By Curt Burnette
Not only was Gene Stratton-Porter a popular and widely read author in the United States--she was also popular around the world. The late author David MacLean, in 1976, listed thirteen different languages into which the novels of Gene had been translated. The thirteen languages are: French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Czechoslovakian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Japanese, Korean, Afrikaans (South Africa), and Arabic.
Of course, all twelve of Gene's novels were published in English, but the Dutch and Swedish languages were not far behind, with eleven of the twelve translated. Interestingly enough, it was her first novel, The Song of the Cardinal, which was not translated into Dutch, and The Magic Garden, her last novel, that was not translated into Swedish. The Danes and Finns had five works each translated into their native tongues. Four each of Gene's novels were translated into Czechoslovakian and Arabic. The Germans and Spaniards had three novels translated into their languages. The Japanese could read A Girl of the Limberlost and Freckles in their language. Those who spoke French, Korean, or Afrikaans could only read Freckles, and the Norwegians could only read A Girl of the Limberlost.
Some of the books in these languages came out in several editions and versions. For instance, even though only two of Gene's novels were translated into Japanese, there were seven different editions/versions of Freckles, and six different editions/versions of A Girl of the Limberlost. And last but not least, four novels have been converted into Braille, so folks with limited or no vision can enjoy Gene.
Gene's daughter Jeannette's book, Freckles Comes Home, was translated into Dutch, Swedish and Braille. The only one of Gene's nature books to be translated into a foreign language, according to Mr. MacLean, was Music of the Wild, which was published in Danish and Swedish.
And speaking of the Swedes, they win the prize for the highest number of times Gene Stratton-Porter's works were translated into their language. Including all the different editions or versions of eleven novels, the one nature book, and Jeannette's book (published a number of years after her mother's death) --there were 28! Even the Dutch, who seemed to be very fond of Gene and were second in number of translations behind the Swedes, only had 15.
So no matter what language the title of the book was in --Das Madchen vom Limberlost (German, A Girl of the Limberlost), De oogster (Dutch, The Harvester), Sproetgesig (Afrikaans, Freckles) are just a few examples--Gene was read and enjoyed across the globe,and people of many nationalities have been able to spend a little time, through her words, in the Limberlost.
Source: This article was published in the Limberlost Notebook column in the Berne Witness in September 2015.