Vol. 6: Translating Decadence

Translating Decadence

Bénédicte Coste
Université de Bourgogne
Jane Desmarais
Goldsmiths University, London

Published 2024-04-18


Building on the assumptions that decadence is a complex and transnational phenomenon, this volume proposes fresh understandings of the theory and practice of translation. Icelandic poetry and a Japanese novel rub shoulders with Latvian translations of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and early twentieth-century translations of Baudelaire by Cyril Scott, who also set some of Ernest Dowson’s verse into song. Strindberg’s ‘Sensations détraquées’, one of the few texts he wrote in French, and G. B. Shaw’s recent translation ofWidower’s Houses into Italian reveal how decadence was received in different countries and different periods, from the late nineteenth century to contemporary times, as well as demonstrate the flexibility of translation practice, which no longer signifies mere linguistic equivalence. On the contrary, translation appears as a mode of reception, attentive to cultural geographies and historical transformations, as a means of practising intermediality, or as a creative activity, sometimes dangerously close to appropriation and rewriting, thereby raising ethical questions. With its focus on hitherto neglected areas and artists and its insistence on the centrality of translation, this volume is a timely addition to the now well-established field of decadence studies.


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