Naturalized Texts/Textes naturalisés: Translations, Adaptations, Influences

Friday, June 4, 2004–Saturday, June 5, 2004
All Day

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street

—a conference organized by Robert Maniquis, University of California, Los Angeles and Sylvain Menant, Université Paris Sorbonne—Paris IV

co-sponsored by Centre d’étude de la langue et de la littérature françaises des
XVIIe et XVIIe siècles, Université Paris Sorbonne—Paris IV
The texts discussed in this colloquium appear in several languages and in various important translations and adaptations. They have without a doubt worked as influential texts in foreign cultures. The object of the discussion, however, is to consider those seventeenth- and eighteenth-century texts that shed their foreignness enough to be “naturalized” in foreign cultures. Obvious examples of such texts whose origins were no longer or only barely recognizable in foreign cultures are Robinson Crusoe, William Tell, or Don Quixote. Other naturalized texts may never have shed their foreign accents in other languages—one thinks of Shakespeare’s plays, or Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Héloïse, or Richardson’s Clarissa, or the Arabian Nights. But such texts also became so richly adapted and pervasive in other cultures that they founded new theatrical forms or new bodies of conventional allusions or new plots or even new vocabularies in the cultures to which they were adapted. And what of texts that were once naturalized in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but which have now disappeared from literary canons and even historical notice? Were texts differently or even more easily naturalized in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries than they are today? Can the criteria for identifying a naturalized text be defined, or are such texts only special cases of adaptation and influence? Is there a difference between a translated, influential text and one that seems to have become an essential part of literary, political, or psychological discourse of a foreign culture? These and other questions raised in the colloquium will continue to be discussed in a second colloquium next year at the Université Paris Sorbonne—Paris IV.