Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Villette in Germany – Part two

After the two translations of Villette published in Berlin and Stuttgart in 1853, described earlier, it took until 1971 before a new translation, by Christiane Agricola, was published in Germany. So far it has reached 14 editions, the last one having been published in 2015. The two other translations in German were Swiss. Agricola (1927-2009), was from Leipzig, in (the former state of) East Germany. She also translated Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, and Welsh and Scottish folk tales (even from Welsh apparently!).  

The first edition (686 pp.) was published by List from Leipzig. It had an afterword by Helmut Findeisen (from Dresden probably). One suspects that was a marxist interpretation of the novel. No doubt it is a good translation. It is nr. 8 on the list of longest running translations, with a fine 44 years between the first and (so far) last edition, making her the top scorer for the German language.

Cover of the 1971 Leipzig Villette

It was republished the next year by the same publisher, List, but this time in Munich, in West Germany. As it had only 657 pages, with no mention of an afterword, it must be that it was dropped.

Cover of the 1972 Munich Villette

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Villette and The Professor in German and French. Part one - Switzerland


The story of Villette in Switzerland begins in April 1856, with an ad for La Maitresse d'Anglais, the Belgian-French (abridged) translation published in 1855. It’s just an internet find but it helps to give an idea about how the novel spread around Europe. In this case to the French speaking part of Switzerland.

Head of the Feuille d’avis de Neuchatel
 of 19 April 1856

Part of page 2 of the Feuille d’avis
de Neuchatel of 19 April 1856

The German speaking part of the country will have learnt about the novel earlier, in view of the 1853 German translations. The first new German translation of Villette came in 1947. It was published in
Zürich, Switzerland, by Manesse (584 pp.). As far as is known this is the oldest illustrated Villette cover of a translation. It took until 1971 before Germany had its first new translation. Switzerland also has French translations, and it’s even got a Swiss-Italian Jane Eyre.

Monday, 19 September 2016

'The Professor' in Russian and Ukrainian

The first Russian translation of The Professor was published in 1857, in the journal Otechestvennye zapisky (Notes of the Fatherland) nr. 115, pp. 107-202 and 621-730. The second translation was first published in 1997 by Mir I Semya (382 pp.).  There have been more translators but the title is always the same: Учитель (Utchitel, The teacher). This translation was done by Natalia Fleishman, who also did the annotations. An afterword was written by Yekaterina Teplova. The book has illustrations by Ljudmila Sergeeva.

Cover of the 1997 Russian
The Professor

The second and third editions of the Fleishman translation were published in 2006 by Tekst from Moscow (284 pp.).

Cover of the first 2006 Russian
The Professor

Cover of the second 2006 Russian
The Professor

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Looking for Jane Eyre’s mad woman in the attic: A visit to Norton Conyers in North Yorkshire - Part II

Lady Graham showed us pictures of the staircase and of Mad Mary’s Room (as the attic room is called), which is situated in a remote corner of the attic. The attic is not open to the public because of the fragility of the structure, and the staircase (which is sadly too dangerous for the public to use) can only be seen from the landing on the first floor. Lady Graham told us that they  plan to restore the staircase and attic rooms in time, but at the same time respecting and keeping the specific atmosphere of the Mad Woman’s room (supposedly quite a depressing  and sad room): “this room is in a cul-de sac in the attic, very awkward to reach, the room is north-facing with a small gable window, it has a tragic feel about it”.

After this introduction we were allowed to wander around in the house and visit the rooms opened to the public. Sir James and Lady Graham stuck around and were very willing to answer any questions. I told Lady Graham of my interest in the link of Norton Conyers with Charlotte Brontë and she showed me the library which had been restored and re-furnished with items that Charlotte would have seen when visiting. She pointed out a few of these items (such as a pair of globes, a cabinet piano in the window-bay, painting equipment, the bookcases – most of which are locked apart from one triangular bookcase in a corner which contains “everything that could be needed in the way of elementary works” as described in Jane Eyre). The room was re-furnished in accordance with the description of Mr. Rochester’s study, which was used in the novel by Jane Eyre as a classroom for Mr. Rochester’s ward Adele Varens.
The Library

Apart from the Library the rooms open to the public are: the Dining Room, the Hall (where we started the tour), the Parlour (all on the ground floor), the main oak staircase, and on the first floor: the landing (with the “secret” door), the Passage, the Best Bedroom (with a reproduction of a unique wallpaper design found in an attic cupboard) and King James’s Room (where King James II and his wife stayed during their visit in 1679- still displaying the traditional bed they are supposed to have used). Throughout the house, in all rooms open to the public, you can see a beautiful collection of family portraits and other paintings related to the house and its inhabitants, magnificent old furniture, beautiful 18th century plaster ceilings and many other valuable treasures and fine art work.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Looking for Jane Eyre’s mad woman in the attic: A visit to Norton Conyers in North Yorkshire - Part I

On our way back from the holidays in Ireland we always spend a few days in the UK, usually in Yorkshire, as this is a region we really love. This year the destination was the area around Ripon, and we had a very specific goal set from the start: a visit to Norton Conyers.

Photo © Norton Conyers 
We were staying in The Old Coach House in North Stainley (near Ripon), a lovely B&B and  a real oasis of peace and tranquility (and a pub and restaurant nearby!).

I had done my research in advance and I knew the house was only open to the public on select days and times, but we were lucky: the house was open for visitors in the period that we were staying in the area (27 to 31 July 2016), only in the afternoon with guided tours at 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm.
The estate is well hidden amidst trees and parkland, and it took us a while to find the entrance. We had to park the car near the stables and the walled garden, and then a short walk  towards the House. We had to register for the group visit in a little “shed” next to the house and await the guide’s arrival. We received a brochure about the house and its history, written by the present owner, the 11th baronet, Sir James Graham, which made a very interesting read. This was a good introduction to the guided tour we were about to receive.

The side and front of the house

Detail above the front door

The front door

 Norton Conyers is a late medieval stately manor house, a pleasing mix of historic styles,  with Stuart and Georgian additions.  It has been owned by the Graham family (originally from Scottish origin) since 1624 (except for a period of 20 years between 1862 and 1882).  The house is steeped in history and has welcomed a number of noteworthy  guests such as King James II, King Charles I and of course Charlotte Brontë.