment perfectly suited for the study of the microsociology of literary transfer. In this environment, it is possible to reconstruct the selection, review and acceptance/rejection processes that have taken place within a relatively small team. Moreover, marketing strategies for aesthetic commodities may also be analysed.


Sociology of Literary Translation; Publishing Field; German Book Market; sociologie van literaire vertalingen; productie van literatuur; de Duitse boekenmarkt; Suhrkamp Verlag; het literaire veld

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