Talk by Vanessa Palomo on Josep Maria de Sagarra, a translator of Shakespeare

10th October, 4.15 p.m – O’Rahilly Building, ORB 1.24

DEPARTMENT OF SPANISH, PORTUGUESE AND LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

SCHOOL OF LANGUAGES, LITERATURES AND CULTURES

DEPARTMENTAL RESEARCH SEMINAR


Josep Maria de Sagarra, a translator of Shakespeare: the French, Spanish and Catalan influences on his translation of Macbeth 


Speaker: Vanessa Palomo Berjaga

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

Friday, 10th October, 4.15 p.m.

O’Rahilly Building, ORB 1.24

Abstract:

Josep Maria de Sagarra translated a total of twenty-eight Shakespeare plays into Catalan over the course of the 1940s and early 1950s, at a time when the Catalan language and culture were suffering severe repression due to the unitary policies pursued by the Franco regime. First published in impressive hard-bound clandestine editions, and dated to before the Spanish Civil War, the translations for many years were held up as symbols of cultural resistance to Franco, and were later republished in more accessible editions, becoming the main performance texts for Shakespeare productions in Catalonia from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. My current research sets out to reassess Sagarra’s position and status as a translator of Shakespeare in relation to the negative and positive criticism he has received over the years, particularly claims by critics such as Salvador Oliva (1986, 1993) who argue that Sagarra based his translations on French translations by different authors. In his prologue to Romeo i Julieta. Otel·lo. Macbeth (1959), Sagarra himself states that he compared his texts with the French and the Spanish translations; furthermore, it is quite likely that he also examined the Catalan translations. In this seminar paper, I aim to demonstrate which translations influenced Sagarra’s translation of Macbeth. The French translators studied are François-Victor Hugo (1st edition: 1857-1865; 2n edition, revised: 1865-1873) and Maurice Maeterlinck (1910); the Spanish translators are Magí Morera i Galícia (1919) and Luis Astrana Marín (1920); and the Catalan translators are Cebrià Montoliu (1907), Diego Ruiz (1908) and Cèsar August Jordana (1928).

In order to analyse and classify the data uncovered in comparing these translations, a classification model was configured based on the shift theory proposed by Kitty van Leuven-Zwart (1989, 1990). The model is a set of categories that fall into the general patterns of linguistics: semantics, syntax, lexicon, etc. The qualitative study of shifts provides very useful evidence with which to prove the influences between the texts, particularly when the same shift is present in versions by authors in different languages. Quantitative analysis is also important; for instance, 7 similarities between two texts are not considered significant, whereas 300 similarities show a huge influence from one text to the other.

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