Translating Italy for the Eighteenth Century: British Women, Translation and Travel Writing (1739-1797)
Routledge, 08.04.2014 - 178 Seiten
Translating Italy in the Eighteenth Century offers a historical analysis of the role played by translation in that complex redefinition of women's writing that was taking place in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century. It investigates the ways in which women writers managed to appropriate images of Italy and adapt them to their own purposes in a period which covers the 'moral turn' in women's writing in the 1740s and foreshadows the Romantic interest in Italy at the end of the century.
A brief survey of translations produced by women in the period 1730-1799 provides an overview of the genres favoured by women translators, such as the moral novel, sentimental play and a type of conduct literature of a distinctively 'proto-feminist' character. Elizabeth Carter's translation of Francesco Algarotti's II Newtonianesimo per le Dame (1739) is one of the best examples of the latter kind of texts. A close reading of the English translation indicates a 'proto-feminist' exploitation of the myth of Italian women's cultural prestige.
Another genre increasingly accessible to women, namely travel writing, confirms this female interest in Italy. Female travellers who visited Italy in the second half of the century, such as Hester Piozzi, observed the state of women's education through the lenses provided by Carter. Piozzi's image of Italy, a paradoxical mixture of imagination and realistic observation, became a powerful symbolic source, which enabled the fictional image of a modern, relatively egalitarian British society to take shape.
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Piozzi seems almost to rewrite this tradition: sherejects the cultural primacy traditionally accorded to classical Rome through the helpof sentimental and providentialist discourses, whichare given asubtle feminist flavour.
Thus domestic discourses can beconsidered asa remarkable contribution totheestablishment of a commercial economy centred onthe individual, who could set himselfapart from the corrupt world ruled by aristocratic privilege.
Post-1740 womenwriters were shaping, aswell as being shaped by, the literary discourses ofthe age of sensibility.However, it is notmy intention to rephrase a theory ofauthorial intention froma ...
The period which runs from1740 tothe 1770s, generally knownas the ageof sensibility, saw the emergenceof a stress on feelingand sympathy inthe discourses of philosophy, medical science and religion. Against a contemporary society which ...
The discourse of sensibility, with its symptomatic dependence on fixed conventions,was deeply influenced bythis kind ... in factechoed discourses circulating in the fieldof medical literature, which described women«s nerves as thinner, ...