English Responses to French Poetry 1880-1940
Translation and Mediation

Jennifer Higgins

Legenda (General Series)


12 May 2011  •  166pp

ISBN: 978-1-907625-06-0 (hardback)  •  RRP £80, $110, €95


Between 1880 and 1940, English responses to French poetry evolved from marginalised expressions of admiration associated with rebellion against the 'establishment' to mainstream mutual exchange and appreciation. The translation of poetry underwent a simultaneous evolution, from attempts to produce definitive renderings to definitions of translation as an ongoing, generative process at the centre of literary debate. This study traces the impact of French poetry in England, via a wide range of translations by major poets of the time as well as renderings by now-forgotten writers. It explores poetry and translations beyond the limits of the usual canon, and identifies key moments of influence, from late nineteenth-century English homages to Victor Hugo as a liberal icon, to Ezra Pound re-interpreting Charles Baudelaire for the twentieth century.

Jennifer Higgins holds the Kathleen Bourne Junior Research Fellowship at St Anne's College, Oxford.


  • ‘The account of Huxley’s version of Rimbaud’s ‘Les Chercheuses de poux’ is particularly fine, and laurels awarded to Beckett’s ‘Drunken Boat’ are shown to be well deserved. In this respect, Higgins’s readings are consonant with some of her own general arguments, for she frequently conveys the sense of a critical mind finding out more about the original text, as well as testing the qualities of the translation. In her hands, both French and English texts are made to speak to and of each other.’ — Matthew Creasy, Translation and Literature 21, 2012, 255-61
  • ‘This rewarding book deftly handles — and illuminates — a wide range of sources... a tantalizing taste of a fascinating area for further research.’ — Adam Watt, Modern Language Review 107.3, July 2012, 897-98 (full text online)
  • ‘In the years preceding the Second World War [...] a diminution in the quantity of translated material is compensated for by a greater acknowledgement of the centrality of translation to the development of national — and transnational — literary cultures. This study is to be commended for its consistent advocacy and demonstration of that centrality.’ — Michael G. Kelly, French Studies 66.4 (October 2012), 572

Bibliography entry:

Higgins, Jennifer, English Responses to French Poetry 1880-1940: Translation and Mediation (Legenda, 2011)

First footnote reference: 35 Jennifer Higgins, English Responses to French Poetry 1880-1940: Translation and Mediation (Legenda, 2011), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Higgins, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Higgins, Jennifer. 2011. English Responses to French Poetry 1880-1940: Translation and Mediation (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Higgins 2011: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Higgins 2011: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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