Book reviewClarissa on the Continent: Translation and Seduction. University Park—London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990. 228 pp. ISBN 0-271-00693-5 .
Reviewed by Wilhelm Graeber
Table of contents
Hardly any other French translation of an eighteenth-century novel produced a similar echo and split the critics into two camps like Abbé Prévost's Lettres anglaises, published in 1750-1751. If Thomas O. Beebee—in spite of the already existing painstaking studies—deals again with this first translation of Samuel Richardson's epoch-making Clarissa, this demands an original approach. And in this, indeed, Beebee succeeds. He studies Prévost's version simultaneously with the first German version, Geschichte der Clarissa, eines vornehmen Frauenzimmers, written by the Göttingen orientalist Johann David Michaelis (1749-1753). By their diametrically opposed interpretive strategies these two versions throw light on each other, and interesting findings are promised when Beebee undertakes to pursue the question "how to read translations" (Preface, vii).