Polyglot Joyce: Fictions of Translation

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9780802038975: Polyglot Joyce: Fictions of Translation
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James Joyce’s writings have been translated hundreds of times into dozens of different languages. Given the multitude of interpretive possibilities within these translations, Patrick O’Neill argues that the entire corpus of translations of Joyce’s work – indeed, of any author’s – can be regarded as a single and coherent object of study.Polyglot Joyce demonstrates that all the translations of a work, both in a given language and in all languages, can be considered and approached as a single polyglot macrotext.

To respond to, and usefully deconstruct, a macrotext of this kind requires what O’Neill calls a ‘transtextual reading,’ a reading across the original literary text and as many as possible of its translations. Such a comparative reading explores texts that are at once different and the same, and thus simultaneously involves both intertextual and intratextual concerns. While such a model applies in principle to the work of any author, Joyce’s work from Dubliners to Finnegans Wake provides a particularly appropriate and challenging set of texts for discussion. Polyglot Joyce illustrates how a translation extends rather than distorts its original, opening many possibilities not only into the work of Joyce, but into the work of any author whose work has been translated.

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About the Author:

Patrick O’Neill is a professor emeritus in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Queen’s University.

Review:

‘This is an extraordinarily meticulous, systematic, and innovative work that provides a new avenue of access to the complexity and richness of Joyce’s work. The breadth and scope of Patrick O’Neill’s scholarship is quite astounding and this is obviously a labour of dedicated and committed research. Polyglot Joyce has the hallmark of all classic scholarly works in the sense that it could not have been written by anyone else. Scholars and students of Joyce will find it a source of genuine illumination.’

(Michael Kenneally, Chair in Canadian Irish Studies, Concordia University)

Polyglot Joyce is the most thorough history of Joyce in translation I have ever read. Patrick O’Neill brings translation studies back into the mainstream of Joyce criticism where it belongs and offers many fascinating insights into the multivalent ambivalence of Joyce’s text based on the linguistic decisions of subsequent translators. The research is incredibly detailed and thorough.’

(Garry Leonard, Professor of English, University of Toronto)

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