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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 5: The Tropology of Modernist Translation


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Chapter 5: The Tropology of Modernist Translation

S chego nachat? Vse treshchit i kachaetsia. Vozdukh drozhit ot sravnenii. Osip Mandelstam, Nashedshii podkovu. Pindaricheskii otryvok Mandelstam 1990: 147 How to begin, with what? Everything chirps and rocks. The air quivers with comparisons. Osip Mandelstam, Whoever Finds a Horseshoe Trans.Burton Raffel and Alla Burago Mandelstam 1973: 132

The main thesis of this chapter is that the specific character of Modernist translation can be captured in its ‘master tropes.’ These principal ‘modalities of figuration’ or ‘metatropes’ of Modernist translation can be identified as metaplasm, euphony, metalepsis, chiasm, synecdoche, metabole, hyperbole, epiphoneme, zeugma, and irony. As we shall see, the master tropes of the respective types of Modernist translation reveal themselves at the very level of translators’ poetic languages. The various models of Modernist translation can then be differentiated with respect to their defining master tropes.

First, it may be useful to explain to the reader what will not be covered in this chapter. My argument does not concern metaphorical concepts of translation (as are usually discussed in studies concerning the relationship between translation/ translation studies and rhetoric). Then, the present state of affairs in the discipline will be presented. I will sketch the historical relationship between rhetoric and translation (in general terms) and then outline the main assumptions behind the three already existing tropologies of translation – those of Armin Paul Frank, Douglas Robinson, and Maria Tymoczko. While presenting the theoretical and metatheoretical concepts...

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