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The captivity of translation: the legacy of William Barrett Marshall's Personal Narrative

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Abstract:

In A Personal Narrative of Two Visits to New Zealand, in His Majesty's Ship Alligator, A.D. 1834, William Barrett Marshall draws upon his experiences in New Zealand, specifically his participation in a rescue expedition, to formulate a vigorous critique of military force and irresponsible colonialism, while simultaneously constructing an impassioned argument for the benefits of missionary efforts, both in New Zealand and throughout the British Empire. This paper examines Marshall's narrative in light of postcolonial translation theory, exploring the ways in which the text is itself a selective translation even as Marshall critiques the translations of others, and the ways in which it, and other accounts of the same events, have translated the figure of Betty Guard, a female captive among Maori, in creating colonial narratives of British hegemony and control. As Marshall's text has been translated and re-translated, captured and recaptured, the didactic, seemingly linear tale that it relates has become as multivalent as the voices that Marshall himself translates and has spawned a network of telling that problematizes the very notion of translation that Marshall takes up.

Keywords: Maori; New Zealand; William Barrett Marshall; captivity; missionaries; opacity; silencing; translation; women

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijfs.11.4.581_1

Affiliations: Cornell University.

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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