Amélie Nothomb in German Translation – Facets of Francophonie and cultural transfer

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Literary translations often seem to reflect an incomplete or distorted notion of the culture a source text is based on. In this context, national stereotypes play an important role and a literary text can be reinterpreted in several ways depending on certain cultural images. Especially, the translation of Francophone Belgian literature requires an exact knowledge of the complex social, political and cultural structures in multilingual Belgium. However, it is likely that this transfer to other cultures is often done using more simplistic national images.
Since the 1990s, the Belgian writer Amélie Nothomb has occupied a prominent position in the literature institutionally dominated by Paris and has also enjoyed a positive reception in Germany. Using imagology, this case study ‒ based on three German translations of novels from 1993, 2002 and 2017 ‒ analyzes to what extent the Belgian author's work is subject to stereotypical views in the target culture. Using Belgium as an example, the study shows the influence of translation strategies on cultural transfer from multilingual societies.
Translated title of the contributionAmélie Nothomb in German Translation – Facets of Francophonie and cultural transfer
Original languageFrench
Title of host publicationVous avez dit littérature belge francophone?
Subtitle of host publicationLe défi de la traduction
EditorsCatherine Gravet, Katrien Lievois
Place of PublicationBruxelles
PublisherPeter Lang 
ChapterTraduction & Réfraction
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)978-2-8076-1649-3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameLiminaires - Passages interculturels
PublisherPeter Lang

Bibliographical note

„Amélie Nothomb en traduction allemande – Facettes de la francophonie et transfert culturel“, in: Catherine Gravet & Katrien Lievois (ed.), Vous avez dit littérature belge francophone ? Le défi de la traduction, Bruxelles, Peter Lang, 2021, p. 329-356


  • Francophone literature, small literatures, translation strategy, imagology, cultural transfer


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