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Event or Incident- Evénement ou Incident

On the Role of Translation in the Dynamics of Cultural Exchange- Du rôle des traductions dans les processus d’échanges culturels

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Edited By Ton Naaijkens

Translations are crucial to the flow of themes, images, forms and ideas across boundaries. They constitute a special case of cultural dynamics as, in a sense, they are existing texts revived in a new form. The introduction of textual works in a target culture involves a high degree of strategy and control. These moments of control, selection and influence deserve special attention in cultural, receptional, and translation-historical studies. The essays in this yearbook address aspects of the central topic: the impact of translations on cultural-historical developments in Europe. First and foremost is the question which works were selected and why, and next which were neglected and why. In a wider scope: what – in the long-term processes of cultural transfer – were the «peaks» or key moments, and of which nature was the discourse accompanying the presence of a foreign-language culture in translation? Why did it all happen like this, and what was the precise impact of the introduction of new works, new ideas, new culture through the medium of translation? These are the questions to which the authors of this work attempt to provide answers.

Les traductions ont une importance cruciale quant à la circulation des thèmes, des images, des formes et des idées au-delà des frontières. Elles représentent un cas particulier de dynamique culturelle, insufflant en un sens une nouvelle vie à des textes existant. L’introduction d’œuvres écrites dans une culture cible suppose un déploiement important de stratégies visant à contrôler ces processus, qui font l’objet d’une attention toute particulière dans les études d’histoire culturelle, de réception, et d’histoire de la traduction.
Les études contenues dans ce volume s’intéressent aux différents aspects du sujet principal : l’impact des traductions sur les développements historiques et culturels en Europe. Tout d’abord quelles sont les œuvres retenues, pourquoi celles-ci et non pas d’autres ? Plus généralement, les auteurs s’intéressent aux moments où l’influence a atteint un apogée dans les processus à longue échéance des transferts culturels et à la nature du discours accompagnant la présence sous forme de traduction d’une culture en langue étrangère. Pourquoi tout cela est-il arrivé de la sorte et quel est l’impact précis de l’introduction d’œuvres, d’idées, d’une culture nouvelles à travers le medium de la traduction ? Voilà dans tous les cas les questions clés auxquelles les auteurs de cet ouvrage entendent répondre.

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Ton NAAIJKENS Event or Incident Evénement ou Incident – an Introduction 3

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Evénement ou Incident – Event or Incident – an Introduction Ton NAAIJKENS Translations constitute a special case of cultural dynamics as, in a sense, they both repeat and change cultural artefacts: they are existing texts re- vived in a new form. They function and are effective in an environment differing from that of their source. Their outcome is not wholly a new original, such as writers produce, but neither a noncommittal reaction or detached study, such as critics deliver. A translation is both at the same time: it forms new material and comments on what somebody else has said in relation to a certain topic or idea. It contains both the projection of the author and her or his ideas, and that of the translator and her or his ideas. The particular property of translations is that they, in turn, provoke new reactions – of an interpretative, socio-cultural or aesthetic nature. What these new sources and their effect embody, reveals something about the perspective on the world a culture applies. In other words, in translations we see the workings of cultural dynamics in optima forma. The introduction of textual works in a target culture involves a high degree of strategy and control. These moments of control, selection and influence deserve special attention in cultural, receptional, and translation- historical studies. First and foremost is the question which works were selected and why, and next which were neglected and why. In a wider scope: what – in the long-term processes of cultural transfer – were the...

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