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Literary Retranslation in Context


Edited By Susanne M. Cadera and Andrew Samuel Walsh

The present study examines the interrelation between literary texts, their successive retranslations and the corresponding historical, social and cultural backgrounds that inform these versions. In the case of each text, the authors analyse both the external factors (sociohistorical circumstances, publishing context, authors, translators, etc.) and the internal ones (text analysis, translation procedures or strategies) that influence this interrelation. The book also considers how the decision to retranslate a literary work may be due not only to the commercial criteria established by publishers, but also to external developments in the historical, cultural or social environment of the target culture, or to an evolution in the poetic and aesthetic considerations of the translations themselves, since translational activities and approaches change and evolve over time. Consequently, the procedures inherent in translation may influence the reception and perception of the original text in the target culture. Finally, the book explores how the retranslations of a work of literature may even change the image of an author and the perception of his or her work that has been established by previous translations.
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3 Postcolonial Literature Retranslated into Spanish: The Case of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (Susanne M. Cadera / Patricia Martín Matas)


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3 Postcolonial Literature Retranslated into Spanish: The Case of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart


Although the translation of African postcolonial literature into Spanish is not a very widespread phenomenon, there are some examples of literary works that have been translated several times. This is the case of Things Fall Apart (1958), the first novel by the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. The first translation dates from 1966, followed by three retranslations published in 1986, 1997 and 2010. In this chapter, we will analyse on the one hand how the different translations represent the image of Nigerian reality, which Achebe shows in Things Fall Apart. Therefore, we will focus especially on the translation of fictive orality and elements of Nigerian culture. On the other hand, we will analyse how African literature is addressed in Spain and how through the study of the translations of this book we can reach some conclusions about the reception of African postcolonial literature in Spain.


Addressing Achebe’s Things Fall Apart as the main representative of African literature translated into Spanish summarizes the contemporary panorama of the translation of African literature in Spain. Only a few African authors are translated into Spanish, mostly because of specific commercial agendas and decisions related to the publishing market. Therefore, Spanish readers have few choices to access African literature, with the exception of well-known African authors (mainly those who have...

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