The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice

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9780300063004: The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice
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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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A translator and poet as well as a professor of comparative literature at Indiana University, Barnstone ( The Other Bible ) establishes the central thesis of his latest book in its first section: translation is not a mechanical transcription from one language to another, but a vital interpretive process. That is, the translator is as creative as the author. Barnstone views translation as a paradigm for how people negotiate generally: "We are forever making a metaphor with its related differences. We are reading and translating ourselves and the world." He covers the broad spectrum between literalist translators and imitators or adapters, concluding that all "originals" are translations and all "translations" are, in spirit, originals. The dicta and "parables" of various translators serve as signposts along the way. The book's second part is a study of the translation of the Bible, including its vast historical background. Later, Barnstone discusses theory and his own "ABC of Poetry Translation." Although some of his principles are more clever than useful ("Eve has given the world her gift of translation"), his book contains many insights of interest to translators, readers and critics.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

What Barnstone says about translation history and theory has authority not only because of his genial erudition and his coherent perspective but also because of his own accomplishments in translating literatures East and West, ancient and modern. For him, such history is largely defined by the traditions of Bible translation; the theory combines hermeneutics and exegesis, also largely crystallized by these traditions. His reading has gone far outside these traditions, however. His comprehensive bibliography, while selective, is unbiased, encouraging readers to take issue with him. Thus, he illustrates how to read both eclectically and creatively, rendering a controversial field a terrain for the thoughtful exercise of talent. Recommended for students of comparative literature, philosophy, and creative writing and for informed lay readers.
- Marilyn Gaddis Rose, SUNY-Binghamton
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780300051896: The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice

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Publisher: Yale University Press, 1993
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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 1995. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.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. Seller Inventory # AAV9780300063004

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