Four translators on Huizinga’s language

Conference Huizinga today

15-17 May 2019

This year we will celebrate the centenary anniversary of one of the twentieth century’s greatest scholarly works: Johan Huizinga’s The Autumn of the Middle Ages. On occasion of this anniversary, IFK Kunstuniversität Linz organises a three-day conference on the significance of Huizinga’s work today. At the initiative of the Dutch Foundation for Literature, four Huizinga translators will discuss the peculiarities of Huizinga’s language during a conference discussion.

Translators Adam Bžoch, Franco Paris, Diane Webb and Annette Wunschel will talk about translating Huizinga's The Autumn of the Middle Ages, the panel discussion will be moderated by Anton van der Lem.

  • Adam Bžoch translated Patriotisme en nationalisme in de Europeesche geschiedenis tot het einde der 19e eeuw (Patriotism and nationalism in European history until the end of the 19th century), Nederland’s beschaving in de zeventiende eeuw (Dutch civilization in the 17th century) and Cultuurhistorische verkenningen (Cultural-historical explorations) into Slovak.

  • Franco Paris translated Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen (The Autumn of the Middle Ages) into Italian.

  • Diane Webb is currently translating Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen (The Autumn of the Middle Ages) into English, due for publication in 2020.

  • Annette Wunschel translated Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen (The Autumn of the Middle Ages), Briefwisseling I & II (Letters I & II), Amerika levend en denkend (Thinking and living America), In de schaduwen van morgen / Geschonden wereld (In the shadows of tomorrow / Violated world) and is currently translating Homo Ludens, Erasmus and Leven en werk van Jan Veth (Life and Work of Jan Veth), all due for publication in 2019 of 2020. In 2016, Wunschel received the Else Otten Übersetzerpreis for her Huizinga translations.

Johan Huizinga

Johan Huizinga (1872-1945) was Professor of General and Dutch History in Groningen (1905-1915) and Professor of General History at Leiden (1915-41). In addition, he was appointed editor of the literary journal De Gids and chairman of the Division of Letters of the Royal Dutch Academy of the Sciences. He was the founder of Dutch-language cultural history and was also a cultural philosopher and anthropologist. His most important works are The Autumn of the Middle Ages (1919), Erasmus (1924), In the Shadows of Tomorrow (1935) and Homo Ludens (1938). In 1942, he spent several months in the hostage camp Sint Michielsgestel, after which he was not allowed to return to Leiden. He died in exile in De Steeg on 1 February 1945.

Overseeing this oeuvre one could use the same qualification as Huizinga once used to describe the work of Aby Warburg: it is one great laboratory for the study of culture. Today, with new translations of many of his works coming out in German, English or Italian, and new editions of his works in the original language, it is time to revisit this laboratory. This conference aims to reassess the relevance of Huizinga’s work for the study of culture.

More information about the conference (in German) can be found in this pdf.