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Preserving Polyphonies

Translating the Writings of Claude Sarraute

Series:

Claire Ellender

To date, translation theory offers no satisfactory response to the multidimensional challenge of rerendering postmodern texts. As the existence of linguistic and cultural plurality in these writings is now widely acknowledged, many theorists recognise the impossibility of achieving complete equivalence in translation. If the fragmented, decentred, postmodern source text (ST) is to be rerendered in the target language (TL), a process of ‘rewriting’ is deemed necessary. Nevertheless, such an approach, if taken too far, may not always be the most appropriate.
Focusing on the French journalist and novelist Claude Sarraute, whose postmodern writings offer a suitable body of texts for study, this book seeks to determine effective means by which the translator can first read and analyse postmodern STs and subsequently preserve their intricacies in the TL. To provide an original response to this challenge grounded in both theoretical and practical evidence, the author refers to the work of the Bakhtin Circle; concepts from literary theory, stylistics and translation theory; and translations of a body of texts as variegated in character as those of Sarraute. Using the approach which she recommends, the author then explains how she rerenders in English a collection of Sarraute’s polyphonic writings.

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Acknowledgements

Extract

I am particularly grateful to the following people, without whom this book would not have been possible: Dr Robert Crawshaw of Lancaster University, for his generous giving of time and academic guidance; my Mum and Dad, for their immense emotional and financial support; Claude Sarraute, for the enthusiasm with which she received my transla- tions, and for granting me the English language rights to her works; Vida, for her invaluable technical assistance; other members of my family and my close friends, for their patience and encouragement.

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