Translation and Censorship in 19th Century Europe

Censorship… It is possible to see this kind of limitation in any field of media or publishing. For example in China and Iran, people do not have an access to some certain websites- at least in legal terms. In Turkey, they want to do the same kind of thing, too. When it comes to publishing, they sometimes do not let some books be published or they recollect the books after publishing. Translation has gone through the same difficulties. While in some countries, people are free to read any book, in some others people do not have this freedom. Think about the WWII. Hitler in Germany, Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy… In the first half of the 19th century, translation came to an halt. Fortunately, we went over these days. However, there are still some points to bring up. I want to recommend this book: “The Power of Pen: Translation and Censorship in 19th Century Europe” . Here you can find a short review by E Mena, from the literary translators blog:


“New book:  The Power of the Pen: Translation & Censorship in Nineteenth-Century Europe, edited by Denise Merkle, Carol O’Sullivan, Luc van Doorslaer and Michaela Wolf. (Vienna: LIT Verlag, 2010)

LIT Verlag (Vienna) is pleased to announce the publication of The Power of the Pen: Translation & Censorship in Nineteenth-Century Europe, edited by Denise Merkle, Carol O’Sullivan, Luc van Doorslaer and Michaela Wolf. This is the fourth volume in the series ‘Translating across Cultures and Societies’.

The nineteenth century has been very neglected in studies of translation censorship to date. This volume addresses this gap in research, showing how discourse was filtered by official and unofficial censorship mechanisms against a background of massive political and technological change. The volume brings together eleven essays on censorship of literature, philosophy and the press in Austro-Hungary, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Portugal, Russia and Spain.

Contributers include Denise Merkle, Carol O’Sullivan, Luc van Doorslaer, Michaela Wolf, Norbert Bachleitner, Michaela Wolf, Ibon Uribarri, Elisabeth Gibbels, Rita Bueno Maia, María Eugenia Perojo Arronte, Brian James Baer, Benoit Léger, and Outi Paloposki.

For more information, please contact Luc van Doorslaer at”


For the original article, click here.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Andrzej Pietrzak on May 31, 2011 at 20:24

    Censorship was in force in Eastern Europe until 1989. Not so long ago! Certain major religions denominations including the Roman Catholic Church still practise censorship/


    • Hi Andrzej!
      Actually there is hardly legal action, the situation is not that different in Turkey. A couple months ago, was censored. Similarly, youtube was blocked until recently… When it comes to the publishing, onnnly 2 months ago, a book about the gov’t was censored and couldn’t be published. It is really sad and annoying.
      Thank you for your comment.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: