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Translation, before 9/11, was deemed primarily an instrument of international relations, business, education, and culture. Today it seems, more than ever, a matter of war and peace. In The Translation Zone, Emily Apter argues that the field of translation studies, habitually confined to a framework of linguistic fidelity to an original, is ripe for expansion as the basis for a new comparative literature.
Organized around a series of propositions that range from the idea that nothing is translatable to the idea that everything is translatable, The Translation Zone examines the vital role of translation studies in the "invention" of comparative literature as a discipline. Apter emphasizes "language wars" (including the role of mistranslation in the art of war), linguistic incommensurability in translation studies, the tension between textual and cultural translation, the role of translation in shaping a global literary canon, the resistance to Anglophone dominance, and the impact of translation technologies on the very notion of how translation is defined. The book speaks to a range of disciplines and spans the globe.
Ultimately, The Translation Zone maintains that a new comparative literature must take stock of the political impact of translation technologies on the definition of foreign or symbolic languages in the humanities, while recognizing the complexity of language politics in a world at once more monolingual and more multilingual.
About the Author
Table of ContentsACKNOWLEDGMENTS vii
TWENTY THESES ON TRANSLATION xi
CHAPTER 1: Translation after 9/11: Mistranslating the Art of War 12
PART ONE: TRANSLATING HUMANISM 23
CHAPTER 2: The Human in the Humanities 25
CHAPTER 3: Global Translatio: The "Invention" of Comparative Literature, Istanbul, 1933 41
CHAPTER 4: Saidian Humanism 65
PART TWO: THE POLITICS OF UNTRANSLATABILITY 83
CHAPTER 5: Nothing Is Translatable 85
CHAPTER 6: "Untranslatable" Algeria: The Politics of Linguicide 94
CHAPTER 7: Plurilingual Dogma: Translation by Numbers 109
PART THREE :LANGUAGE WARS 127
CHAPTER 8: Balkan Babel: Language Zones, Military Zones 129
CHAPTER 9: War and Speech 139
CHAPTER 10: The Language of Damaged Experience 149
CHAPTER 11: CNN Creole: Trademark Literacy and Global Language Travel 160
CHAPTER 12: Condé’s Créolité in Literary History 178
PART FOUR: TECHNOLOGIES OF TRANSLATION 191
CHAPTER 13: Nature into Data 193
CHAPTER 14: Translation with No Original: Scandals of Textual Reproduction 210
CHAPTER 15: Everything Is Translatable 226
CHAPTER 16: A New Comparative Literature 243
What People are Saying About This
The Translation Zone offers a richly detailed history of Comparative Literature, a field volatile from the first, looking to contrary horizons, and never more so than at the present moment. Emily Apter explores the roads taken and not taken in the past, linking these to the new, cross-fertilized languages that constitute and energize the field in the future.
Wai Chee Dimock, author of "Through Other Continents: American Literature Across Deep"
This is a terrific book and a great pleasure to read. At once creative and provocative, Apter's witty analyses of multilingual matters in literature makes a major contribution to a range of disciplines from translation studies, comparative literature and linguistics, postcolonial studies, to mainstream literary studies in French and English. What is so unusual is the impressive breadth and range of Apter's reading in literatures across the globe. This is a book that will make readers want to rethink the limits of their own disciplines, and retranslate the concepts that they employ.
Robert J. C. Young, Oxford University, author of "Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction"