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Protest and Dissent

Conflicting Spaces in Translation and Culture

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Edited By Agnieszka Pantuchowicz and Anna Warso

Essays collected in this book discuss textual and discursive formulations of dominance and resistance. The authors analyze how they are narrated and re-narrated, framed and reframed in different social, political and language communities and realities, through different media and means, and translated into different contexts and languages. As the ways we name, rename, or label events, people and places have implications in the real world, the essays are also meant to investigate the ways in which we partake in negotiating its construction, its changing meanings and senses through the stories we tell and the practices we live by.

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Translating Dissent in Modern Austrian Poetry

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Abstract: Modern Austrian poets such as Jura Soyfer, Ilse Aichinger and Ernst Jandl offer varieties of dissent – spiritual, political-historical, literary, and linguistic. This paper is focused on issues involved in translating such contestation. Issues considered include: heterodox content and traditional technique; syntactic divergences of English and German; and linguistic experiment.

Keywords: modern Austrian poetry, Jura Soyfer, Ilse Aichinger, Ernst Jandl, translation, dissent

There is much dissent in modern Austrian poetry. Several Austrian poets clearly anticipated or harkened to Günter Eich’s injunction to poets in 1960.

Tut das Unnütze, singt die Lieder, die man aus eurem Mund nicht erwartet!

Seid unbequem, seid Sand, nicht Ől im Getriebe der Welt!

(Do what is useless, sing the songs they don’t expect from your mouths!

Cause discomfort, be sand not oil in the gear-box of the world!) (Eich, 51)

Poets such as Jura Soyfer, Ilse Aichinger and Ernst Jandl, and many others (Erich Fried, Friedericke Mayröcker, Elfriede Gerstl and Robert Schindel, for example), offer varieties of dissent – spiritual, political-historical, literary, and linguistic – some of which merge in certain poems. This paper is focused on issues involved in translating such contestation. These are threefold. First, poems of an earlier generation of poets (Soyfer), while thematically heterodox, are frequently technically traditional in terms of their deployment of rhyme and regular metrical/rhythmic patterning. Thus, the translator must consider ways in which the recusant vigour of the original in...

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