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Title: Translations from the German and their reception in Britain, 1760-1800
Author: Earnshaw, Brian
ISNI:       0000 0001 3436 9824
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1982
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This thesis attempts to consider all important translations of a literary character from the German in the period. It suggests that these were far more important in establishing the principles and popularising the mood of neo-Classicism in Britain than in conveying any Gothic themes. It gives reasons for the failure of the Sturm und Drang to make much impact on British writing. The limits of the thesis are chosen to emphasise the unity of this period of translation. This has been distorted by earlier emphasis on Mackenzie's Address of 1788. The reception of translations in the 1790s was conditioned by translations of the 1760s and 1770s. The two chapters on Gessner are connected by one on Winckelmann, and the three study the way in which neo-classical theory was delivered in this country and provided with popular literary models to establish it in the public taste. The importance of this for 19th century Romantic poetry is assumed. The connection of these translations with experiments in 'poetic prose' is traced and the Radical implications of the German pastoral before 1798 are outlined. The next chapters on Holcroft, Mackenzie and Fuseli suggest that, by their circumstances and by their natures, they failed to introduce effectively the new German writing, in particular drama, to Britain. The ill-acknowledged influence of the French is stressed, so is the fact that Mackenzie's Address was more of a defence against an attack than an introduction. The remaining chapters consider the shallow nature of German influence at its apparent height in the 1790s. The Speculator's flawed critical approach was not corrected over the next nine years. Goethe's lack of success is explained by the sequence and merit of his translations. Schiller's absence from the public stage is examined and related to the political climate. Kotzebue, it is proposed, was as popular as he and the contemporary theatre deserved. The first of the two chapters on William Taylor considers the source and the limitations of his brilliance as a translator; the second his inflated reputation as a critic. Finally the relationship between the German novels translated before 1794 and the 'German Gothic' novels is discussed and an attempt made to estimate the reality behind the myth of the latter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PT Germanic literature