The Histoire des traductions en langue française, published in France by Verdier and edited by Jean-Yves Masson and Yves Chevrel, is a history of translated works, rather than of translation itself, which aims at assessing and re-evaluating the crucial impact of translated works and translators on the francophone cultural and literary heritage, including translations produced outside France, notably in Québec, French-speaking Belgium and Switzerland. The project spans a vast historical period running from the Middle Ages to the end of the 20th century, covering large and small linguistic areas alike and embracing all fields of knowledge, including the traditional branches of literature (fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction) and their genres (essays, graphic novels, crime fiction, fantasy, etc.), as well as philosophy, sciences, religion, law and history.
While only fragmentary and incomplete data had been available so far, this four-volume collaborative history of translations in French relies on the expertise of dozens of scholars and translators who have gathered material pertaining to the history of translation and translators as well as statistical data and case studies, some of which draw on unpublished sources. Volumes II (17th and 18th centuries) and III (19th century) were published in 2014 and 2012, respectively, while Volumes I (15th and 16th centuries) and IV (20th century) will appear in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Volume IV is edited by Jean-Yves Masson, Bernard Banoun and Isabelle Poulin.
Véronique Béghain is a full professor at the Université Bordeaux Montaigne. She is the author of John Cheever (Belin, 2000), Les Aventures de Mao en Amérique (P.U.F., 2008), chapters of books and articles on American literature (Cheever, Baker, Pancake, Tuten, Cather, Everett), American art (Pop Art, Avedon), American opera and translation. She has translated works by O. Wilde, C. Brontë, F. S. Fitzgerald, D. Schwartz, R. Galchen, as well as books and articles in philosophy and art history. She has recently edited the volume Quand l’Europe retraduit The Great Gatsby (P.U.B., 2013) and is currently working on a new translation of Jack London’s The People of the Abyss for Gallimard (forthcoming in 2016). She is the head of a M.A. program in translation and a contributor to the 4th volume of the Histoire des traductions en langue française (20th century), forthcoming in 2016.