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Translations and Semi-Peripheral Cultures

Worlding the Romanian Novel in the Modern Literary System

by Alex Goldiș (Volume editor) Ștefan Baghiu (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 234 Pages

Summary

With the acceleration of the globalization process over the last decades, the understanding of translations as privileged forms of cultural interference has constantly advanced. However, a translational approach to national cultures is absent from the concerns of histories of national literatures published to date. The overall objective of the book is to investigate the systemic impact of translations on the evolution of the Romanian novel, from its inception to the present day. This systemic approach consists of a two-fold analysis (quantitative and morphological), while the term ‘evolution’ refers to the development of the phenomenon in relation to the agents that have fashioned its dynamics—not only cultural but also political, social, or economic.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgment
  • Table of Contents
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Introduction
  • For a Translational Approach to National Literary Markets (Alex Goldiș and Ștefan Baghiu)
  • The Uneven Exchange within World Literature
  • Exaptive Translations: The Change in Function of Imported Novels over Time (Ștefan Baghiu)
  • Writing Transnational Histories of “National” Literatures: Baudelaire and Proust as Romanian Authors (Andrei Terian)
  • Import and Translation: The Infrastructure of the Romanian Novel Market in the Twentieth Century (Alex Goldiș)
  • Transnational Networks, Translational Canons: Foreign Literatures in the Romanian Interwar Periodical Culture (Emanuel Modoc)
  • Market Selection and Inter-peripheral Imports
  • The Rise of the Realist Novel in Romanian Literature: Translations, Foreign Models, Ideologies (Adriana Stan)
  • A Literary Form and Its Peripheral Uses: (French) Naturalism in Romania and Brazil (Daiana Gârdan)
  • Exceptionally Dysfunctional: The Reception of American Literary and Political Imagery in the Interwar Romanian Press (Ana Țăranu and Claudiu Turcuș)
  • Peripheral Modernisms: The Interwar Translation of East-Central European Novels in Romanian (Cosmin Borza)
  • Translating the North: From Norientalism to Interperipherality (Ovio Olaru)
  • Social Entanglements and Cultural Transfers
  • Romanian Women’s Writing Abroad: The Translation of the Novel Written by Women during the Socialist Realist Era (Ioana Moroșan)
  • Translating Literature about Former Yugoslavia into Romanian: The Role of Literary Prizes and Festivals (Snejana Ung)
  • Revising the National Literary History: Three Anthologies of Romanian Literature Translated into French (Crina Bud)
  • List of Illustrations

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Notes on Contributors

Ştefan Baghiu is an assistant professor of Romanian Literature and Literary Theory with the Department of Romance Studies at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu. His PhD thesis consists of a quantitative analysis of the translation of novels in Romania during the communist period. He has authored several articles on Romanian literature such as “The Functions of Socialist Realism: Translation of Genre Fiction in Communist Romania,” Primerjalna književnost (Ljubljana) 42.1 (2019) and “Translating Hemispheres: Eastern Europe and the Global South Connection through Translationscapes of Poverty” in Comparative Literature Studies (Penn University, USA), 56.3 (2019) and his main fields of research include literary translation as a cultural phenomenon, quantitative literary research, cultural studies, and Romanian post-war literature. He co-edited The Culture of Translation in Romania (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018), Ruralism and Literature in Romania (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2019), and Beyond the Iron Curtain: Revisiting the Literary System of Communist Romania (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2021).

Cosmin Borza is a senior researcher at the “Sextil Puşcariu” Institute of Linguistics and Literary History of the Romanian Academy. His main areas of research are twentieth- and twenty-first-century Romanian literature, (Post-)Communist East-Central European Culture, critical theory, and the relationships between literature and ideology. He is the author of two books of criticism (Marin Sorescu. Alone among the Canonical Writers – 2014; Canonical Debate Today. The Case of Romanian Postwar Literature – 2016) and one of his recent works deals with the ideological implications of the Romanian translation projects from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century: “Translating against Colonization. Romanian Populists’ Plea for Peripheral Literatures (1890–1916),” in The Culture of Translation in Romania (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018).

Crina Bud is a lecturer at York University, Toronto and researcher at The Institute of Romanian Language in Bucharest. In her books and scholarly studies and articles, she addresses themes such as literature and totalitarianism, the relationship between the literary history and the cultural history, critical perspectives of Romanian literature abroad, and translation studies.

Daiana Gârdan is a junior researcher at the “Sextil Puşcariu” Institute of Linguistics and Literary History of the Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca and ←9 | 10→an assistant editor of the academic journal “Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory.” Her research interests revolve around Romanian modern literature and criticism, digital humanities, and transnational studies.

Alex Goldiș is a lecturer at the Faculty of Letters, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca. He is also the co-editor-in-chief of the “Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory.” His work deals with twentieth- and twenty-first-century Romanian literature, digital humanities, and World Literature Studies. He is the author of two books: The Entrenchments of Literary Criticism: From Socialist Realism to Aesthetic Autonomy (2011) and Methodological Updates in the Romanian Criticism of the 1970s and 1980s: Theories, Methods, Critics (2013). He has also published chapters in collective volumes, among which are “Between Transnationalism and Nation Building: Literary History as Geolocation”, in M. Martin, C. Moraru, A. Terian (eds.), Romanian Literature as World Literature, New York, Bloomsbury Academic, 2018; “Literary Interferences in Subversive East-European Cultures”, in M. Sass, Ș. Baghiu, V. Pojoga (eds.), The Culture of Translation in Romania, Berlin, Peter Lang, 2018: 85–99; “The Ideology of Ruralism in the Thaw Prose”, in Ș. Baghiu, V. Pojoga, M. Sass (eds.), Ruralism and Literature in Romania, Berlin, Peter Lang, 2019.

Emanuel Modoc obtained his PhD at the Department of Comparative and Universal Literature at the Faculty of Letters, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, with a thesis on the networks of East-Central European avant-gardes. He is an assistant editor for the “Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory,” and a research assistant at the Sextil Pușcariu Institute of Linguistics and Literary of the Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca. He authored the volume Internaționala periferiilor. Rețeaua avangardelor din Europa Centrală și de Est/ The International of Peripheries. Avant-Garde Networks of East Central Europe (2020) and edited the writings of Surrealist poet Paul Păun (2020).

Ioana Moroșan is a PhD student in Romanian Literary Studies at the Doctoral School of the Faculty of Letters within the University of Bucharest. Her research interests include the sociology of literature, theories of the literary field, and Romanian post-war literature, especially Romanian women’s writing under Communism. Consequently, her interest is focused on world literature and translation studies. She is operating in the book market as a foreign rights assistant.

Ovio Olaru is an assistant professor of German Literature with the Department of Anglo-American and German Studies at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu. His ←10 | 11→PhD thesis deals with the international proliferation of contemporary crime fiction from Scandinavia from a quantitative perspective. His main fields of research include comparative literature, Romanian-German and Scandinavian literature, and quantitative and digital humanities. He co-edited Beyond the Iron Curtain. Revisiting the Literary System of Communist Romania (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2021).

Adriana Stan is a lecturer at the Comparative and Universal Literature Department at the Babeș-Bolyai University. Her main areas of research are post-war literary criticism, post-war Romanian literature, East-Central European literature and criticism. She published several essays and articles concerning the history of structuralism, the history of Romanian criticism, Romanian postmodernism or postcommunist literature. She also provided extensive research on the topics of authenticity and of anticommunism in the history of Romanian literature. She wrote a comprehensive account of Romanian structuralism in her book, Bastionul lingvistic. O istorie comparată a structuralismului în România (2017). Adriana Stan is now working on wider research on rural modernity, and on the impact of translations in the evolution of the Romanian novel.

Ana Țăranu is a PhD student at the Department of Comparative Literature at Babeș-Bolyai University. She is also an assistant editor of the academic journal Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory. Her research interests include cultural history, Mikhail Bakhtin, and the convergence of narratology and analytic philosophy.

Andrei Terian is a professor of Romanian literature at the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu. His research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century Romanian literature, history of the novel, comparative and world literature. He has published numerous essays in international journals such as Life Writing, CLCWeb – Comparative Literature and Culture, World Literature Studies, Primerjalna Književnost, Interlitteraria, Slovo, and ALEA: Estudos Neolatinos. His works include the monographs G. Calinescu: The Fifth Essence (2009) and Export Criticism: Theories, Contexts, Ideologies (2013), the co-authored reference series The General Dictionary of Romanian Literature (1st edition, 7 volumes, 2004–2009; 2nd edition, 5 volumes, 2016–2019) and The Chronology of Romanian Literary Life (10 volumes, 2010–2013), and the co-edited volume Romanian Literature as World Literature (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018).

Claudiu Turcuș is an associate professor of Film and Literary studies at Babeș-Bolyai University. He obtained his PhD in Humanities (2012) at Babeș-Bolyai ←11 | 12→University after a fellowship research at Bard College, New York. His research interests are focused on East-Central European literature, cinema and criticism. He published widely on topics such as the cultural memory of Socialism, the representation of Post-communist transition, intellectual history or the ideology of New Romanian Cinema. His book, Norman Manea. Aesthetics as East Ethics (Frankfurt-New York: Peter Lang, 2016) is the very first monograph about life and oeuvre of this important Romanian-American writer, proposed twice for Nobel Prize. Currently, Claudiu also works on a research project on Anticommunism and the Europeanization of Romanian cultural production after 1989.

Snejana Ung is a research assistant at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu. She conducted a PhD dissertation on post-Yugoslav literature as world literature. Her main research interests include the inter-peripheral circulation of the novel in south-eastern Europe during 1918–1989, post-Yugoslav literature, literary theory and world literature. She has published several articles in different journals as well as chapters in edited volumes, such as Ruralism and Literature in Romania (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2019).

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Alex Goldiș and Ștefan Baghiu

For a Translational Approach to National Literary Markets

With the acceleration of the globalization process in recent decades, the understanding of translations as privileged forms of cultural interference has been constantly evolving. Rather than an organic construct, every literature represents a “complex tangle of relations,” as Wai Chee Dimock calls it,1 that goes far beyond autochthonous associations. The representatives of the two theoretical schools that have reconsidered the importance of translations for literary studies, World Literature Studies, and Translation Studies, have insisted on the crucial shaping mechanism of translations. In the wake of Goethe’s observation that national literatures exhaust their resources when they refuse contact with other cultures,2 the translation of European novels had fertilized the literary traditions of Turkey, Egypt, Japan, and China (to name just a few).3 Translations have also dismantled ostensibly powerful organic constructs like the French, the Spanish or the Italian literatures: researchers of national cultures have often emphasized this complex exchange process, noting that “between 1800 and 1850 the Spanish novel is being written in France,”4 that the same period witnesses “a history of the novel in Italy without mentioning Italian novels,”5 or that ←15 | 16→important authors such as Flaubert or Zola owe more to translations than usually acknowledged.6

Despite the above considerations emphasizing the crucial role of translations in the construction of national literatures, a translational approach to national cultures is absent from the concerns of histories of national literatures published to date. Generally built on the premise of Herderian organicism, they ignore the problem of translation, considered irrelevant to the evolution of internal literary forms. More recent approaches, in the aftermath of “spatial turn” theories, although addressing the issue of translation, focus on transnational exchanges than on how translations have shaped national literatures—see M. J. Valdes and D. Kadir’s Literary Cultures of Latin America, Marcel Cornis-Pope and John Neubauer’s History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe, or Fernando Cabo Aseguinolaza, Anxo Abuin Gonzales, and Cesar Dominguez’s A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula. 7

The research in this volume starts from the assumption that “the Romanian case” can become relevant for a translational approach to national literatures, since it has been described as a textbook “culture of translation” by Brian James Baer in Contexts, Subtexts, and Pretexts: Literary Translation in Eastern Europe and Russia,8 and, within the same volume, through Noica’s idea that Romania could be seen as “Europe’s translator” by Sean Cotter.9 The impact of the corpus ←16 | 17→of translations on a culture is particularly significant when the literary system “is not crystallized” or “when there are turning points, crises, or literary vacuums.”10 The two prerequisites are equally met by Romanian literature, whose late institutional birth and fragmented evolution cannot be described without considering the contribution of translations. There are stages in the evolution of “emergent literatures”—highly dependent on their place on the international map of cultures—when the system of translations is relevant both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Details

Pages
234
ISBN (PDF)
9783631888773
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631888780
ISBN (Hardcover)
9783631888766
DOI
10.3726/b20140
Language
English
Publication date
2022 (December)
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 234 pp., 9 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Alex Goldiș (Volume editor) Ștefan Baghiu (Volume editor)

Alex Goldis, is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Letters, Babes,-Bolyai University, Cluj- Napoca. He is also co-editor-in-chief of the “Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory”. His work deals with modern and contemporary century Romanian literature, digital humanities, and World Literature Studies. He is the author of The Entrenchments of Literary Criticism: From Socialist Realism to Aesthetic Autonomy (2011) and Methodological Updates in the Romanian Criticism of the 1970s and 1980s: Theories, Methods, Critics (2013). S,tefan Baghiu is an Assistant Professor of Romanian Literature and Literary Theory with the Department of Romance Studies at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu. He co-edited The Culture of Translation in Romania (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018), Ruralism and Literature in Romania (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2019), and Beyond the Iron Curtain: Revisiting the Literary System of Communist Romania. He is the coordinator of The Digital Museum of the Romanian Novel.

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236 pages