The Byron Journal

The Taming of Byron in the Netherlands

The Byron Journal (2013), 41, (1), 35–48.


The first Byron translation in the Netherlands dates from 1819. A decade later a true Byron-mania breaks out, which yields quite a number of translations. Even so Byron rather upset the Dutch, who regarded him as an exemplar of moral decay. The translations display a far milder, more Christian Byron than he really was. Three distinct perspectives help us find out in what precise manner his Dutch translators managed to temper Byron. An inspection of what was not translated points towards what exceeded the Dutch standards. An analysis of the prefaces to the various translations indicates in what directions translators felt a need for (sometimes remarkably far-reaching) adaptation. Finally, there are the adaptations themselves, which show what passages were softened or even emasculated. Byron translated into Dutch was a Byron tamed.

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Author details

Mathijsen, Marita