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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 6: Towards Postmodernism: Translation as Appropriation Art


Tsitaty plodiatsia i mnozhatsia. […] Vse skazano.Vse stilizovano. Timur Kibirov, Postmodernistskoie Kibirov 2009: 386 [Quotes proliferate and multiply. […] Everything already said. Everything stylized.]

How might one trace the transition from Modernism to Postmodernism in literary translation practices? What (if any) is the added value of the Postmodernist translational approach in comparison to the cluster of highly differentiated and often mutually contradictory approaches that have here been called Modernist translation? From what we have seen so far in this book, it transpires that many of the features which are identified as pertaining to the Postmodern poetics of translation,1 such as anti-illusionism, relativization of the concept of translation as a mimetic representation of the original, discursive heterogeneity and experimentation, proliferation of significations, cultural dislocations, hybridization, ‘in-betweenness,’ hypertextuality, and all kinds of transtextuality and self-referentiality – metatranslative self-reflection, citationality, bricolage, collage-like writing practices, parodicity and pastiche-like renditions, the target text’s focus on intertextual semantic effects, transgression, interpretative abuse, and irony – had already appeared as indispensable constituents of Modernist translation. The fundamental characteristics of Modernist translation have been seen to be its inherent diversity, contradictiveness, and polarity. Both illusionist and anti-illusionist translational positions contributed to its uniqueness. The destruction of the illusion of an unmediated and unconstrained representation of the original in the target culture took place not against Modernism, but within Modernism’s confines.

In this chapter, we first summarize the main lines of discussion on Postmodernist translation which prevails in Western European and North American scholarly research....

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