Literary Translation Studies and Comparatism

full name / name of organization: 
452ºF Comparative Literature Journal
contact email: 

Starting from the reappraisal of literary translation that Susan Bassnett carried out at the beginning of the eighties, comparative literature as a discipline started re-evaluating its relation to this ancient practice, considering that more than once the fundamental contribution of this practice to comparative studies had been taken for granted. To a certain extent, it could be claimed that translation is a requirement and a condition of possibility for comparative literature. For this reason, Journal 452ºF decided that the monographic section of issue number seven will describe the current state of affairs in translation studies and comparatism.

For this monographic section, then, we open a call for papers that will help us understand the process of literary translation, both at inter-semiotic and inter-linguistic levels. We are interested in the translatability that pervades it all from the deconstructive conception of the creative and interpretative processes. For this reason, it is possible to investigate into that particular kind of translation that occurs across different semiotic systems, such as for instance painting and literature, or even to analyse cinema adaptation as a translation process.

In different levels of analysis, we will also pay attention to studies on the circulation of texts through different cultural polysystems, always bearing in mind what is translated and why is a certain text -and not others- translated. We will wonder also on the reception of a text within its own system, and on the exportation to others, stressing that this does not always occur in this order. We would like to explain how are new elements included in the national-linguistic tradition, and in which ways do translations affect the construction of those traditions. We are also interested in including the study of the translator's horizon of expectations, and the resulting interpretative process that is triggered from his/her own reading in the other readers of the translation. We wish to stress a conception of translation not as mere assimilation into an already established tradition, but as a mechanism that sets in motion a series of critical apparatuses, both in the text's original literary system and in the receiving one, that will increase the national-linguistic repertoire, either by imitation of the known models, or by creating new ones. The relation between translation and censorship can be here of interest, as well as papers on comparative receptions of literary translations. We will also accept more classic papers on the comparison of literary translations within related polysystems, as could be the case with Latin America and the Spanish state, bearing in mind that a comparison should always imply a theoretical reflection on the process the text undergoes when being translated.

In this way, we hope to contribute to underline the relevance of literary translation, to supplement in contents the underlying politics of our multilingual publication, and to make explicit our commitment to the free circulation of knowledge.

Paula Meiss
Barcelona, July 31st 2011.