Show Less
Restricted access

Translating Gombrowicz’s Liminal Aesthetics


Pawel Wojtas

The book offers a novel attempt at recapitulating Gombrowicz’s aesthetics in the postmodern Anglo-American context. The research extends to English and American literary traditions in order to account for the ways the writer’s version of existentialism is interpreted in diverse contexts, generating alternative interpretations of his peculiar philosophy. Furthermore it demonstrates the ways in which textual indeterminacy and the nebulous notion of the Other underpin Gombrowicz’s text of existence. The final chapter undertakes to pair up the process of translation with the liminal act of participation. The translations of Gombrowicz’s selected works are juxtaposed to argue the extent to which his master tropes (fail to) preserve their otherness when translated into English, as well as to test the ways translation as a self-reflexive act responds to the otherness of texts determined by different hermeneutic conditions. This study intends to fill, if partially, some lacunae on the map of Gombrowicz’s Translation Studies and to inspire further debates on the related aspects of postmodern existentialism of his works.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 3: Voicing the Other: text and existence


| 65 →

Chapter 3

Voicing the Other: text and existence

Narration, through language and plot, offers a version of a (textual) world whose alterity stimulates the reader’s active interpretive engagement with the text and opens up space for singular interpretations. This certainly holds true for narratives that problematise the language-plot dichotomy and eschew pre-programmed semantic uniformity that is contingent on the intentional pre-eminence of the author (as befits plot-centred novels). The writer must thus produce language, which exposes narrative lacunae, unsettling non-spaces of textual alterity that are out there in the text, and up for grabs to the reader. This stems from the assumption that textual interpretation falls back on the production of difference inviting the reader’s textual engagement. As observed by Wolfgang Iser:

We shall call this difference a liminal space, because it demarcates both the subject matter and the register from one another, as it does not belong to either but is opened up by interpretation itself. Caused by interpretation, the liminal space is bound to contain a resistance to translation. However, that energizes the drive to overcome it. Thus interpretation also turns into an attempt to narrow the very space it has produced (2000: 6).

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.