Questions of status: Macbeth in Quebecois and Scots

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This article compares two translations of Macbeth: one into Quebecois by Michel Garneau, and the other into Lowland Scots by R. L. C. Lorimer. Recent analysis of these outstanding examples of minority translation practice has tended to overlook the critical after-life that has contributed to the classic status of the Scottish play. The article asks whether this matters, and uses insights first developed by New Historicist critics to revise and nuance Annie Brisset's powerful critique of the ethnocentrism of the Garneau translation, suggesting that the banished figure of the 'foreign' in fact returns through the material signs of its erasure. R. L. C. Lorimer's 'restoration' of the figure of Mary, Queen of Scots, to the royal line hallucinated by Macbeth works in a similar way. This gives rise to the argument that historicizing vernaculars, provided they are used in an ironic, self-conscious manner by translators, can create dramatic texts that speak to and about the complex cultural and linguistic histories and realities of aspiring nation states and the central role played by translation in this context. Such translations further complicate Venuti's distinction between foreignizing and domesticating translation strategies. 46 References. Adapted from the source document
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-100
Number of pages27
JournalTranslator: Studies in Intercultural Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2002


  • Literary Translation
  • Quebec
  • Scots
  • Colloquial Language
  • Translation Methods
  • Strategies
  • Rhetorical Figures
  • Literary Criticism


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