From verse into prose: English translations of Louise Labe's sonnets
Sharpling, Gerard P.. (2007) From verse into prose: English translations of Louise Labe's sonnets. Journal of European Studies, Vol.37 (No.2). pp. 117-137. ISSN 0047-2441Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0047244107077822
In recent years, Louise Labe's sonnets have become increasingly popular, both within and outside France. This is perhaps unsurprising, given Labe's striking position as a female writer composing within a predominantly male-defined poetic tradition. One means by which Labe'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 Labe'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 Labe. I present three new prose translations of Louise's poetry: 'Baise m'encor, rebaise moy et baise'; 'je vis, je meurs' and 'Ne reprenez, Dames, si j'ay aime'. 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 Labe'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 the formal constraints of Renaissance versification, provides an ideal means of exploring the dialogical structure of Louise's sonnets. This arguably more flexible form also reveals the personal qualities of a poet who manifestly prefers analysis to description or performance, the better to highlight and problematize the multifarious dimensions of love, and their poignant, indeed dramatic effect on the persona.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship The Humanities|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Centre for Applied Linguistics|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Journal of European Studies|
|Publisher:||Sage Publications Ltd.|
|Number of Pages:||21|
|Page Range:||pp. 117-137|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
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