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Bloomsbury in Berlin: Vita Sackville-West’s 'Seducers in Ecuador' on the German literary marketplace

Martin, A. (2018) Bloomsbury in Berlin: Vita Sackville-West’s 'Seducers in Ecuador' on the German literary marketplace. Modernist Cultures, 13 (1). pp. 77-95. ISSN 2041-1022

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3366/mod.2018.0195

Abstract/Summary

Vita Sackville-West, famed as Virginia Woolf’s muse, as a horticultural journalist and as the creator of Sissinghurst’s gardens, has hitherto been considered largely peripheral to Bloomsbury modernism. Yet during her lifetime, her works were translated energetically into German and she received widespread recognition in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as a leading figure on the European interwar and post-war literary scene. This essay analyses how Sackville-West’s short story, Seducers in Ecuador (Hogarth Press, 1924), made its 1929 debut in Germany as ‘Verführer in Ecuador’ in the journal Die neue Rundschau [The New Review]. This offers an interesting case study not only of how a work could change its medium through translation – here from a free-standing novella to a short story in a literary journal – but also change its context through the new set of juxtapositions and cultural associations it acquired by being absorbed into German periodical culture. The function of small magazines in promoting new ideas or forms of art has been well researched in the context of British modernist writing: but little attention has been paid to the reception of translations of such work in European journals. Yet they often functioned as important promotional conduits and were influential in shaping how authors gained footholds in foreign markets. Given that Die neue Rundschau aligned Sackville-West’s prose alongside that of Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse, it explicitly positioned her within a European corpus of avant-garde literary production.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies > German
ID Code:71832
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press

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