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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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Part I: Selection and Issues of Translation


MAYA BURGER Encountering Translation: Translational Historiography in the Connected History of India and Europe The paper correlates translation to the encounter between India and Europe and explores the role played by translation in shaping our knowledge about India. The concept of translational historiography conveys the necessity to re- flect on how and when we translate. Examples are drawn from the field of missionary work and Indology in the domain of New Indo-Aryan languages. The concept of connected history invites to rethink the relationship between India and Europe and departs from perspectives of unintelligibility of cultures. Thus, translation is understood in and as a process of encounter. Over the centuries, travellers, missionaries and scholars have brought back from their journeys to India the sources necessary to the task of translating Indian literatures into the various languages of Europe. This also holds true the other way round: Indian scholars have made European literature available to their people and contributed a picture of Europe for India. Translations are not made at random, nor are they produced quiet- ly in the lonely study room of the translator. Rather, they are the fruit of many-layered linguistic, social, political, religious, scientific relation- ships and decisions, which forge the cultural interrelations that make translation the multidimensional activity it is. My contribution correlates translation to the encounter between India and Europe through an explo- ration of the role played by translation in the shaping or construction of our knowledge of India.1 I will discuss translation not only as...

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