Published on the eve of the French Revolution, Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s exotic pastoral Paul et Virginie (1788) was an international sensation at the close of the eighteenth century. In England, Helen Maria Williams’s 1795 studiously abridged translation soon became the standard, preparing its subsequent stage success. James Cobb’s Paul and Virginia, a two-act musical drama (Covent Garden, 1/05/1800), proved to be a popular hit for decades thereafter. This article considers the handling of physical, as well as metaphorical, spatiality, as crucial to both the translation and the theatrical adaptation processes – though in wholly dissimilar ways, but still expressly in relation to the tropical/colonial backdrop, which determines their diverging politics. In the novel, the translator negotiates a complex metaphorical space of her own by intervening with additional sonnets, attributed to the character of Mme de la Tour, and thus establishing a sophisticated mirroring game. In this process of appropriation, the sonnets themselves magnify the tropical space into its feminine imaginative re-creation. In the theatrical adaptation, on the other hand, spatiality is maneuvered to serve the end of domestication, channelling the assertion of imperial logic that the text persistently pursues in the especially effective space of the theatre.

Translating Spaces: The Case of Paul and Virginia

DELLAROSA
2018

Abstract

Published on the eve of the French Revolution, Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s exotic pastoral Paul et Virginie (1788) was an international sensation at the close of the eighteenth century. In England, Helen Maria Williams’s 1795 studiously abridged translation soon became the standard, preparing its subsequent stage success. James Cobb’s Paul and Virginia, a two-act musical drama (Covent Garden, 1/05/1800), proved to be a popular hit for decades thereafter. This article considers the handling of physical, as well as metaphorical, spatiality, as crucial to both the translation and the theatrical adaptation processes – though in wholly dissimilar ways, but still expressly in relation to the tropical/colonial backdrop, which determines their diverging politics. In the novel, the translator negotiates a complex metaphorical space of her own by intervening with additional sonnets, attributed to the character of Mme de la Tour, and thus establishing a sophisticated mirroring game. In this process of appropriation, the sonnets themselves magnify the tropical space into its feminine imaginative re-creation. In the theatrical adaptation, on the other hand, spatiality is maneuvered to serve the end of domestication, channelling the assertion of imperial logic that the text persistently pursues in the especially effective space of the theatre.
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978-3-0343-3145-6
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/234789
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