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Modernist Translation

An Eastern European Perspective: Models, Semantics, Functions


Tamara Brzostowska-Tereszkiewicz

The last two decades witnessed an upsurge in Anglo-American studies of Modernism and its translation practices. The book revisits the notion of Modernist translation in the context of Eastern European (Polish and Russian) literatures. The framework of this study is informed by the cultural turn in Translation Studies and the dynamic concept of Modernism as a configuration of mutually antagonistic and dialogic tendencies, currents, programs, attitudes, and artistic realizations. Along with the analysis of illusionist and anti-illusionist models of Modernist translation, the book readdresses the problems of carnivalization, parodicity, estrangement, conceptualism and topics of translation discourse.
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Chapter 4: Parodicity and the Evolution of Translation Models


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Chapter 4: Parodicity and the Evolution of Translation Models

Pisatel Shvarts: Edva otkroiu tolko rot Pisatel Babasov: A ia kak raz naoborot Daniil Kharms, Pisatel Shvarts i pisatel Babasov Kharms 2001:184 Writer Schwartz: I’d part my lips a phrase to verse Writer Babasoff: And me, oh well, just the reverse Trans. Marta Kaźmierczak, courtesy of the Author

The main argument of this chapter is that Modernist models of literary translation developed over the course of an enduring process of differentiation and variation, and were defined by the creation and overcoming of their subsequent oppositions against the background of mutually exclusive notions of language, literature, culture, and modernity itself. In this respect, the polarization of translation models was a true product of Modernism, which evolved through permanent deformation and exclusion, opposition and contradiction. Its antinomies ensued, on the one hand, from the supra-regional character of Modernism, and on the other from the crucial incommensurability of the historical, cultural, geopolitical, ideological and artistic traditions of particular national variants of Modernism (see Nycz 2002: 35). Throughout the twentieth century, the models of translation collided by parodying one another. The term parodicity is, however, to be understood here in a special sense, assigned to it by the Russian Formalists, which markedly contrasts with its previous uses referring to the comic refunctioning of other works. As Margaret A. Rose explains, this Formalist separation of parody from its comic functions and structure provided a basis for...

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