History, memory and translation: The case of Hachette Jeunesse's 'Ivanhoé'

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The aim of the paper is first to discuss issues of history and memory from a theoretical point of view before applying these ideas to the examination of a recent abridged French version in the Hachette Jeunesse series (2009) of Walter Scott's well-known novel Ivanhoe which was first published in 1819. The Hachette Jeunesse edition is compared with three other French versions and three English versions, including both full texts and adaptations. Two specific issues are discussed with regard to Hachette Jeunesse's Ivanhoé: firstly the grafting of nonfictional footnotes in the translation abridgement, and secondly modifications of the work which can be related to differences in national memory. It is argued that the particular version of Ivanhoé under study has a strong didactic aim, and that the numerous footnotes giving details of historical and cultural specificities function to pass on memory of the work and also of medieval life to the young readership. The adaptation also omits or downplays items important in British cultural memory (notably the myth of the Norman yoke) and items which do not accord with French cultural memory (the negative view of the Normans and French). This shows how translations are influenced by the particular national memorial context in which they are produced. The study indicates that memory can be an important force in the accomplishment of translations and adaptations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalimpsestes|Palimpsestes
Subtitle of host publicationLe réel en traduction : greffage, traces, mémoire
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherPresses Sorbonne Nouvelle
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

PublisherPresses Sorbonne Nouvelle


  • French and British cultural memory
  • Hachette Jeunesse's Ivanhoé
  • History and memory
  • Non-fictional footnotes
  • Translation abridgement


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