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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay attends to the translation, publication and reception of Victorian novels in France during the Victorian period. Of central importance to the novel in France were the periodicals that mediated their introduction into the culture. Modeled after the British reviews, French periodicals published reviews, extracts, serialized novels, short stories, and articles on both general subjects and specific authors. In addition to periodical editors, book publishers and translators determined the availability of British novels in France. Generally speaking, publishers and translators gravitated towards critically-acclaimed or best-selling works, rather than searching out new work, and tended to focus on individual authors rather than genres. British children’s fiction was among the most popular genres but was nearly always adapted rather than translated in order to ensure that French readers were not derailed by British cultural references. So too French publishers added paratextual material (usually a preface) that puffed the book. French reception of the Victorian novel was not surprisingly mixed, and many a review, comparing the British novel to the well-established French novel, castigated the former. Nevertheless, the Victorian novel made an impact on French readers and writers that continues on into this century.

Keywords: Advertisements, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lewis Carroll, Children’s fiction, Criticism, Cultural exchange, Charles Dickens, France, Periodicals, Prefaces, Publishers, Revue britannique, Revue des deux mondes, Translators

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