Genre and gender in translation: the poetological and ideological rewriting of heroine-centred and women-oriented fiction
Feral, Anne-Lise Louise Josiane
This thesis examines the impact of poetics and ideology on the French translations of eight contemporary heroine-centred and women-oriented fictional texts (including Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary). Using a systemic and descriptive framework (Toury 1995) as well as works on manipulation in translation (Lefevere 1992)(Venuti 1998), I explore the various ways in which these generically hybrid and ideologically complex texts have been rewritten according to the dominant poetics and ideology of the French roman sentimental. Interviews undertaken with editors and translators identify the perceived appeal of these texts to the French market: their romantic plot. As a comparative analysis of originals and translations reveals, this resulted in specific translational strategies regarding gender representations, notably poetological elements subverting a dominant model of romantic femininity. This thesis sheds light on the subtle differences between French and Anglo-American generic traditions and gender ideologies and its contribution is three-fold. Firstly, it adds to an emerging body of case studies which examine poetological and ideological revisions in the French translations of heroine-centred and womenoriented fictional texts (Cossy 2004, 2006, 2006a)(Le Brun 2003). Secondly, as the selection of a thematically – rather than formally – linked corpus of texts is still relatively uncommon in translation and intercultural studies, this thesis advances a new paradigm in the analysis of poetics and ideology in translation (Munday 2008): a self-reflexive approach which favours transversal examinations of specific aspects in thematically linked corpora. Thirdly, this study suggests that if women’s entertainment, produced and translated for mass consumption, reaches a broad audience worldwide and plays an important part in women’s socialisation, interdisciplinary studies of translations across forms can constitute a useful way of detecting the unspoken gender values of the cultures for which and by which they are produced.