Martinus Nijhoff, 1894-1953 (English)

Martinus Nijhoff enjoys a special reputation not just as a poet, but also as a translator. It is no coincidence that the most prestigious Dutch translation prize, established after Nijhoff’s death in 1953, is named after him. Critics have repeatedly pointed to the relationship between Nijhoff’s translations and his own original work. For Nijhoff, translation did not simply mean converting a text into another language: a successful translation was the result of a creative transformation. Whether it was William Shakespeare’s The Tempest or a poem by François Villon, Nijhoff always shaped form and content to his own ends. The result was translations that conformed to the conceptual world also depicted in his original poems.

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