CoMPARATIvE LITERATURE STUDIES The Spread of Novels: Translations and Prose Fiction in the Eighteenth Century. By Mary Helen McMurran. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009. 252 pp. Cloth $65.00 cloth, paper $27.95. The publishing history of translations and its relation to the emergence of novels is fraught with complexities. In terms of definition, it is not easy to verify that something designated a translation is strictly a translation. In the early seventeenth century, writers translating the ancient languages of the classics would meticulously emulate their sources, but by midcentury the new "libertine" translators had become more creative, now seeing themselves as both author and as the transmitter of the essence of the original. With the emergence of the novel form in the eighteenth century, translating became a cross-channel business that was complicated by confused origins, such as anonymous publications and Grub Street deceptions. Mary Helen McMurran's astute study fills a considerable gap in research on translation and its wide-reaching effects on the inception of the novel. With meticulous attention to detail, her study is presented with comprehensive notes and an excellent bibliography. She traces the history of the significant shifts and changes of English and French literary translation
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: May 10, 2012
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