Re-born Translated

The Tragic Labors of a Romanian Novel Trying to Get a Second Life

in Journal of World Literature
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Abstract

Starting in the 1980s, Romanian intellectual debates on national identity centered on “cultural complexes” and “paradoxes” to account for the local modes of cultural production in relation to hegemonic cultural centers in Western Europe, and especially Paris. This essay deals with the enduring effects of this perspective, examined through the lens of today’s circulation of translated Romanian fiction. I focus on one of the most celebrated Romanian novelists on the international stage, Gabriela Adameșteanu, and I analyze the changes in the mode of production of her postcommunist writings, once her works start to travel in translation. My argument will be framed by Walkowitz’s notion of novels “written for translation,” and Moretti’s notion of semi-peripheral novels as a compromise between the foreign form and the “local material.”

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