Spanish translation/edition of Sophie Treadwell’s play MACHINAL

Now on-line at:

 is my review of:

Maria Dolores Narbona Carrión (ed.), Sophie Treadwell: Contexto teatral, biografía, crítica y traducción de su obra Machinal, Málaga: Universidad de Málaga, 2007, paperback, 193 pp., ISBN 978-84-9747-181-7


The book reviewed is in Spanish but the review is in English: I hope it will interest those concerned with American theatre, US women’s writing, and translation and reception studies.




It is usually stated that significant modern American theatre begins with the work of Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953), but, as with other literary forms, that generic history may also be viewed and re-viewed from a female perspective, and the present volume comes as a timely reminder of the contribution to that same American theatre made all but simultaneously by O’Neill’s contemporary, the journalist, novelist and, above all, dramatist and theatre producer Sophie Treadwell (Stockton, California, 1885 – Tucson, Arizona, 1970). Consisting of diverse editorial material in Spanish and a new translation (the first-ever into Spanish) of Treadwell’s best-known play, Machinal (1928), this book is by definition aimed at a Hispanophone public. The present review, it is hoped, may nonetheless also be of interest to English-speaking readers and scholars, as an index of the reception outside the Anglophone world of women’s theatre from the US and as evidence of the capacity of Sophie Treadwell’s writing to cross borders – as also of the problems and challenges involved in translating a work which, on closer scrutiny, reveals itself to be in some aspects a product of cultural hybridation (Treadwell was of part-Mexican origin, and, from today’s theoretical perspectives, doubly liable to subalternhood).


The volume, edited by María Dolores Narbona Carrión, of the University of Málaga, consists of the following: an introduction and chronology, both by the editor; a study of the theatrical context of the play Machinal, again by the editor; a general account of Treadwell’s life and work, by Miriam López Rodríguez, with a bibliography of writings by and on the author; and a translation into Spanish of Machinal (under the same title), by María Dolores Narbona Carrión and Ricardo Vivancos Pérez



Note added 9 January 2010:


This review has now been published (see blog entry, 7 January2010) – details:

Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies (Midnapore, India), Vol. 6, January 2010, pp. 175-187;


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