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The Age of Translation

Early 20th-century Concepts and Debates

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Edited By Maria Lin Moniz and Alexandra Lopes

The collection of essays by eleven TS researchers focuses on translation in the first half of the 20th century, a period of political and social turmoil in Europe. The collection concentrates mainly, though not exclusively, on the Iberian Peninsula, addressing relevant questions, such as censorship and dictatorial regimes, power, war, the role of women in society. It seeks to shed new light on the concepts, debates and practices of the time, as well as to showcase both translatedness in its many guises (translation, adaptation, pseudotranslation) and its conspicuous absences. The contributors discuss, in different ways and using various methodologies, the omnipresence of translation in «the age of the extremes».

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Introduction. Against monolithism – the 20th century as the age of translation

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I.

“It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past” (Steiner 13) – George Steiner’s powerful assertion at the beginning of In Bluebeard’s Castle is an apt description of the present volume. The Age of Translation. Early 20th-century Concepts and Debates seeks to discuss the ways in which the first fifty years of the past century have shaped the conceptions and misconceptions, discourses and practices, possibilities and interdictions in the fields of literature, communication and culture.

Albeit very diverse and at times apparently disparate, the eleven essays in this collection share the common claim that translation is conceptually and pragmatically central in any mapping of the 20th century. Hence the title. It chooses to accentuate the fact that the 1900s have witnessed an explosion of translations, not only in the sheer number of translated books, articles and other textual evidence, but also, and perhaps more significantly, in the pivotal role translation began to assume as a metaphor, a conceptual and/or analytical tool at the heart of humanities and social sciences. Doris Bachmann-Medick has discussed this “translational turn” in a number of articles, reflecting how the impact of translation as a conceptual category is able to shed light on liminal spaces that would otherwise remain obscure.

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