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India in Translation through Hindi Literature

A Plurality of Voices


Edited By Maya Burger and Nicola Pozza

What role have translations from Hindi literary works played in shaping and transforming our knowledge about India? In this book, renowned scholars, translators and Hindi writers from India, Europe, and the United States offer their approaches to this question. Their articles deal with the political, cultural, and linguistic criteria germane to the selection and translation of Hindi works, the nature of the enduring links between India and Europe, and the reception of translated texts, particularly through the perspective of book history. More personal essays, both on the writing process itself or on the practice of translation, complete the volume and highlight the plurality of voices that are inherent to any translation.
As the outcome of an international symposium held at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2008, India in Translation through Hindi Literature engages in the building of critical histories of the encounter between India and the «West», the use and impact of translations in this context, and Hindi literature and culture in connection to English (post)colonial power, literature and culture.


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Editors’ Introduction ; , ! : "# 1 We cannot learn our own language from others; nor can we recognize ourselves in the language of others. Having learned our own language and recognized ourselves, we should certainly learn other languages and seek the knowledge available through them, re-examine ourselves in their light.2 This publication focuses on the role that translations from Hindi have played and continue to play in shaping and transforming our knowledge about India in its cultural dimension. In the process of the ever- increasing accumulation of information related to India, it is essential to pay attention to and ponder upon the sources of our knowledge about India. Intensifying exchanges between the country and the rest of the world through scholarship, academic agreements, economic partnerships, transfers of “derivative products” (mainly related to spirituality, medi- cine and cinema), and the important Indian diaspora are part of this knowledge. Literary works, which are the subjects of this book, are also vectors that shape representations of India in the so-called West. However, most of the texts from Indian authors and traditions avail- able at present belong to the literatures in Sanskrit and Indian English. Literatures in vernaculars are more seldom accessible in translation, though they represent different worldviews and anthropologies of India which thus remain largely inaccessible and unknown to the non-Indian readership. The only way to overcome this one-sidedness and to access the variety and richness of Indian cultures and literatures is through the 1 Ajñeya, Bhavant. Delhi: Rajpal & Sons, 1989 (1971):29....

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