This work attempts to bring together the descriptive concerns of translation studies with the awareness of the multisemiotic nature of the dramatic text. The question of the relationship between written text and performance, which is central to theatre semiotics and to the most recent debates on drama and theatre translation, complements the descriptive approach to the analysis of translated texts. By bringing in the dimension of performance as part of the source material that is carried over in the exchange of dramatic texts across cultures, this work attempts to provide a model for the analysis of dramatic texts which are very reliant on performance practices. The study thus takes the form of a historical investigation of the translation and reception of a semiotically highly complex text: Goldoni's Servitore di due padroni. The case studies of four successive translations of II servitore in Britain explore the changing theatrical and literary norms to which translators through the ages have been bound by the expectations both of their audiences and the literary/theatrical establishment. Each chapter is based on the use of archival material and introduces a different type of translation: covert translation (Chapter Four), philological translation aimed at the acceptance of the text within the literary canon (Chapter Five), translation into dialect as a way of reclaiming national identity (Chapter Six), and collaborative translation where translator, adaptor, director and actor are seen to be contributing to the rewriting of the text in translation (Chapter Seven). Looking at translation from the perspective of the relationship between text and performance makes the study of the translation of drama very relevant to current debates in translation studies as a whole. By questioning the completeness and authority of the source text and showing how performance traditions, acting styles as well as travelling productions affect the translation and reception of dramatic texts, the exploration of II servitore in translation challenges any unproblematic notions of source text from which to begin the process of translation and offers a model for the study of translated drama that allows for the fluidity of the correlation ofperformance and textuality
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