19th-Century Czech Translations of «Uncle Tom’s Cabin»: What Has Been Left Unspoken


  • Eva Kalivodová



Palabras clave:

Harriet Beecher Stowe; Uncle Tom’s Cabin; translation; adaptation; Czech culture; mid-19th century.


The article aims to explore the translation strategies and politics of the two mid-19th century Czech translations of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Toms Cabin, or Life among the Lowly (1852). Among other European cultures, Czechs (one of the nations of the multinational Austrian Empire) responded to Stowe’s abolitionist novel immediately –both translations were published in 1853. However, the thesis of the article is that the response in each “local” European context carried and expressed its social and cultural characteristics. Therefore, we consider the social and political experience of Czechs around 1848, the year of first liberal democratic revolutions in Europe, as a possible influence over the approach of the publishers and translators in the Czech versions. These are viewed as results of what we call “productive reception”. Because both are shorter adaptations, the comparative analysis is aimed at the strategies of “rewritings”. As such, it discovers very different strategies being used for adaptation in these two mid-19th century versions, which led to the creation of texts with very different messages. On the basis of researching subsequent history of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Czech, we suggest that the influence of one of the mid-19th century adaptations has prevailed in later Czech reception and belittled its political importance up to the present.


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Cómo citar

Kalivodová, E. (2017). 19th-Century Czech Translations of «Uncle Tom’s Cabin»: What Has Been Left Unspoken. Hermēneus. Revista De traducción E interpretación, (19), 96–120. https://doi.org/10.24197/her.19.2017.96-120