chapter  4
Théramène and the Wave
WithAmy Wygant
Pages 34

The project of domesticating Longinus, of first translating and then transporting and re-exemplifying the Longinian text, has led to the transformation of the critical concerns of the original, all the while, however, retaining its forms and terms. By 1701, there was a French sublime, but it was inaugural. By 1738, there was a French classic, but it too was inaugural. After quoting Nicolas Boileau on the establishment of the French classic on the basis of translations, d'Olivet in the preface to the 1738 Remarques first approves of what he calls Boileau's 'idée solide'. D'Olivet thus appropriates Boileau's critical structure, the establishment of the French classic, but entirely transforms its content. In this, he duplicates the gesture of Boileau's 1701 preface. There, the structure of the Longinian sublime had been retained, but its content transformed. Further, as d'Olivet evidently sees clearly, the problem which must be eliminated in this case is also that of translation.