The Reception of Galician Performances and (Re)translations of Shakespeare

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Abstract

This presentation will deal with the reception of performances, translations and retranslations of Shakespeare’s plays into the Galician language. As is well-known, Galician is a Romance language which historically shared a common origin with Portuguese in the Iberian Peninsula, and which had a different evolution due to political reasons, i.e. the independence of Portugal and the recentralization of Spain after a long partition with the so called Catholic monarchs. As a consequence, Galician ceased to be the language of power and culture as it was during the Middle Ages, and was spoken by peasants and the lower classes in private contexts for centuries. With the disappearance of Francoism in the 1970s, the revival of Galician and its use as a language of culture was felt as a key issue by the Galician intelligentsia and by the new autonomous government formed in 1981. In order to increase the number of speakers of the language and to give it cultural respectability, translations and performances of prominent playwrights, and particularly those by Shakespeare were considered instrumental. This article will analyse the use of Shakespeare’s plays as an instrument of gentrification of the Galician language, so that the association with Shakespeare would confer a marginalized language social respectability and prestige.

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