Many international playwrights, directors, and screen writers have cited August Strindberg as having had a major influence on their work. This influence can to a large extent be attributed to translation, without which his works and ideas would not have spread outside of Sweden.
The article looks at Strindberg from a translational point of view and focuses on his autobiographically inspired novel Le Plaidoyer d’un fou. Written by Strindberg directly in French in 1887−88, it first appeared in German in 1893 before being translated into Swedish not from the French original, but indirectly via German. The first English translation appeared in 1912 under the title The Confession of a fool. It, too, was a secondary translation, based on the second German translation published in 1910, which had as source text not Strindberg’s original from 1887−88, but a heavily revised French version published in 1895. Several other German and English translations followed in the 20th century, turning Le Plaidoyer into an interesting object of study for translation researchers, linguists and literary critics.
Every text serving as source text can be regarded as a legacy that influences the translator’s decisions and choices. By analyzing selected passages from several early and later translations of Le Plaidoyer d’un fou into German and English, the article shows how the conception of Strindberg and his novel in particular and of translation in general changed through the years.
Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, 1. 41-58 p.