Saturday 22 January 2011

A French Review of The Female Spectator

The following review of Haywood’s Female Spectator appears in the Mercure de France (April 1751): 150–51.

This review is very slightly later than the reviews quoted in my Bibliography (482–83), the information is the same (that the translation was revised) and the assessments are also much the same (both good and bad).

Still, it is always useful to find evidence that establishes that these are consensus views, so I have transcribed the review and translated it (with the generous assistance, once again, of Prof. Wallace Kirsop).

* * * * *

La Spectatrice, ouvrage traduit de l’Anglois. A Paris, chez Rollin, fils, Bauche, fils, & Pissot. Deux vol. in-12. 1751.
  Si on jugeoit de cette nouveauté, par la Traduction qui en parut l’année derniere en Hollande, on s’en formeroit une idée injuste. Cette Traduction a été remaniée à Paris par un homme d’esprit & de goût: nous l’avons lûe avec plaisir, & nous croyons que nos Lecteurs nous sçaurons [sic] gré de la leur avoir fait connoître. Ce n’est pas un ouvrage de la force du Spectateur, mais ce n’est pas un ouvrage sans mérite: il roule presqu’entierement sur l’amour & sur les femmes. Mademoiselle Hayvood [sic], qu’on en croit Auteur, respecte la Religion & les moeurs. Cette remarque ne doit pas paroître inutile dans le siécle où nous sommes.

[The Female Spectator, a work translated from English … Two volumes in 12mo. 1751.]
  If one were to judge of this new publication, by the translation of it that appeared last year in Holland, one would form an unjust idea of it. This translation was revised in Paris by a man of wit and taste: we have read it with pleasure; we believe that our readers will be grateful to us for having made it known to them. This is not a work of the force of the Spectator, but this is not a work without merit: it turns almost entirely on love and women. Miss Hayvood [sic], who is believed to be the author of it, respects religion and morality. This remark should not appear useless in the century we are in.

[UPDATED 18 March 2017]

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