Shakespeare Goes to Paris: How the Bard Conquered France
A&C Black, 2005 M04 16 - 240 pages
It has sometimes been assumed that the difficulty of translating Shakespeare into French has meant that he has had little influence in France. Shakespeare Goes to Paris proves the opposite. Virtually unknown in France in his lifetime, and for well over a hundred years after his death, Shakespeare was discovered in the first half of the eighteenth century, as part of a growing French interest in England. Since then, Shakespeare's impact in France has been enormous.
Writers, from Voltaire to Gide, found themsleves baffled, frustrated, mesmerised but overawed by a playwright who broke all the rules of French classical theatre and challenged the primacy of French culture. Attempts to tame and translate him alternated with uncritical idolisation, such as that of Berlioz and Hugo. Changing attitudes to Shakespeare have also been an index of French self-esteem, as John Pemble shows in his sparkingly written book
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