27(2) - 2015

Retraduire un mythe littéraire : recréation / récréation ? L’exemple de The dream-quest of unknown Kadath de H.P. Lovecraft

Marie Perrier


Retranslating literary myth as recreation - The case of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath


Any translator’s work rests on a fragile balance between constraints and creativity, and each individual text imposes specific limitations, self-imposed or not, depending on authorities ranging from genre codes to the publisher’s wishes. This paper proposes a case study of the French translations of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, a fantasy short novel by H.P. Lovecraft belonging to what is now known as his « Myth of Cthulhu. » Myth rests on processes of repetition and retellings with variation, which makes each new translator a pivotal agent not only of its transmission, but also of its fleshing out. The case under study should exemplify that retranslation involves recreation, both in the sense of a new creative act of literature and as a playful practice, and that when translators become free to openly embrace this game, the narrative of the translation work itself becomes part of the myth it stems from.


Retranslation, literary myth, reception, fantasy fiction, English to French

October 18, 2015
  27(2) - 2015