‘Unexpectedly Moving’? An Inquiry into the Intermedial and International Trajectory of a Flemish Novel

unnamed Doing Double Dutch is the beautiful title of a freshly published volume, edited by Elke Brems, Orsolya Réthelyi and Ton van Kalmthout, about the international circulation of literature from the Low Countries.

It contains, in addition to theoretical and methodological chapters and among various case studies, a chapter on the intermedial and international trajectory of the Flemish novel The Misfortunates by Dimitri Verhulst, written by my colleagues Elke Brems, Stéphanie Vanasten and myself.

reetveerdegemIt is an attempt to explain what is so surprising about the international success of the novel by Verhulst and its screen adaptation by Felix van Groeningen. For that, we even had to explain the meaning of the so-called ‘anal triangle’, the geographical area between the Flemish municipalities Reet, Aartselaar and Kontich, to an international scholarly audience.

Below you can watch an interview by Jack Mc Martin with Dutch Studies scholar Marc van Oostendorp about the importance of the presented research.

Here and on the publisher’s website you can find more information about Doing Double Dutch:

“The importance of a minor language in the field of world literature
Dutch literature is increasingly understood as a network of texts and poetics connected to other languages and literatures through translations and adaptations. In this book, a team of international researchers explores how Dutch literary texts cross linguistic, historical, geophysical, political, religious, and disciplinary borders, and reflects on a wide range of methods for studying these myriad border crossings. As a result, this volume provides insight into the international dissemination of Dutch literature and the position of a smaller, less-translated language within the field of world literature.

The title Doing Double Dutch evokes a popular rope-skipping game in which two people turn two long jump ropes in opposite directions while a third person jumps them. A fitting metaphor for how literature circulates internationally: two dynamic spheres, the source culture and the target culture, engage one another in a complex pattern of movement resulting in a new literary work, translation, or adaptation formed somewhere in the middle.”

Contributors: Chiara Beltrami Gottmer (American International School of Rotterdam), Peter Boot (Huygens ING), Pieter Boulogne (KU Leuven), Elke Brems (KU Leuven), Michel De Dobbeleer (University of Ghent), Caroline de Westenholz (Louis Couperus Museum), Gillis Dorleijn (University of Groningen), Wilken Engelbrecht (Palacký University Olomouc), Veerle Fraeters (University of Antwerp), Maud Gonne (KU Leuven), Christine Hermann (University of Vienna), Peter Kegel (Huygens ING), Tessa Lobbes (Utrecht University), Marijke Meijer Drees (University of Groningen), Reine Meylaerts (KU Leuven), Marco Prandoni (University of Bologna), Marion Prinse (Utrecht University), Orsolya Réthelyi (Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Huygens ING), Diana Sanz Roig (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Rita Schlusemann (Utrecht University), Matthieu Sergier (Université Saint Louis Brussels), Natalia Stachura (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan), Janek Urbaniak (University of Wrocław), Stéphanie Vanasten (UCL Louvain-la-Neuve), Ton van Kalmthout (Huygens ING), Suzanne van Putten-Brons, Herbert Van Uffelen (University of Vienna), Marc van Zoggel (Huygens ING), Nico Wilterdink (University of Amsterdam).

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