The Poetics Of Translation / Edition 1

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In a lucid, pioneering volume, Willis Barnstone explores the history and theory of literary translation as an art form. Arguing that literary translation goes beyond the transfer of linguistic information, he emphasizes that imaginative originality resides as much in the translation as in the source text-a view that skews conventional ideas of artistic primacy.

Barnstone begins by dealing with general issues of literalness, fidelity, and originality: with translation as metaphor, aesthetic transformation, and re-creation. He looks as well at translation as a traditionally stigmatized genre. Then he discusses the history of translation, using as his paradigm the most translated book in the world, the Bible, tracing it from its original Hebrew and Greek to Jerome's Latin and the English of Tyndale and the King James Version. Citing the way authors intentionally mistranslate for religious and political purposes, Barnstone provides fascinating insights into how, by altering names in the Gospels, the Virgin Mary and Jesus cease to be Jews, the Jews are turned into villains, and Christianity becomes an original rather than a mere translation. In the next section Barnstone analyzes translation theory, ranging from the second century B.C. Letter of Aristeas to Roman Jakobson's linguistic categories and Walter Benjamin's "Task of the Translator." The book ends with an aphoristic ABC of translating.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300063004
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. I Introduction and General Issues
1 Introduction 3
The other Babel
2 Problems and Parables 15
Meanings of a sign, or Parable of the Greek moving van
Translation as part of a general theory of literature
Fifteen quick looks at the philosophy of literalism
Fidelity and translatability
Misalliance of theory and practice
How through false translation into and from the Bible Jesus ceased to be a Jew
Thirteen quick looks at sacred originals
Translation as the double art
Originality, translation, and tradition
Translation as the writers' apprenticeship
Eighteen quick looks at the translator's dictionaries, or A guide to guides of truth and error
The translator as a freely creative person or an erroneous slob
Translation as an instrument of literary and political reform
The author and translator: God and his servant
Translation as dream, or Parable of the dreaming scrivener
God, the eternal translator
Pt. 2 History: The Bible as Paradigm of Translation
3 Prehistory of the Bible and its Invisible Translations 135
Down from Babel with the sundered word of God
Was Babel a Sumerian ziggurat at Ur?
Starting with Abraham of Ur
4 History of the Bible and Its Flagrant Translations 153
The naming of the "little books" of the Bible, or What a shame we call those books the Old and New Testaments
The Hebrew Bible
The creation of the Septuagint
The creation of the New Testament by invisible and secret translations
Hermeneia, or How the Christian Fathers prepared authorized versions of the Bible
The Bible in Europe after Jerome
A vagabond Bible, picking up clothes and dropping rags here and there, wanders into England
The book of the world devised by forty and seven scholars appointed by King James I of England
Pt. 3 Theory
5 Before the Twentieth Century 219
The good old days when theory wasn't theory
6 Signs of Our Time: A Semiotic Slant 226
Translation theory
An exaltation of theorists
Walter Benjamin and his translator-angel carrying a hermetic third language into the metaworld
Benjamin's parable
The translators' task
Pt. 4 Practice
An ABC of Translating Poetry 265
Notes 273
Bibliography 279
Credits 292
Index 293
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