The Polish translation of The congress of Cythera and its feminist accents
Marianna Maliszewska made a significant contribution to the Polish reception of two Italian writers, famous throughout the Enlightenment Europe. In both translations which reached Polish readers in the 1780s, she made her mark as an active participant in the cultural life, thoroughly familiar with the Italian language and Italian culture. Translating Carlo Goldoni’s comedy L’amante militare, she displayed a sound knowledge of the dell’arte tradition, and when translating Francesco Algarotti’s romance The congress of Cythera, she showed a critical attitude towards Arcadia. With her creative approach to translated texts Maliszewska is an example of conscious cultural mediation based on direct experience of Italy. The Polish version of the romance was created for a new type of readers (less important details of the foreign reality were omitted), but these new readers were not provided with any information in the paratexts that could compensate for the difference in competence between the new readers and the educated readers of the original. Maliszewska used the publication of this translation, which — as in the case of the earlier translation of the comedy — she did not adapt for Polish readers, to express the belief that the position of women in the cultural market was difficult, an opinion that was reflected in some of the modifications in the translated text.