International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies (2018-04-01)

“Kiss Me on the Lips, for I Love You” Over A Century of Heterosexism in the Spanish Translation of Oscar Wilde

  • Sol Rojas-Lizana,
  • Laura Tolton,
  • Emily Hannah

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 2
pp. 9 – 18


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The translation of sexuality has proven to be challenging throughout the times due to the dominant mores at the time of translation. Framed within Critical Translation Studies, this article examines cases of heterosexist manipulation in the Spanish translation of “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde. It proposes that Wilde’s specific intent in using the fairy tale genre is not transmitted in any Spanish version of the story, from its first translation in 1900 to date (2018). We show that the translations manipulate both grammatical gender and sexuality in such a way that one of the messages of the story, the value of homosexual love, is omitted entirely to become the standard and conventional view of sexuality that dominates contemporary Western tradition. The article indicates the linguistic, stylistic and cultural choices that should be considered for a new translation of the story.