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D. Self-Translators
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For example, although it was not widely known at the time in Europe or America, the very popular Letters of an American Farmer (London, 1782-1787) were actually the work of a Frenchman recently arrived in America, Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur (Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur, 1735-1813), speaking through the voice of Joseph, his fictional “American farmer”. When he returned to Paris in 1781, Crèvecoeur published his translation (and amplification) of his American text in French as Lettres d’un cultivateur américain depuis l’année 1770 jusqu’à 1781 (1784-1787). Still considered today one of the keystones of United States literature, this text was, in the early modern welter of new cultural spaces and languages, the work of a Frenchman. He seemed, in English, anti-royalist and sympathetic with the colonists, but in his later self-translation he somewhat dropped the guise of “American farmer” and, overall, seemed rather more sympathetic to the British (see Cook 1996; Ruttenberg 1998; and the biography of Crèvecoeur by Allen and Asselineau 1987). Such early modern self-translation, as in the bilingual texts studied below by John Donne and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in poetry of the seventeenth century, and Carlo Goldoni in theatre of the eighteenth century, faced a new kind of challenge in addressing worldspanning audiences.