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Performing recognition : El castigo sin venganza and the politics of the ‘literal’ translation

Maitland, Sarah


Sarah Maitland


In Lope’s Ferrara, honour is a function of public perception. The Duke has been betrayed but cannot seek justice without making his betrayal public, destroying his reputation and shattering his legitimacy to rule. Only by seeking revenge in private can he keep his honour intact. In this ‘politics of recognition’, personal identity and public perception are so intertwined that the Duke’s every action is mediated by the critical regime to which he is subject. When translating the play for performance in English, translators enact a similar politics: each perceives different phenomena worthy of a fresh approach and each imputes different meanings to what they perceive; this critical gaze directs the course a translation takes. Through the illuminating discourse of the politics of recognition, and using the author’s experience of providing a ‘literal’ translation for the Theatre Royal Bath, it argues for a renewed understanding of the critical dimension of literal translation, as a series of tactical moves and strategic decisions, taken on a private level in the service of public performance.


Maitland, S. (2015). Performing recognition : El castigo sin venganza and the politics of the ‘literal’ translation. Bulletin of the Comediantes, 67(1), 37-56.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2015
Publication Date 2015
Deposit Date Jul 6, 2015
Publicly Available Date Dec 31, 2015
Journal Bulletin of the comediantes
Print ISSN 0007-5108
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 67
Issue 1
Pages 37-56
Keywords Vega, Lope de, 1562-1635, Translation
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Bulletin of the comediantes, 2015, v.67, issue 1.


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