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Translations (Faber Paperbacks) Paperback – 27 Apr 1981


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Product details

  • Paperback: 70 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition (27 April 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571117422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571117420
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 0.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

""Translations" is a modern classic. It engages the intellect as well as the heart, and achieves a profound political and philosophical resonance through the detailed examination of individual lives, of particular people in particular place and time."--"Daily Telegraph" "This is Brian Friel's finest play, his most deeply thought and felt, the most deeply involved with Ireland but also the most universal: haunting and hard, lyrical and erudite, bitter and forgiving, both praise and lament."--"Sunday Times"

Book Description

Translations is Brian Friel's finest play, a modern classic and a profound political and philosophical insight into the individual lives of a small Irish-speaking community living in the townland of Baile Beag in County Donegal.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on 21 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback
From the outset, this might seem like a play chiefly mourning the decline of Irish culture due to the English. If it was as simple and, frankly, boring as this then I wouldn't like it, let alone rate it 5 stars. For me though, this play isn't really 'about' this or anything else. Friel is notorious for refusing to tell people what the 'point' of his plays are and that is probably because with Translations he is not attempting to 'make a point' or argue one view, but to explore various issues without trying to give a definite 'answer'.

The way I see it the purpose of Translations is to present to the mind of the audience members ideas or views which they then can digest and reflect on. This includes issues in the philosophy of language, identity, morality and politics. People have got to realize that Friel is not saying "what the English did was wrong" or "a culture's original language is part of its identity" or "meaning can never be properly translated from one language to another" but to put these and their opposing views out there and create a point of reference for discussion. This ambiguous 'post-modernist' approach ensures the play is not a one-trick pony, it makes it re-readable and perfect for study.

Mistaking views being raised for reflection as Friel expressing personal views leads to a simplistic appreciation of this play which would understandably lead to a poor review. For those reviewers who feel there's not enough action I say this play is not a play of action. And for those reviewers who say the characters are stereotypes I say they obviously skipped the parts with Yolland in them (as well as the fact that in drama arhetypal characters can be used to great effect).

This is, quite simply, a great play.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
Translations now firmly holds a place on A-level and University reading lists everywhere and rightly so. It's a beautiful play which focuses on the potential erosion of Irish Culture along with the eradication of the Gaelic Language and Irish place names, by British troops. However, you don't need to be clued-up on Irish politics to enjoy translations. The moving union between an Irish Speaking Country Girl and a British Solider proves that love only knows one language.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ruthie_uk2001 on 27 Jan 2006
Format: Paperback
Friel's "Translations" is a brilliant book which I had the fortune to study on my A Level syllabus. It works on many levels, and whilst its layers of symbolism can seem complex to begin with, by the end of the play Friel skilfully connects the loose ends together. This is a beautiful story of language and love, as well as the power of language to deceive. I would recommend this to any fan of Anglo-Irish Literature but also as a very good read.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Marcelé on 21 Dec 2004
Format: Paperback
Brian Friel's play "Translations"is most certainly a great read but why isn't there a published recording of it? All students of English, native or foreign, who are interested in languages must read it. However, I'm stunned that in this day and age when most published works have their audio versions, this play of all books, apparently hasn't one accompanying it. I understand that in this play the voices and accents with their intermingling of Latin, Greek, English and Gaelic play an important role. As a French national, I would certainly appreciate listening to it, simply because of all the Gaelic place names whose pronounciation must be known for the play to be enjoyed thoroughly; it'd certainly make sense.
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Format: Paperback
Moving, funny and multi-layered.

Amazing technique of creating an impression of two languages being spoken with the words of one language only. Amazing skill in conjuring up the dialogue of lovers, loaded with emotion, searching for common language where there is none. Or is there?... That place in the play I liked the best.

One star minus to myself for not understanding the ending: ok, Owen repents, but does it solve it all? What about Maire, the most resolute of all, which way she is about to go? Yolland, the sweetest of all - why does Friel kill him? Manus, the most honest, why must he escape? The prophesy in the end of the play by a drunk funny man living in the world of his dreams - is that the final truth???
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Format: Paperback
A short, insightful, easy-to-read play. Friel skillfully creates the illusion that the characters on stage are speaking Irish when, in fact, they are speaking English. Translations is all about languages and the past. How we view the past, how we view how the past views the past - even the 'present day' of the play, as Friel wrote, is now the past to us, and he plays with this inevitability of time and change.
This play is studied at A level and Degree level, but should be read by anyone who is interested in the way that the present speaks of and to the past.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this book as I required it for my English Literature Coursework at school. Some people in my my class found it hard to read and interpret but the book is a lot more interesting than I initially thought it would be. I live in Ireland so it is always nice to read books relating to here. Very interesting to read and I would recommend it to everyone.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sam Mc Donald on 12 Mar 2001
Format: Paperback
Also study this text for A-level english and like evryone else i think its briliant. On the surface it seems simplistic enough, British force English on Irish,thus the Irish rebel, but there are so many ideas and views regarding the nature of language and the conflict between Britian and Ireland. Living in Ireland in find this play particularly fascinating and adore analysising it in depth.
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