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Lilies or skelfs: translating queer melodrama

Kinloch, D.P. (2007) Lilies or skelfs: translating queer melodrama. Translator: Studies in Intercultural Communication, 13 (1). pp. 83-103. ISSN 1355-6509

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Michel Marc Bouchard's important Québécois play, Les Feluettes, is often read as 'gay theatre' and consigned to the genre of tragedy. This paper presents a comparative reading of two translations of this play - one into Canadian English and one into Scots - and shows how the Scots version in particular suggests that Bouchard's play is rather an essay in 'queer' melodrama expressive of an anti-essentialist aesthetic. The paper thus highlights the benefits of the 'minority' translation activity of the late Bill Findlay and Martin Bowman, whose work in Scots has deepened the interpretative and performative afterlife of many recent Canadian theatrical texts, most notably those of Québécois dramatist Michel Tremblay.