Max Havelaar van Multatuli in Rusland; het ontstaan van de vertalingen

Translated title of the contribution: Max Havelaar by Multatuli in Russia: The origins of translation

Jaap Grave, Ekaterina Vekshina

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article is dedicated to the Russian translations of the Dutch novel Max Havelaar or the coffee auctions of the Nederlandsche Handelmaatschappy (1860) by Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820–1887), who published his work under the pseudonym Multatuli. Max Havelaar is one of the best known and most translated works of Dutch literature. There are six complete Russian translations published between 1916 and 1959, which have not yet been analyzed. The authors hypothesize that German is the intermediate language in the Dutch-Russian literary transfer as research has shown that German often served as an intermediate language for translations into Scandinavian and Slavic languages during this period. In the specific case of Max Havelaar, the German translation by Wilhelm Spohr, who moved in circles of anarchists, served as an intermediate text. The authors also investigated whether the Russian translators used the English translation of 1868, but this was not the case. In the first part of this article, the biographies of the Russian translators, authors of forewords and editors who worked on the Russian translations are examined. In the second part, excerpts from the novel are compared with the translations to analyze the relationship between the texts.
The results of the research confirm that the first Russian translations were based on Karl Mischke’s German translation, which had appeared almost simultaneously with Spohr’s. Traces of this translation can also be found in later texts. To the authors’ knowledge, it has not been shown before that Mischke’s translation and not Spohr’s was used as an intermediate text.
Translated title of the contributionMax Havelaar by Multatuli in Russia: The origins of translation
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)176-189
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Nederlandse literatuur, Multatuli, Max Havelaar, Russische vertalingen, Duits als tussentaal


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