Aphra Behn: Cultural Translator and Editorial Intermediary

Journal article


Hargrave, J. 2017. Aphra Behn: Cultural Translator and Editorial Intermediary. Cerae: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. 4, pp. 1-31.
AuthorsHargrave, J.
Abstract

The complex production of translation and editorial intermediation is a timeless, often contentious issue. In the seventeenth century, Abraham Cowley and John Dryden dominated a debate that centred on fidelity to authorial copy. The self-supporting Aphra Behn, who translated from French in the late seventeenth century to earn an income, acknowledged this debate and indicated her preference for Dryden's translation practice of latitude in her epistolary dedication in the preliminary matter of Agnes de Castro: or, The Force of Generous Love (1688), which was originally written by Jean-Baptiste de Brilhac and entitled Agnes de Castro, Nouvelle Portugaise (1688). Behn's latitude respected authorial intention but adapted the text when literal translation proved difficult. This article dips below the discursive surface to provide a new way of analysing Behn's work. Comparing de Brilhac's original with Behn's translation reveals the latter's negotiation of the necessarily complex and at times conflicting role of cultural translator and editorial intermediary. Behn used stagecraft techniques to create the narrative scene, paratextual asides to establish her authorial voice and editorial intermediation, and editorial techniques such as italicisation and capitalisation to further this intermediation and transmit meaning. Behn's practice not only acknowledged the commercial imperatives of the publishing industry but also typified her human nature.

Keywordseditorial practice; translation; early modern British literature
Year2017
JournalCerae: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Journal citation4, pp. 1-31
PublisherCerae Journal
ISSN2204-146X
Web address (URL)https://search.informit.org/doi/abs/10.3316/informit.711846791983735
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online01 Jan 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Sep 2022
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