Thursday 08th of June 2023


Domesticating the opinions of an enlightened foreigner: William Cooke Taylor’s framing of Gustave de Beaumont’s Ireland. Social, Political and Religious (1839)

Patrick Leech, Università di Bologna pdf_icon_30x30


Abstract: Gustave de Beaumont’s sociological and historical analysis of Ireland, L’Irlande: sociale, politique et religieuse, was published in 1839 and translated into English in the same year by the Protestant Irish Unionist journalist and historian, William Cooke Taylor. How could this denunciation of the evils of British rule in Ireland written by a French traveller and journalist be presented to an English readership? Taylor, who had already published a lengthy denunciation of British policy in Ireland, his History of the Civil War in Ireland (1831), as well as an introduction to the Irish rebel exile William Sampson’s Memoirs (1832), chose to frame the text with a “Translator’s Preface” and a large number of notes to the text supporting Beaumont’s arguments. In this way, the translation can be seen as responding to Taylor’s own commitment to providing a critical view of Britain’s policies in Ireland, and an interesting example of the use of paratextual features as a space for the expression of the translator’s voice.


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