Brian Friel’s Translations, a Play on Power, Space, and History


  • Maryam Beyad University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
  • Mohammad Bagher Shabanpour University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran



Brian Friel, Translations, Geography, Space, History, Power and Knowledge, Toponym


Geography has received great attention since the 19th century. Kant established it as a discipline which resulted in the development of geographical equipment. Consequently, surveying projects were launched in England. This paper argues that Friel’s Translations depicts the extinction of the Irish culture, done by the Army’s implementation of Ireland Ordnance Survey in 1830, in which Irish/Gaelic toponyms, carrying a great volume of a people’s history, were anglicised. The English Empire strengthened its domination over Ireland through creating new maps of the Northern territories. The paper does a Foucauldian reading of geography, as a contemporary knowledge, which aided the reconstitution of the British power to hamper the contemporary revolutions or invasions. It maintains that Translations is a play on space and history, in which the role of space outweighs that of time, so does the production of a new space and the extinction of old spaces through Ordnance Survey.


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