n French Studies in Southern Africa - Baudelaire en anglais?

Volume 2003, Issue 32
  • ISSN : 0259-0247



In the South African context some language departments have taken the decision to teach French literature through translation. This is not a cardinal sin if the lecturer involved uses the confrontation between the original text and its translation to open up the former and deals with the latter as with an interpretation. A case in point: Campbell's translation of Baudelaire. The stereotype concerning the impossibility of translating poetry must be revised: poetry is not only in the poem but the latter is an incarnation of an experience to which its configuration leads. In the case of our two poets the comparison shows that the reading (both interpretation and translation) of Baudelaire's poems has played a major role in the poetical destiny of Campbell, but at the same time the South African brother of Baudelaire highlights the role poetry has played in the latter's destiny in as far as he recognises that the modernist idea of progress is unable to answer the fundamental questions concerning the meaning of human destiny.

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