Translation in distress
Cultural misappropriation and the construction of the Gothic
in European Gothic
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The act of learning to read translations makes possible histories of the Gothic in cultures where it has long been thought the Gothic had no history worth telling. In the cultural marketplace of the mid-nineteenth century, French translations squeezed out English translations just as in the present marketplace British and American works tend to dominate international bestseller lists. Paradoxically, if the English Gothic novel was the product of the application of a set of philosophical and aesthetic criteria to the French sentimental adventure story, the roman noir marks the point at which those same criteria are filtered out as English texts make their way in turn to France. Maurice Levy may be able to point to more than a hundred English Gothic novels translated into French, but as the Gothic novel radiated out across Europe, the range of translated works became considerably restricted.

European Gothic

A spirited exchange 1760-1960

Editor: Avril Horner

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