Translation of Antonio Garcia Gutíerrézs El Trovador (the Troubadour)

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Translation from Spanish to English


“In the Introduction to this excellent translation of El trovador Robert Trimble tells us that the work was a huge success with its first-night audience, and even from a summary reading of the play one can readily understand why this might have been so. It is a well-constructed work, easily intelligible to a live audience, and yet within this careful structure there is a powerful depiction of primary emotions. The basic elements of war, rivalry, hatred and love, honour, shame and fear are all given their place in the drama, and these elements are then bound together in a dramatic plot that exploits them to the full. The political and the personal tensions are made to overlap in an easy, unforced way, and in spite of its lyrical title, Garcia Gutierrez never allows the lyrical elements to make us lose sight of the baser concerns of self-love and abuse of authority that are also present. Professor Trimble makes the point in his Introduction that the work "invites the spectator/reader to fill in the blanks" left by the sketchy information about the background of the characters. This, it seems to me, is one of the great strengths of the play, its relentless focus on the conflict between love and duty that is at its centre … The first duty of a translator is to be as faithful to the original text as possible, and Robert Trimble has given us a very faithful rendering in simple English prose of this romantic masterpiece. I have been struck on many occasions in my reading and re-reading of his translation by the detailed care and attention that have been paid to every word in the text. Nothing of any significance has been left out in the transfer from one language to the other. Inevitably on occasion I have compared a putative translation of my own with that of the present text, and in general I have been very impressed by just how close to the original Professor Trimble has managed to come, whereas I might have been tempted to "squeeze" the meaning, for example in some passages of poetry or song. Readers can be assured, therefore, that the copy of the play now in their hands is a true account of Garcia Gutierrez's El trovador. As the translator notes, he has preferred to use prose throughout, doubtless in the interest of achieving a maximum level of fidelity to the original text. Robert Trimble has performed a very valuable service to international culture by making this translation available to students of drama, of romanticism, and of literature in general. It is a pleasure to acknowledge such indebtedness in this Preface and to congratulate Professor Trimble on a job of work consummately achieved.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) James Whiston, General Editor, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, Trinity College, Dublin

“Professor Trimble's translation is a welcome addition to the field of Romantic Spanish drama, not only for the professional but also for the novice reader. The Troubadour remains to this day virtually unknown to an English readership, aside from the classic 1930 edition in Spanish by H.H. Vaughan & M.A. de Vitis, and another one in 1926 by Paul Patrick Rogers; it has also been published together with other romantic plays, always in Spanish … To an English readership, the work is known basically due to Verdi's musical adaptation in his romantic opera II trovatore. By making his version of Garcia Gutierrez's drama readily available to readers, Dr. Trimble is again accomplishing with the present translation the same success his version of the Duke of Rivas's Don Alvaro lafuerza del sino received. It, too, is a play similarly known in operatic circles by Verdi's adaptation in his La forza del destino … Professor Trimble adeptly introduces the drama from the angle more familiar to readers in English. Indeed, by keeping the potential reader in mind, he makes the play available in a divulgative fashion. He approaches the text with the necessary attention to the arcane times depicted in the drama, while he is making the text effectively accessible to the contemporary reader, while accurately portraying and delivering the romantic tensions and themes dear to its first intended Spanish romantic audiences: tradition and order in undeterred conflict with love and hatred as unbound passions which can not be contained by society's rules. Professor Trimble is making another significant work of Spanish Romantic drama understandable and accessible to the general reader. Professor Trimble's vast knowledge and experience in the field of Romantic Spanish dramas, and his translation experience, allows him to deliver once again an excellent translation full of nuances. His work allows the reader to easily follow the complicated argument and relations among the main characters until the surprising climax. His translation proves to be a sound and sensitive work, one that serves as an excellent introduction to Garcia Gutierrez's … Professor Trimble's translation attests to a taste for prudent choices in the search for the right term, and a good sense of the correct English phrase and expression that best conveys the original. This is particularly true of his renditions of the most charged lyrical passages. Here Professor Trimble's translation proves to be sensitive and even intuitive, with a great degree of elegance and appropriateness in his choice of words and with a good sense for the turn of phrases. This translation shows sensitivity to the various historical, linguistic and poetic registers that are comprised in Garcia Gutierrez's work. All of these factors combine to provide the reader with an excellent translation of El trovador.” – Professor Jose Antonio Rico-Ferrer , Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN

“Robert G. Trimble has provided both professional and causal readers with a textually accurate yet compelling translation of Antonio Gutierrez's 1836 romantic-era drama, El trovador. Through this translation, the non-Spanish speaking reader will be able to fully appreciate the passion, conflict, and contradictions present in this work and by extension, the larger corpus of Spanish Romantic drama. Professor Trimble is already known for his admirable translations of other important works of this genre, including Angel de Saavedra's Don Alvaro and Jose Zorilla's Don Juan Tenorio, and the present translation is no exception. A particular strength of this work is Professor Trimble's sensitivity to the needs and background know ledge of the modem reader … Professor Trimble's translation retains the lyricism and emotional exuberance of Gutierrez's verse. In this translation the work's characters are able to express not only the factual meaning of their words- their ill-fated love, their thirst for vengeance, and their struggle against an unjust fate- but also much of the color, passion and subtle nuances without which the work would be fatally diminished. Professor Trimble's translation of The Troubadour is a welcome and needed contribution to the growing body of Spanish literary treasures which heretofore have been unavailable to the English-speaking world.” – Dr. Sean McDaniel, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Works Consulted
Title Page with List of Characters
Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

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