The Linguist

The Linguist 59,1 - February/March 2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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32 The Linguist Vol/59 No/1 2020 INSTITUTE MATTERS ambassador to London, in 1741. Four years later, Antoine de la Place produced his seminal work le Théâtre Anglois, comprising essays, part translations and synopses. The long-held antipathy in France had abated to the point where the first ever complete translation of Shakespeare's oeuvre (completed in 1783) attracted the royal patronage of Louis XVI. These translations by Pierre le Tourneur, and Wieland's translations into German from the 1760s, were still, however, clumsy prose versions that would never pass CIOL quality assurance procedures. They were important for the attention they attracted. Interest in Shakespeare had moved beyond the German groundlings to the intelligentsia of Europe. The young bloods of the Sturm und Drang movement of 1760-90 idolised him. Herder penned an essay rejecting the French devotion to the dramatic unities and advocating Shakespeare as a more suitable model for the development of a national German literature. The 18th-century royalty of Poland and Russia took an interest: Stanisław August Poniatowski, last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, translated some scenes from Julius Caesar into French. Catherine II of Russia adapted, rather than translated, The Merry Wives of Windsor from a French version into Russian. That could be said to complete the rise of Shakespeare renderings across all social strata. I n Shakespearean England, playing licences for theatre groups were often monopolised, withheld or suppressed (only two companies were licensed in London), so other troupes of actors set off for the continent to seek a living there – from The Netherlands to western Russia. Without language competence, their performances relied on extravagant physical theatre, acrobatics, clowning and music. This style gained them popularity and a reputation, particularly in Germany among a public used to a diet of didactic morality plays. They were known as English Comedians. These Wanderbühnen (travelling theatres) began to employ and train German-speaking actors, who gave a summarising narrative for such action-packed productions as Titus Andronicus. Still their text carried no dramatic weight until, gradually, a few native companies were established, and working translations, used only in the theatre, were produced. Meanwhile, Louis XIV's Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 sent 400,000 Huguenots fleeing into exile in Germany, Holland and England. Their presence created a demand for indigenous literature translated into French. The first published translation of Shakespeare, in any language, was of Julius Caesar by Borcke, sometime Prussian Translators of genius Ian Smith describes how the Bard's journey to global success elevated the status of translators and had a long-lasting impact on their role in Europe and beyond Since then, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust lists 80 languages into which Shakespeare's works have been translated (partly or wholly). The gold standard of Shakespeare translations, however, was established during the 19th century. August Wilhelm Schlegel's German versions, finished in 1810, are still studied today. Regarded in his time as "a translator of genius", Schlegel took infinite pains to exploit alles im Deutschen Thunliche – everything of which the German language is capable – in his attempt to convey the variety of Shakespeare's expressive repertoire. He avoided slavish adherence to the regular stress of German blank verse when rendering the liberties that Shakespeare took with blank verse in English. He recognised that compensations have to be made for the sake of comprehensibility but followed, as closely as possible, the alternations of prose, blank verse, rhymes and unrhymed verses. With all this care and patient, but determined, struggle, Schlegel claimed a greater role – a greater status – than there had been hitherto for the translator, who he saw as a "herald of genius… a messenger from nation to nation". This article is based on a presentation for the CIOL Lincolnshire Society in November 2019. MEMBERSHIP NETWORKS WORLDWIDE PERFORMANCE 19th-century painting of Shakespeare's characters

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