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‘Textual evolution: the transformation of Louis Figuier’s La Terre avant le déluge’

Abstract : In 1863, the French popularizer of science Louis Figuier produced a work that would become a classic of popular science and open up the new field of palaeontology to a wide audience of non-specialists. Its success derived largely from the author's capacity to deploy copious empirical information within an engaging and suggestive narrative framework. This narrative had strong ideological implications, its characteristic pattern of global progression broken by local discontinuities being compatible only with a scheme in which the course of nature was guided by provi-dential design. However, the contemporary English translations of the work did not reproduce this outlook. While Figuier's work remained an effective tool for the popularization of the discipline, the relationship between empirical fact and divine intervention was subtly changed in translation, the English version being more pious and less hostile to evolution than the French original. This paper presents an account of how Figuier's translators achieved this shift in ideological orientation and explores their possible motivations for doing so.
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Contributor : Richard Somerset <>
Submitted on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 4:22:21 PM
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Richard Somerset. ‘Textual evolution: the transformation of Louis Figuier’s La Terre avant le déluge’. The Translator, Taylor and Francis, 2011, 17 (2), pp.255-274. ⟨10.1080/13556509.2011.10799489⟩. ⟨hal-02975773⟩



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