Through the methodology of Cultural, Gender and Translation Studies, as well as feminist literary criticism, this essay examines the ways in which classical texts with an explicit sexual contents, or socially unacceptable because homoerotic, circulate within Victorian culture through a number of translation and editorial strategies. If, on the one hand, the Victorian age has been called «the great age of expurgation», on the other hand, Victorian Britain witnesses a proliferation of discourses on sex and sexuality. In the second half of the 19th century pornography flourishes, while anthropology and sexology make sexual desire an object of ‘scientific’ study: all of these discourses make full use of classical texts in translation. Concomitantly, late-Victorian Hellenism plays a central role in the reconfiguration of discourses on sexuality and gender: classical antiquity is evoked in order to culturally legitimise male homosexuality, while the homoerotic language of Sappho’s poetry, suppressed in translation, towards the end of the century is revealed to the general public in Henry Wharton’s collection Sappho. This volume inspires the creation of a new, openly homoerotic poetic language, in the Sapphic lyrics contained in Long Ago, by ‘Michael Field’ (Katherine Bradley e Edith Cooper). The translation of ‘forbidden’ classics, far from being merely the object of bowdlerization, emerges as one of the cultural areas that regulate and, at the same time, stimulate the production of discourses on sex in Victorian Britain, as well as the creation of new poetic languages in English literature.

I classici ‘proibiti’ nell’età vittoriana tra pornografia e poesia saffica

Stefania Arcara
2019

Abstract

Through the methodology of Cultural, Gender and Translation Studies, as well as feminist literary criticism, this essay examines the ways in which classical texts with an explicit sexual contents, or socially unacceptable because homoerotic, circulate within Victorian culture through a number of translation and editorial strategies. If, on the one hand, the Victorian age has been called «the great age of expurgation», on the other hand, Victorian Britain witnesses a proliferation of discourses on sex and sexuality. In the second half of the 19th century pornography flourishes, while anthropology and sexology make sexual desire an object of ‘scientific’ study: all of these discourses make full use of classical texts in translation. Concomitantly, late-Victorian Hellenism plays a central role in the reconfiguration of discourses on sexuality and gender: classical antiquity is evoked in order to culturally legitimise male homosexuality, while the homoerotic language of Sappho’s poetry, suppressed in translation, towards the end of the century is revealed to the general public in Henry Wharton’s collection Sappho. This volume inspires the creation of a new, openly homoerotic poetic language, in the Sapphic lyrics contained in Long Ago, by ‘Michael Field’ (Katherine Bradley e Edith Cooper). The translation of ‘forbidden’ classics, far from being merely the object of bowdlerization, emerges as one of the cultural areas that regulate and, at the same time, stimulate the production of discourses on sex in Victorian Britain, as well as the creation of new poetic languages in English literature.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/374414
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