35(1) - 2023

La retraduction en fantasy: phénomène marchand ou littéraire?

Vivien Féasson

Fantasy novels retranslated: A literary or commercial phenomenon?

Following the success of cinematographic and televisual adaptations, the beginning of the 21st century has seen numerous retranslations of so-called “fantasy classics” appear on the French market, supported by positive peritexts and enthusiastic communities. One can wonder, however, to what extent such an idyllic landscape is the reflection of a movement towards a greater integration of authentic masterworks in all their complexity, following Antoine Berman’s theory of retranslation, or if other, non-literary reasons are at stake? This essay examines official discourses from publishers and fan communities as well as commercial data, to answer those crucial questions: what is a fantasy classic? Why are these works retranslated, with what translation project? To this end, it goes beyond publishers’ statements of principle and analyses textual realizations, thus showing a darker reality where translators are often fantasy experts capable of repairing diegetic incoherence but also inexperienced professionals working in substandard conditions, a context that has detrimental effects on the more stylistic aspects.

Fantasy, retranslation, Berman, France

DOI 10.17462/para.2023.01.07

April 4, 2023
  35(1) - 2023