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Title: A study of prosody in modern English translations of Molière's plays
Author: Ploix, Cedric
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 9251
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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My thesis discusses prosody, in the narrow sense of verse, meter and rhyme, used by modern English translators to revitalise Molière's comedies in order to make them successful on the modern English-speaking stage. The thesis first discusses the problems and paradoxes of verse translations, and questions the aesthetic equivalence between the alexandrine and blank verse, rhyming couplets and the English dodecasyllable. It points to different cultural associations, and the different reception they have enjoyed on stage. My thesis moves away from the usual criticisms of English verse forms and considers instances where the English and French verse systems can achieve similar dramatic effects and can be more efficient than prose in contributing to the workings of comedy. The reason behind the choice of self-conscious rhyming couplets is to enhance comic effects. Thanks to the use of witty rhymes, translators transform Molière's situational humour into verbal humour, particularly appealing to English audiences. This style serves both Molière, by introducing his comedies to the commercial stage, and also the translators, who gain more visibility. The thesis then analyses a number of strategies used to advertise the presence of rhymes, by way of a methodical computer-aided quantitative analysis and more traditional stylistic analyses, pointing to striking differences in the poetics of rhyme between Molière and his modern translators. The link between verse form and aesthetics is reasserted in the last chapter of the thesis through the analysis of how particular prosodic systems can have a significant impact on the aesthetics and the dramaturgy of the play. Five case studies of non-standard prosodic systems are examined as well as the case of verse adaptations from prose plays.
Supervisor: Hawcroft, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available