The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0817  Wednesday, 20 September 2006

From: 		H.J. Helmers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 19 Sep 2006 15:44:21 +0200
Subject: Shakespeare Outside of England/English
Comment: 	SHK 17.0798 Shakespeare Outside of England/English

Indeed, the question is an old one, but it has been largely ignored by 
modern scholars. Though performances by English strolling players, which 
toured the continent regularly from 1585 onwards, inspired several Dutch 
and German adaptations in the early seventeenth century - the most 
famous example being Jan Vos's Dutch incredibly popular adaptation of 
Titus Andronicus (w. 1638, p. 1642) - the first Shakespeare translation 
proper was written by the Dutch actor Abraham Sybant, who translated The 
Taming of the Shrew for performance on the Amsterdam Theatre. His Dolle 
Bruyloft (Mad Wedding) was published in 1654. In contrast, the first 
translation of Shakespeare's poetry was written as early as 1621 Dutch 
version Venus and Adonis, perhaps reflecting the fact that the plays 
were for a long time not considered to be worth the effort.  For more 
information on the subject of strolling players and early Shakespeare 
translations, see for example Anston Bosman's wonderful 'Renaissance 
Intertheatre and the Staging of Nobody' ELH 71:3 (2004), 559-585; Annie 
van Nassau-Sarolea, 'Abraham Sybant: strolling player and first 
Shakespeare translator'.  Theatre Research 13 (1974), 38-59 and Ton 
Hoenselaars (ed.), Shakespeare and the Language of Translation (London, 
Thomson Learning, 2004). A very useful starting point on the internet is 
http://pages.unibas.ch/shine/, a website devoted to Shakespeare in 
translation. I am currently preparing a dissertation on the Dutch 
reception of English drama in the seventeenth century, which will, 
however, take at least another four years to complete.

Helmer Helmers
Leiden University
The Netherlands

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