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From verse into prose : English translations of Louise Labé's sonnets
Du vers à la prose : les traductions anglaises des sonnets de Louise Labé
In recent years, Louise Labé's sonnets have become increasingly popular, both within and outside France. This is perhaps unsurprising, given Labé's striking position as a female writer composing within a predominantly male-defined poetic tradition. One means by which Labé's writing has become more accessible is through the medium of translation. In English, well-known translators such as Dunstan Martin, Warnke and Kirkup, amongst others, have sought to convey Louise's writing through verse renderings, with varying degrees of success. On the other hand, prose translations of Labé's poetry remain comparatively scarce and have only recently begun to be taken more seriously. In this article, I argue that far from being inferior copies of more 'ideal' verse renderings, prose poems are, in fact, better able to convey the vicissitudes of love encountered by Lobé. I present three new prose translations of Louise's poetry: 'Baise m'encor, rebaise may et baise'; 'Je vis, je meurs' and 'Ne reprenez, Dames, si j'ay aimé'. These translations, it is hoped, place into sharper relief the poet's quest for self-knowledge and self-understanding. The use of the prose form, as opposed to verse, also highlights a central premise in Labé's writing itself, namely that human experience is made explicit not so much as a result of persuasive, categorizing statements, or through the adherence to any fixed poetic form, but rather through a sense of debate with the self. The prose form, freed from
ISSN : 0047-2441
Journal of European studies A. 2007, vol. 37, n° 2, pp. 117-137 [21 pages] [bibl. : 1 p.]
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