MASCARILLE'S COMEDY. OLD POLISH TRANSLATIONS OF 'LES PRÉCIEUSES RIDICULES' (Komedyja Maskaryla. Staropolskie przeklady 'Les Précieuses ridicules')
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The comedy Les Précieuses ridicules was one of the plays by Moliere that became popular in the Polish Commonwealth. Its first Polish adaptation, Komedyja paryska, is an anonymous work. It was composed at the beginning of the 18th century, and it reveals strong ties with the aristocratic stage. To aristocrats we owe three other old Polish translations of the comedy. A translation by Jan Ludwik Plater, Kosztowne duraczki albo Dziwaczki wymyslne, must have been completed before 1736. It is in many respects faithful to the original, but written in the style characteristic of sarmatism. Another translation, written by Marianna Potocka and titled Komedyja... o drozacych sie i wykwintnych bialoglowach, was an attempt to follow Moliere's text very closely. The baroque rendition by Franciszka Urszula Radziwillowa, on the other hand, is composed in verse. Context for these aristocratic translations is provided by an adaptation completed by Franciszek Bohomolec for Jesuit theatre (Kawalerowie modni). Analysis of these texts reveals varied translation techniques and the authors' knowledge, or lack thereof, concerning French culture. It also shows the translators' ability to adapt the play to the Polish circumstances. The old Polish writers who translated Les Précieuses ridicules perceived it as a satire on plebeians while failing, or not wanting, to notice the anti-aristocratic impact of Moliere's original piece. Despite of this, they managed to at least partially make use of the comical qualities of the French play, and noticed the motif of the theatricality of the world present in this comedy.
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