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This book investigates literary representations and self-representations of people with cosmopolitan identities arising from mobile global childhoods which transcend categories of migrancy and diaspora. Part I focuses on the ways in which cosmopolitan characters are represented in selected novels, from the debauched Anthony Blanche in Evelyn Waugh’s classic Brideshead Revisited, to the victimized Ila in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines, to John le Carré’s undefinable spies. Part II focuses on self-representations of people with a cosmopolitan upbringing, in the form of autobiographical narratives by well-known authors such as Barack Obama and Edward Said, along with lesser-known writers, all of whom “write back” to the ways in which they have at times been stereotyped and othered in literary fiction and public discourse.
Premodern Chinese Texts in Western Translation
Volume Editors: and
This collected volume focuses on the history of Western translation of premodern Chinese texts from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Divided into three parts, nine chapters feature close readings of translated texts, micro-studies of how three translations came into being, and broad-based surveys that inquire into the causes of historical change. Among the specific questions addressed are: What stylistic, generic, and discursive permutations were undergone by Chinese texts as they crossed linguistic borders? Who were the main agents in this centuries-long effort to transmit Chinese culture to the West? How did readership considerations affect the form that particular translations take? More generally, the contributors are concerned with the relevance of current research paradigms, like those of World Literature, transcultural reception, and the rewriting of translation history.
Volume Editors: and
Market relations are changing not only the distribution and promotion of literary works but also their content, their language, and their social and political function. This book penetrates the intricacies of literary production, circulation and reception, focusing on some of the most original and representative authors of today such as Roberto Bolaño, Gabriela Cabezón Camara, Yuri Herrera, and Irmgard Emmelhainz, among others. The book also illuminates on the “materialitity” of literature and the strategies of literary marketing: festivals, book fairs, digitalization, and translation. Globalization and regional particularisms meet, then, in the symbolic territories of the literary world, and expose their dynamics and intrinsic negotiations.
Volter Kilpi in Orbit Beyond (Un)translatability
One of the hottest battles emerging out of the theoretical and methodological collisions between Comparative Literature and Translation Studies—especially on the battleground of World Literature—has to do with translatability and untranslatability. Is any translation of a great work of literature not only a lamentable betrayal but an impossibility? Or is translation an imperfect but invaluable tool for the transmission of works and ideas beyond language barriers?
Both views are defensible; indeed both are arguably commonsensical. What Douglas Robinson argues in Translating the Monster, however, is that both are gross oversimplifications of a complex situation that he calls on Jacques Derrida to characterize as “the monster.”
The Finnish novelist Robinson takes as his case study for that monstrous rethinking is Volter Kilpi (1874-1939), regarded by scholars of Finnish literature as Finland’s second world-class writer—the first being Aleksis Kivi (1834-1872). Kilpi’s modernist experiments of the 1930s, especially his so-called Archipelago series, beginning with his masterpiece, In the Alastalo Parlor (1933), were forgotten and neglected for a half century, due to the extreme difficulty of his narrative style: he reinvents the Finnish language, to the extent that many Finns say it is like reading a foreign language (and one contemporary critic called it the “Mesopotamian language … of a half-wit”). That novel has been translated exactly twice, into Swedish and German. Translating the Monster also gives the English-speaking reader an extended taste of the novel in English—en route to a series of reframings of the novel as allegories of translation and world literature.