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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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Jennifer VARNEY The Imagist Poet as Cultural Mediator. H.D. and the Translation of the Classics 71

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The Imagist Poet as Cultural Mediator. H.D. and the Translation of the Classics Jennifer VARNEY Speaking in an address delivered at Washington State University on 9 June 1953, T.S. Eliot celebrated the importance of the Imagist move- ment in helping to shape modern poetry: «The point de repère usually and conveniently taken as the starting point of modern poetry is the group denominated ‹Imagists› in London about 1910» (cit. JONES, 1972: 14). Imagism’s innovative approach to verse, which reacted against Ro- manticism and its perceived effeminacy of style and sentimental content, looked to translation not only as a means of exploring new poetic possi- bilities but also of validating its revolutionary aesthetic stances. Poets associated with the Imagist movement, such as Pound, Eliot, Aldington, H.D. and Joyce, were all turning to myth and the translation of myth as a means of defying the lack of poetic rigour in contemporary culture. In 1916, Pound proclaimed the importance of translation to the develop- ment of literary cultures by suggesting that «a great age of literature is perhaps always a great age of translations; or follows it» (POUND, 1968: 232). By 1929, he was more fully sure of the prime importance that translation plays in the rise of great literary traditions, and in How to read, an essay delineating Modernist aims and ambitions, he states that «English literature lives on translation, it is fed by translation; every new exuberance, every new heave is stimulated by translation, every allegedly great age is an...

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