Studies in French and Francophone Culture
Edited By Neil Archer and Andreea Weisl-Shaw
Part 4 Trans-cultural and Trans-historical Reception in Literature and Film 137
Part 4 Trans-cultural and Trans-historical Reception in Literature and Film Anne Cameron Adapting Imagery: The Seventeenth-Century English Translation of French Poetic Descriptions Contemporary English translations of seventeenth-century French poetry, despite the richness of cultural exchange between the two countries during this period, have received surprisingly little critical attention.1 In the rela- tively rare instances where they have been studied, critics tend not to exam- ine translations within the wider context of literary exchange between France and England during the seventeenth century, and of literary and cultural developments within each country.2 This chapter will examine the treatment in English translation of French imagery and descriptive language, in the context of how poetic language developed in each coun- try in this period. The use of imagery and descriptive language in seventeenth-century French poetry, like all of its other aspects, was af fected by the develop- ment of the ‘classicizing’ aesthetic. There have been attempts in recent years to question and re-define the notion of ‘classicism’ in relation to seventeenth-century France, and particularly the extent to which it can be considered a regulated and uniform set of ‘rules’ or principles to which 1 Noteworthy exceptions are William Roberts’s articles on English translations of Saint-Amant, and on Katherine Philips’s French poetry translations: ‘Saint-Amant: plaque tournante de L’Europe au XVIIe siècle’, in Horizons européens de la littéra- ture française au XVIIe siècle, ed. Wolfgang Leiner (Tubingen: Gunter Narr, 1988), 71–8; ‘The Dating of Orinda’s French Translations’, Philological Quarterly 49...
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