Translation and performance cultures: Spanish drama and Restoration England

Zdrojový dokument: Theatralia. 2021, roč. 24, č. 1, s. 101-118
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
Type: Článek
From 1660 onwards, Restoration dramatists drew on seventeenth-century Spanish theatre in search of new plots and characters that might appeal to London audiences. Despite the socio-historical differences between two distinct theatrical traditions, practitioners managed to turn the foreign plays into actable English texts. By comparing a corpus of classical Spanish plays and their versions in Restoration England, this paper aims to provide some insight into the translation strategies employed. In this sense, two performance- -oriented mechanisms can be distinguished. On the one hand, many elements in the source texts were naturalised to meet the demands of the target culture, as perceived not only in the treatment of rhythm, versification and rhetorical devices but also in action, act-division and characterisation. This domesticating method is also noticeable in how the central motifs of the comedia, i.e. comicality (stage and linguistic), honour and love, were approached. On the other hand, some aspects in the originals (storylines, names and certain stylistic features) were maintained, manifestly showing the Spanishness of the play-text. A contrastive study leads to significant conclusions on the success of these tailor-made, accommodating formulas, and raises questions about the extent to which the translators reach the status of authors by leaving a visible mark on their creations.
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