Eva - A Novel by Carry van Bruggen
Translated and with a Commentary by Jane Fenoulhet
Carry van Bruggen and translated with commentary by Jane Fenoulhet
Eva, a 1927 novel by Dutch writer Carry van Bruggen, is an experiment in depicting a woman’s life from girlhood to marriage, and beyond, to sexual freedom and independence. At the same time, the narrative expresses Eva’s dawning sense of self and expanding subjectivity through a stream of consciousness told by a shifting narrator. Burdened all of her life by feelings of shame, at the end of the novel Eva overcomes this legacy of her upbringing and declares that it is ‘bodily desire that makes love acceptable’.
Carry van Bruggen’s rich and varied language conveys Eva’s experience of the world. Powerful memories of an orthodox Jewish childhood pervade the novel with its fluid sense of time. As Eva puts it, ‘I let these years slip through my fingers like a stream of dry, glinting sand.’
Jane Fenoulhet makes this important modernist novel accessible to English readers for the first time. While it can be described as a becoming-woman of both Eva and her creator, so can the translation be seen as the translator’s own becoming, as Fenoulhet explains in the accompanying commentary, where she also describes the challenges of translating van Bruggen’s dynamic, intense narrative. For Fenoulhet, translation is more a matter of personal engagement with the novel than a matter of word choice and style. In this way, the emotional and intellectual life of the main character is re-enacted through translation.
Carry van Bruggen (1881-1932) was a Dutch philosopher, novelist and journalist. She grew up in a poor Jewish community outside Amsterdam and made her name as an intellectual and writer. She is best known for her fiction, which ranges from readable novels of everyday life to experimental modernist depictions of women's lives.
Jane Fenoulhet is Emerita Professor of Dutch Studies at UCL where she taught and researched across the fields of Dutch literature, translation studies and gender studies. She draws on philosophy to unite these interdisciplinary strands and is currently working on the subjectivity of translators. Her books include Making the Personal Political: Dutch Women Writers 1919-1970 (2007) which has a chapter on Carry van Bruggen, and Nomadic Literature: Cees Nooteboom and his Writing (2013).
‘Becoming Eva. On translating as a woman.’
Eva by Carry van Bruggen
1. The New Century
5. May Day
6. The Night
8. By the Sea
Format: Open Access PDF
all b/w Illustrations
Copyright: © 2019
Publication: November 01, 2019