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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


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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Petra BROOMANS Reception and Ideology. «Wild Volcanism» and Other Varieties on Strindberg 107


Reception and Ideology «Wild Volcanism» and Other Varieties on Strindberg Petra BROOMANS Johan August Strindberg (1849-1912): the greatest Swedish writer; a lonely genius and hero. This is the common image of Strindberg in Swedish literary history. August Strindberg wanted very badly to be the greatest. He wanted «to be great, the greatest, the one and only, and he became it» [«groot zijn, de grootste, de eerste en hij werd het»] (PROOST: 1922: 281). Was the image of Strindberg in the Dutch- speaking region the same as in Sweden? Alternatively, did the cultural transmitters add their own ideologies to the image of Strindberg that they transferred? How should the translations of Strindberg’s works into Dutch be regarded: as events or incidents? Alternatively, is it possible that during the process of transmission of a literary work some phases may be events and others incidents, or that an incident may later turn out to be an event? In this essay the reception of Strindberg in the Low Countries in the first decades of the twentieth century will illustrate some of these possibilities. Before I discuss Strindberg in the Low Countries, I will present Strindberg and the literary historical image of him. I will then present my theoretical frame of reference, which is, which role do ideology and the concept of ‹cultural software› play in cultural transmission? I will also propose a more finely tuned description of the various steps in cultural transmission. In the section about Strindberg in the Low Countries I will...

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