Mutilated Mellors: The Strange Story of Lady Chatterley's Lover in Portugal
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The period between 1968 and 1970 came to be known as “Primavera marcellista”; so, Lady Chatterley’s Lover , like many other previously unpublishable books, came out, signalling an “opportunist” strategy. However, no traces in this translation are left of any of the taboo words that Lawrence went so far to defend and which constitute a key element in the intended meaning of the novel. The next episode takes place in 1975, when a translation of the novel came out bearing the name of a different translator. Meanwhile the political and social context had changed dramatically owing to the 1974 revolution which restored democracy to the country and, at least as regards the book as cultural medium, put an end overnight to the categories of subversion and pornography. In such circumstances one should expect the “phallic” language to be restored to the portuguese retranslation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. However, much to author’s surprise nothing of the sort happened; furthermore, when he compares the 1975 target text with the first translation, he’s struck by the high degree of textual similarity of the both. According to Toury (1996), the conservatism in translation implies using target-system repertoires that have ceased to be innovative and became ossified on the margins of canonical culture. In the light of Lefevere’s (1985) conception, nevertheless, it seems that there is no theoretical need to restrict conservatism in translation to the repertoire. It is perfectly sensible to posit that secondary ideological models – or residual cultural practices may also be at work, moulding target texts into a peripheral position. The story of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in Portugal may very well offer empirical evidence of this.
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