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Cardinal, Marie

Translator and novelist born in Alger, Algeria in 1929, died in Avignon, France, May 9, 2001. Marie Cardinal was part of a theatrical family: she was married to Jean-Pierre Ronfard, and the mother of Alice Ronfard.

She was a deeply intellectual and fervent theatre artist, and believed that translation is not only the enabling of the text but also the inspiration for the performing artist who must speak the words. She has a horror of embalmed text and her translations are usually seen as revivals of the work's energies.

Her translations of Euripides' Medée/Medea and Les Troyennes/Trojan Women both for Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (the former directed by her husband in 1986, the latter by her daughter in 1993) were extremely well received. The work delighted her even as it proved its difficulty: "I read, reread, rereread, rerereread, until each speech was in my head, until I had the impression I understood the necessity for each word."

Her novels had been translated into 26 languages.

Sources: Eve Dumas. "Mort d'une femme de lettres unique," La Presse, Montreal, 10 May 2001. "Obituary: Marie Cardinal," Canadian Press, 11 May 2001.

Profile by Gaetan Charlebois

Last updated 2020-09-02