Othello in French

Othello in French

Othello in French

Othello in French

Excerpt

In this study I have followed one of Shakespeare's plays through its successive translations and adaptations in France, with the aim of discovering what suppressions, modifications and additions have been made in plot, characters and language; what the reasons for these changes have been; how much progress, in theory and in practice, has been made from one translator to another; and finally, what degree of perfection in translation has been attained.

The study of the translations, reflecting and modifying as they do the public's conception and opinion of the author, is of primary importance for the history of Shakespeare in France. The timid translator is constantly thinking of the effect on the public, and even the boldest inevitably shares some of the prejudices of his contemporaries. On the other hand the attitude of the contemporaries is constantly being modified by the efforts of the translators to give a more and more exact reproduction of the author. The translations show exactly how much of the real Shakespeare has been presented to the French public, and how far the public has accepted him.

As Professor Baldensperger has pointed out, the question of translations has been passed over very lightly by the historians of Shakespeare in France. Professor Cushing's Pierre Le Tourneur has a chapter on Le Tourneur as a translator of Shakespeare, Professor Dargan has published an article on Shakespeare and Ducis, there are German theses on certain translations, and Vigny's critics have discussed, in general rather superficially, the fidelity to Shakespeare of the More de Venise. But the great mass of translations and adaptations have received little or no attention.

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