Volume 47, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
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The incorporation of English novels into the Spanish literary system during the 18th century is characterized, in general terms, by their late appearance, especially if a comparison is drawn with other European countries, and by French mediation. One of the most illustrative examples is the assimilation process followed by Robinson Crusoe. This work, written by Daniel Defoe in 1719, appears for the first time in Spain in 1826 — more than 100 years after it was originally written — in an abridged version for children. This paper aims to explore some of the many factors that may play a part in the late appearance of this novel and its reception as a juvenile or children’s book. Apart from the sociopolitical circumstances that turned Spain into a country which was very suspicious of foreign influence, an important factor to take into account is the influence of the French mediation. The introductory role played by mediator systems involves a filtered way of access through which the mediating culture reveals its own points of view and aesthetic criteria. Most of the 19th-century Spanish translations of Robinson Crusoe are secondhand translations from French and inherit the didactic and moralizing interpretation that the French makes of Robinson Crusoe. But the reading of Defoe’s work as juvenile or children’s literature is not only the result of the mediator system; it is also a consequence of the literary tradition to which the text is attached. When this work was imported there was an established tradition of Robinsonades that influenced its reading and interpretation and had created a particular set of expectations in the reader. This study also tries to analyze the different strategies used by Spanish translators in order to adapt Defoe’s novel to the poetic and ideological expectations of its potential readers and to the new function assigned to the text in the new cultural context.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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