Edited By Ali Almanna and Juan José Martínez Sierra
10 Roy Campbell’s Translations of Lorca: An Appreciation or an Appropriation? (Andrew Samuel Walsh)
Andrew Samuel Walsh
10 Roy Campbell’s Translations of Lorca: An Appreciation or an Appropriation?
In 1952, the South African poet Roy Campbell (1901–1957) published a volume entitled Lorca, an Appreciation of His Poetry, a curious amalgam of his partial translations of the work of Federico García Lorca (1898–1936) interspersed with a series of critical assessments which were a concerted attempt to wrest control of Lorca’s reception away from the Left, who he believed had misrepresented the Andalusian poet’s work through translations which had turned him into a martyr of the Spanish Republic. The text was also a response to the eventual refusal of the poet’s family to authorize Campbell’s English versions of Lorca’s collected works, despite the fact that their publication was actively supported by T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber and instigated and promoted by Lorca’s close friend, Rafael Martínez Nadal. The Lorca estate’s refusal was caused by their discovery of Campbell’s active support for the Franco regime both during and after the Spanish Civil War, a fact which made them understandably reluctant to allow his work to be misrepresented in turn by a supporter of the regime that was responsible for his murder. Campbell’s response was this curious hybrid of partial translation, personal myth-making, ideologically oriented (mis)information and manipulative critical views and can be seen as less of an appreciation of Lorca’s poetry and more of an appropriation of the work of a writer who...
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