2004
Volume 57, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729

Abstract

Abstract

The communist poet Marc Braet (1925-1923) has been a major mediator between the East and the West during the postwar period, especially between the German Democratic Republic and Belgium. In the first place, I investigate how different forms of cultural transfer from the GDR to Belgium came about, and which role Braet played in them, particularly with regard to an anthology of GDR poets, De groene bomen (1971, [The Green Trees]). Secondly, I present a case that in agreement with the histoire croisée sheds light on the transfer in the opposite direction, an anthology with German translations of Braet’s poems. The translation by Hans Joachim Schädlich came out as Mein endlos beflaggtes Schiff, a publication by Volk und Welt that kept dragging on from 1975 until 1981. A reconstruction of the whole publication process based on research of the records gives an impression of the way in which the network of translators, proof readers and officials worked. Finally, I compare this publication with a Russian anthology of poems by Braet in order to highlight the transnational dimension of the cultural transfer and the important role the German language played in this process. On the one hand the different cases show how literature was ideologically instrumentalized, and on the other hand the case of Braet illustrates how a steered reception can have unexpected consequences, such as a very early and remarkably profetical selection of valuable GDR poetry in translation.

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