De Reenert

Luxembourg classic work gets first English edition

Claude Meisch presents the newest edition of Michel Rodange’s literary work.  Photo: Luxembourg

Claude Meisch presents the newest edition of Michel Rodange’s literary work.  Photo: Luxembourg

Dotted around Luxembourg’s landscapes and visual identity, the famous Reenert character on 26 October celebrated its 150th anniversary. On the occasion, a first English translation of the work was published.

Considered the biggest 19th century literary work coming from Luxembourg, Michel Rodange’s animal fable is also a political satire. To celebrate its anniversary, the education, childhood and youth ministry presented a series of additions to the work’s universe.

Among the efforts presented are a new edition of the book--in modern Luxembourgish with explanations for unusual vocabulary--as well as a Luxembourgish vocabulary book centered around the book. These works were a collaboration between the ministry’s pedagogic research and innovation service Script and the Centre for Luxembourgish ZLS.

“There are not many Luxembourgish literary figures who are as present in society as Reenert. Michel Rodange's sharp feathers, the polished language and the sophisticated way of taking a critical look at society through the animal world are not only a piece of Luxembourg heritage, but also a literary pleasure,” said education minister Claude MeischClaude Meisch on the occasion.

For this reason, and to open up the work to international research, a first bilingual edition in Luxembourgish and English has been published. Its translator Jeff Thill in a preface shares the complexities of translating a work that uses local dialects as part of its character building, warns of the works lack of political correctness, but concludes that ultimately, “this translation is an attempt to reflect the original work as accurately as possible so that hopefully through these lines, the unique voice of Michel Rodange emerges, a voice which puts Rodange in the pantheon of the greatest Luxembourgish writers of all times.” 

The book is available for free as an e-book.