Journal of Romance Studies

Translation, ideology and subversion: D. Pablo de Xérica’s Spanish translation of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley

Journal of Romance Studies (2006), 6, (3), 87–102.

Abstract

D. Pablo de Xérica, a Spanish liberal, was exiled to France during Ferdinand VII’s absolutist reign and eventually settled there, where he translated some of Sir Walter Scott’s novels, including Waverley. His was the first Spanish translation of that novel to appear in Europe, in 1835. My article contains a descriptive-comparative analysis, taking into account Scott’s English original, a French intermediate translation carried out in 1830 by Defauconpret (considered to be the canonical translator of Scott in France) and the Spanish target text. My analysis aims to show that Xérica infused his own liberal ideology into the text, making additions (footnotes and intratextual glosses) and substitutions, with the intention of subverting the dominant Spanish milieu on religious, moral and political grounds. Xérica attacked, for example, the lack of freedom resulting from the absolute monarchy’s system of censorship, criticized the intransigence of the Church and its power, and made sexual allusions explicit, thus reacting against specific dominant Spanish discourses. My analysis of Xérica’s text, then, proves that translation – as a form of rewriting – can be a non-neutral activity that goes far beyond the faithful rendering of a foreign text into a target culture. In this respect, it is possible to state that translation can be used as a tool to reflect certain ideologies, with the added implication that the translator might seek to manipulate the source text to a certain degree for specific purposes.

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García-González, José-Enrique