M2: Unit 2: Chapter 9 – Q9.1 Answer

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It helps in several ways.

We can understand Siebenhaar’s concern with Drystubble’s self-presentation. His smugness and sense of superiority, and the way he makes a caricature of himself in the reader’s eyes, are important to a translator who sees the novel as satire. Hence Siebenhaar attends to the accumulation of detail that allows the reader to piece together a picture of Drystubble.

Language matters in this respect. Drystubble is alive to the way language marks and maintains social differentiation, and the instances where this occurs are all rendered in Siebenhaar’s version – in contrast with Nahuijs 1868. Drystubble’s absurd stinginess extends to his use of language: he will not waste unnecessary letters (space, ink, breath), so in sentences <19> and <20>, the color/colour case, Siebenhaar finds a solution that adds another brushstroke to Drystubble’s character. Nahuijs omitted this.

Setting is also important to Siebenhaar, as this is a satire on the Dutch bourgeoisie. Siebenhaar’s version is more emphatically located in Holland than Nahuijs 1868, and forms of address like ‘Juffrouw’ add local colour. We can now also appreciate the tension within Siebenhaar’s strategy: the local setting would suggest keeping the protagonist’s original name intact as ‘Droogstoppel’ (as we know from Edwards 1967), but Siebenhaar clearly preferred to make the name transparent in English (hence ‘Drystubble’), to add to the satire.