Critical introduction to William Kenrick’s Preface (J.J. Rousseau’s Eloisa)
Isabelle Bour, Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris3

(work in progress)

Article published on 14 November 2012 by Chantal Schutz
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William Kenrick (1729/30-1779) was a typical eighteenth-century hackwriter. He is the author of verse satires and plays (some of which were successful), he was a contributor to and editor of several periodicals, he gave public lectures on Shakespeare, he is the author of a dictionary of the English language. His translations are probably his most significant work.

He was both very energetic and learned but liked controversy too much and fell out with many people he worked with. He even tried to pick a quarrel with Samuel Johnson over the latter’s edition of the works of Shakespeare. His arrogance and self-confidence come across in the preface to his translation of La Nouvelle Héloïse, which also shows him to be a thoughtful translator from French, a language which he had a very good command of, having spent some time in France in the 1750s.

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