SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS IN SPANISH:
Apart from the Velasco prose translations, Eduardo Juliá (pp. 180-182) documented four Spanish verse translations by Miguel Antonio Caro, ten by José de Armas and three by one Julio "Acebal," published in literary journals, as well as eleven by Fernando Maristany, published in his own 1918 anthology. As far as Alfonso Par is concerned, he did not incorporate Armas or "Acebal" in his Contribución, but added two anthologies (pp. 81-82) which included new translations: two by Fernando Maristany in one of them (1920), and in the other, nine by José Pablo Rivas, five by Carmela Eulate and one by Gabriel de Zéndegui. This second anthology, devoted entirely to Shakespeare, shows no date of publication (though Par erroneously gives 1920), but may have come out around 1922. Leaving out the prose renderings by Matías de Velasco, and bringing together the information in Juliá and Par, the list of Spanish verse translators and translated sonnets up to the early 1920s is as follows:(4)
All these bibliographical data were used by Micaela Muñoz in her work on the Spanish translations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. The bulk of it was her doctoral dissertation, entitled Ediciones y traducciones españolas de los sonetos de William Shakespeare: análisis y valoración crítica, read in 1986 and published in various formats over the following three years. In it she critically examined and contrasted various Spanish translations of ten Shakespearean sonnets. Then she published two derivative articles on the same subject. Clearly, the work of documentation by Juliá, Par and Muñoz has been crucial, and we must be indebted to their efforts, which have made later research an easier task. However, their work also shows errors and omissions which need to be amended.
In her "Los sonetos de Shakespeare: traductores y traducciones españolas" (1987), Muñoz offered a list of translators and translations, and corrected some mistakes and omissions by Juliá and Par. Thus she pointed out that Caro’s renderings had been published in Latin America in 1891 —i.e., one year earlier than they began to appear in Spain— and that Par did not mention the names of the translators in one of the two anthologies (Eulate, Maristany, Rivas and Zéndegui). However, she omitted the 1920 Florilegio listed in Par —though the two new translations by Maristany included in it are mentioned by her (p. 94)— and, repeating an error in Par, she gave the 1920 date to the undated Shakespeare anthology. Muñoz rightly showed that the surname "Acebal" was Juliá’s misspelling of "Arceval" —a mistake later repeated by Ángeles Serrano—, but did not find out that "Julio Arceval" was the pseudonym of none other than Salvador de Madariaga. The true identity behind the pseudonym was made clear in a later issue of the same literary review where he had brought out his translations,(6) as well as in other publications, particularly in his Manojo de poesías inglesas (Cardiff, 1919), published under his real name, in which he included his three translations of Shakespearean sonnets.
Following Par, Micaela Muñoz mentioned that Zéndegui’s rendering had first appeared in his Sones de la lira inglesa (Oxford, 1920) and omitted the first publication of Rivas’s translations, which had appeared in his own Antología de poetas extranjeros antiguos y contemporáneos (Madrid, 1920). This anthology shows that Rivas had also translated Shakespeare’s sonnet 71, which was not included in the Shakespeare anthology and has, therefore, been absent from Par and Muñoz. Then, neither of them mentions the first publication of Carmela Eulate’s translations, although, had they tried to document them, they would have found that these had apparently never been published before. According to her biographer, Eulate was preparing an Antología de poetas norteamericanos e ingleses, which surely would have included her versions of these Shakesperean sonnets, but was never published.(7)
The other derivative article by Micaela Muñoz (1989) was devoted to the translators of Shakespearean sonnets in the 19th century, in which, following Juliá and Par, she wrote on Matías de Velasco and Miguel Antonio Caro, who was discussed as a Colombian man of letters. As I shall explain, the national origin of these early verse translators has been overlooked or, at best, taken for granted, when, I think, it may be more significant than meets the eye. Of the seven early translators discussed so far, only Madariaga and Maristany were Spanish. Neither Juliá, nor Par, nor Muñoz mention that Matías de Velasco, Marqués de Dos Hermanas, was actually Cuban,(8) as were Gabriel de Zéndegui and José de Armas —Juliá, however, does specify (p. 30) that Armas was a "crítico cubano". Neither do they inform us that Carmela Eulate was Puerto Rican or that José Pablo Rivas was Mexican. It is true that Velasco, Armas, Eulate and Rivas were residing in Spain, where their renderings came out in first or second publication. I shall come back to this Latin American presence later.
In effect, all these new versions lead us to reconsider the dating of the first Spanish translations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Unfortunately, this anthology does not mention the date of the first publications of the translations included, but in one case I have been able to find its first publication, and in the others that are relevant some reasonable guesses can be made. Let us look at these two cases briefly, before we discuss the new translations.
In the first place, the Velasco version of sonnet 149 was included in his own book of sonnets, published in 1889. If he had not entitled it "Traducción de Shakspeare," it could have passed as an original poem, since it was cast in the mould of the Italian sonnet, like the others in his book. This may be the first Spanish rendering of a Shakespearean sonnet in the sonnet form, and is at least the first of its kind whose first publication date is known. The other candidate which this anthology has revealed is the translation of sonnet 111 by the Gibraltarian Guillermo (or William) Macpherson (wrongly indicated as "III"), but I have not been able to trace its first publication. Macpherson translated twenty-three Shakespearean plays into Spanish between 1873 and 1897. As he was born in 1824 and died in 1898, his version might predate Velasco’s, and even Velasco’s 1877 prose renderings.
Matías de Velasco's rhymed version of sonnet 149
Coming back to the anthology, we can see that it includes translations published previously by Maristany, Eulate, Caro and Armas, but none by Madariaga, Rivas or Zéndegui — it does include only one by Maristany (106) and four by Eulate, but not that of sonnet 32. Leaving aside the free verse translations by Pérez Bonalde, the list of new Spanish verse translators and translated sonnets included in it reads as follows:
Velasco and Macpherson have already been discussed. Rafael Pombo (1833-1912) was Poet Laureate in his native Colombia. He may have translated Shakespeare and other poets because of the influence of English and North-American lyrical poetry on his own work. His verse translations of Shakespearean sonnets were published posthumously.(11) Some of them were dated 1893 and 1897.
Rafael Pombo's version of sonnet 73
Guillermo Belmonte's version of sonnet 31
To the best of my knowledge, this important anthology has only been mentioned by Miguel Gallego Roca, but unfortunately, the author discusses what is a seven-volume anthology in barely two pages, and says that it includes the translations of all the sonnets by Shakespeare, when it facts it conetains only a selection of them.(14) As for the renderings of Shakesperean sonnets in the anthology, a number of them show obvious misprints and errors of various kinds, particularly when set against the texts in their first publications or the original English poems.
Following those who study poetic translation in terms of purely linguistic fidelity, we may be inclined to agree that, as translations, a number of these early verse renderings are quite free or less faithful than some of the more recent ones. Micaela Muñoz, for one, calls them "traducciones perturbadoras" (disturbing translations).(17) It is not the purpose of this article to argue about the pros and cons of translating poetry, let alone about the right method of assessing verse translation. Like all renderings of Shakespearen sonnets in sonnet form, these early verse translations confirm the fact that translating poetry as poetry is a special activity that goes over and beyond the translator’s linguistic abilities and calls for freedom in the translating process for the sake of creativity and poetic tension. In other words, it forces the poetic translator by necessity to avoid literalness and to offer a different form of fidelity. This explains why some translators of Shakespearean sonnets are loath to use the terms "translate" and "translation" for their activity. Madariaga, for one, referred to his poetic translations as "transcreaciones,"(18) and the Chilean Tomás Gray, who translated the complete cycle of Shakespearean sonnets as sonnets, called them "interpretaciones" or "aproximaciones".(19) This being the case, it would seem more fruitful to discuss literary translation as a privileged field of operations for aesthetic discussion as Borges did, and to which we could now add "and for cultural discussion". If we look upon literary translation as translated literature,we can understand that it is studied not only within Translation Studies, but as a subject of Hermeneutics, Literary History, Literary Theory, Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Reception Studies. The present interest in the reception of Shakespeare’s work in Europe —and the whole world at large— and the recent publication of a fully documented anthology of Shakespearean sonnets in more than sixty languages offers a wide scope for comparative studies in various areas.(20) Let me refer to just a few instances from the translated sonnets under discussion.
As is well known, poetic translation has made it possible to widen the field of versification, to enrich literary traditions and to fertilize new forms in national literatures. Obviously, these early Spanish verse translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets could not do for Spanish or Hispanic literatures what Wyatt’s and Surrey’s translations and adaptations from Petrach did for the sonnet in English in the 16th century. However, and as Miguel Gallego points out, at the beginning of the 20th century poetic translation in Spain was an instrument for updating both remote and immediate traditions, and it had an important role in the critical and aesthetic shaping of avantguard movements. In this context, he brings up the case of poet Gerardo Diego, who discussed the structure of the Elizabethan sonnet, admitted the aesthetic possibilities that this form may have in Spanish and wrote and translated Elizabethan sonnets himself.(21) Gallego believes that, among the early Spanish translations of Shakespearean sonnets, those rendered as Elizabethan sonnets must have been crucial for the acceptance of the final couplet by Spanish-speaking critics and poets,(22) despite the difficulty of adapting it to the Spanish literary system.
Moreover, what in Translation Studies, especially those with a strictly linguistic approach, tends to be regarded as infidelity and even anathema, may be of interest for such areas as Comparative Literature, Reception Studies or Cultural Studies. One of the earliest verse translators of Shakespeare’s sonnets, the Colombian Rafael Pombo, otherwise a competent poet and translator, renders "nature" as "God" in sonnet 11, and in sonnet 13 he incorporates references to "God" and "the Lord" that are nowhere to be found in the original. A merely linguistic approach would not be of much help here. On the other hand, suspecting a religious and ideological intention behind these changes, a student of these versions would have to investigate the ideology of the poet-translator, his cultural and literary background, his poetry and his other translations, the circumstances that led him to translate these sonnets and even their possible influence or effects. In the process, this student might discover that Pombo is not the only literary translator bent on ideological and religious manipulation of the originals, and may wish to compare him with others in different literatures and cultures, and so come to valuable and wide-ranging conclusions.
Then we find that Martí-Miquel in sonnet 66, Pombo in 27, Caro in 43, Maristany in 18 and Madariaga in 104 change the gender of the fair youth who is supposed to be the dedicatee of the first 126 sonnets. Again, here one would have to ask if the gender was changed for reasons of rhyme, or if the translators were not aware that the dedicatee was a man, or if they applied self-censorship for fear of displaying the homoeroticism that has often been pointed out in this first group of Shakespearean sonnets. Again, a student of these versions would find out that a similar decision was also taken by other translators (see, for one, Tomás Gray’s rendering of sonnet 10), learn sooner or later that this gender-shift was first operated by John Benson in the 17th century,(23) and so investigate into the possible influence of this English edition on these and other translators of the sonnets, both into Spanish and into other languages. And so on and so forth.
By providing evidence of these early versions of
Shakespearean sonnets into Spanish, this article contributes in
the first place to complementing the documentation on "Shakespeare
in Spain" in general, and that of the Spanish versions of his
sonnets in particular. Since these translations constitute the beginnings
of Shakespeare’s poetry in Spain, and the early phases of
such phenomena may in many cases have a durable effect, they have
an extra importance as documents for the early reception of Shakespeare’s
poetry in the country. Furthermore, and as I have attempted to show,
they may encourage further studies beyond the purely linguistic,
both in general and in some particular areas of research within
the fields of Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature and Reception
Studies, especially those devoted to Shakespeare in Europe and in
the rest of the world.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (in chronological order)
(1) SHAKESPEARE’S RECEPTION IN SPAIN. WORKS CITED.
Eduardo JULIÁ MARTÍNEZ, Shakespeare en España. Traducciones, imitaciones e influencia de las obras de Shakespeare en la literatura española, Madrid, Tip. de la "Rev. de Arch., Bibl. y Museos," 1918.
Ricardo RUPPERT Y UJARAVI, Shakespeare en España. Traducciones, imitaciones e influencia de las obras de Shakespeare en la literatura española, Madrid, Tip. de la "Rev. de Arch., Bibl. y Museos," 1920.
Alfonso PAR, Contribución a la bibliografía española de Shakespeare, Barcelona, Instituto del Teatro Nacional, 1930.
———, Shakespeare en la literatura española, I & II, Madrid & Barcelona, Victoriano Suárez & Biblioteca Balmes, 1935.
Ángeles SERRANO RIPOLL, Bibliografía shakespeariana en España: crítica y traducción, Alicante, Instituto de Estudios Alicantinos, 1983.
Micaela MUÑOZ CALVO, Ediciones y traducciones españolas de los sonetos de William Shakespeare: Análisis y valoración crítica, Zaragoza, Universidad de Zaragoza, 1987.
———, "Los Sonetos de Shakespeare: Traductores y traducciones españolas," Miscelánea, 8 (1987), 87-99.
———, "Ediciones y traducciones españolas de los sonetos de William Shakespeare: Análisis y valoración crítica," in Resúmenes de Tesis Doctorales, curso 1985-1986, Zaragoza, Universidad de Zaragoza, 1988.
———, "Traductores de los Sonetos de Shakespeare al castellano en el s. XIX," Fidus Interpres. Actas de las Primeras Jornadas Nacionales de Historia de la Traducción, vol. II, ed. Julio-César Santoyo et al., León, Universidad de León, 1989, p. 115-119.
Miguel GALLEGO ROCA, Poesía importada: traducción poética y renovación literaria en España (1909-1936), Almería, Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad, 1996.
Shakespeare's Sonnets For the First Time Globally Reprinted. A Quartercentenary Anthology 1609-2009, eds. Manfred Pfister and Jürgen Gutsch, Dozwil TG Schweiz, Edition SIGNAThUR, 2009, pp. 83-85, 99-104, 267-268, and 645-655.
(2) EARLY VERSE TRANSLATIONS CITED, INCLUDING SONNET NUMBERS.
Matías de VELASCO Y ROJAS, Sonetos,
Madrid, Montoya, 1889, p. 101.
M[iguel]. A[ntonio]. CARO, Sonetos de aquí
y allí. Traducciones y refundiciones, Curazao, Bethencourt,
1891, pp. 12-17.
Jaime MARTÍ-MIQUEL, El ramo de pensamientos.
Poesías de ilustres poetas extranjeros puestas en rima castellana,
Madrid, Teodoro y Alonso, 1895, pp. 145-146.
Flores de luz: Poesías de autores extranjeros puestas
en rima castellana, Valencia, Pascual Aguilar, 1896?, pp. 65,
123, 155 and 195.
José de ARMAS, "Varios sonetos de William
Shakespeare," Cuba contemporánea, IX, 1915,
Julio ARCEVAL [Salvador de MADARIAGA], "Tres
sonetos de Shakespeare," España, 18 mayo 1916,
Rafael POMBO, Traducciones poéticas,
Bogotá, Imprenta Nacional, 1917, PP. 8-12.
Fernando MARISTANY, Las cien mejores poesías
(líricas) de la lengua inglesa, Valencia, Cervantes,
1918, pp. 2-12.
Florilegio. Las mejores poesías líricas griegas,
latinas, italianas, portuguesas, francesas, inglesas y alemanas,
Barcelona, Cervantes, 1920, pp. 487-493.
José Pablo RIVAS, Antología de
poetas extranjeros antiguos y contemporáneos, Madrid,
Hernando, 1920, pp. 50-56.
Miguel SÁNCHEZ PESQUERA (comp.), Antología
de líricos ingleses y angloamericanos, vol. 5, Madrid,
Hernando, 1922, pp. 263-284.
Shakespeare. Las mejores poesías
(líricas) de los mejores poetas IV (Barcelona: Cervantes,
1922?), pp. 11-38.
J[uan]. A[ntonio]. PÉREZ BONALDE, Poesías
y Traducciones (Recopilación), Caracas, Ediciones del
Ministerio de Educación Nacional, 1947, pp. 216-218.
This paper is part of Research Project FFI2008-01969/FILO, funded
by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.
See the first translations published between 1889 and 1896.
© Grupo de Investigación
T-1611, Departamento de Traducción, UAB | Research Group T-1611, Translation Departament, UAB | Grup d'Investigació T-1611, Departament de Traducció, UAB