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Att anlita översättning: Chaucer, Dryden, Arnold, Pound
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
2020 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Translation employed : Chaucer, Dryden, Arnold, Pound (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis – Translation employed – Chaucer, Dryden, Arnold, Pound – investigates the motives and circumstances of translations of four authors/translators: Geoffrey Chaucer, John Dryden, Matthew Arnold and Ezra Pound. All four employ translation for purposes that exceed linguistically faithful transmission of a source text.

My point of departure is the theoretical framework known as translation studies, which places critical focus less on the semantic transfer of texts than on a translator’s motivation for choosing a specific text to translate and the projected function of that text in a target literary system.

In the first section I contrast the Chaucer’s translation of Boethius’ De consolatione philosophiae, with Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer’s Boece is a rather literal translation of its predecessor, linguistically faithful, though with the target text expanded and commented. In Troilus and Criseyde, by contrast, Chaucer semi-hides his sources, among them Petrarch. Chaucer’s Boece follows a primary mode of translation. By silently adapting Petrarch’s text, Troilus and Criseyde is translation in the secondary mode.

Dryden updated Chaucer (as founder of English poetry and language), and I recount here the political, social and cultural climate in a time when social upheaval rendered reading suspicious and the printed words itself a danger to public order. In this climate, the Royal Society, as well as some individual authors, set out to develop a pure and perfect language. I examine in particular Dryden’s translation of the prologue to one of Chaucer’s Canterbury tales and discuss how Dryden’s notion of metempsychosis, and his idea that poets through history can be thought of as a long chain of father-son relations, legitimised his domestication of the source text.

In the mid-19th Century, Arnold’s critique of Francis Newman’s translation of Homer’s The Iliad reflects a Victorian view of the Greek classics, as well as substantial ambitions for Homer. I sketch this background and compare Newman’s and Arnold’s distinct prescriptions for an English Homer. I argue that Newman’s main purpose was to make Homer known to the uneducated, but interested public, whereas Arnold’s vision was for a domesticated Homer, who functioned as an ethical and cultural beacon and nationalistic ideal.

In the 20th century Pound’s translation of a sirventes by the occitan troubadour Bertran de Born, shows how Pound developed his own language partly by making his predecessors seem contemporaneous. The aim of this chapter is not only to rehearse this, but also to downplay the supposedly radically new in Pound’s translation practice. Here I compare Bertran de Born’s poems, as translated by Victorian John F. Rowbotham with the two translations made by Pound. The difference between Rowbotham’s domesticated version and Pound’s, shows how Pound in his first, so-called pedagogical translation, keeps close to the source text, and in his second, poetical translation, employs the Born’s work for his poetical ambitions. Pound had at least two literary objectives for the translations of Bertran de Born: one concerning his own poetic idiom, and the other his ambition to reinvigorate the contemporary literary culture. Pound sought to blend the past with the present in his own poetry, a purpose that he realises in the poem “Sestina: Altaforte”.

Certain translation strategies recur, such as the idea of metempsychosis in Dryden and Pound, and the need to appropriate the target text in full, particularly for Chaucer and Pound. Political considerations have bearing in the case of Chaucer (the church), and are also prominent for Dryden and Arnold. Pound by contrast is almost exclusively interested in aesthetics. All four authors/translators employ translation for purposes that have less to do with an historical understanding of an original, source text than their own contemporary use of a target text.

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Ellerströms förlag, 2020.
Keywords [en]
translation studies, canon, classics, medieval literature, restoration
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-180997ISBN: 978-91-7247-586-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-180997DiVA, id: diva2:1426685
Public defence
2020-06-11, Auditorium (215), Manne Siegbahnhusen, Frescativägen 24, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2020-05-18 Created: 2020-04-27 Last updated: 2020-04-27Bibliographically approved

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Total: 21 hits
1112131415161714 of 28
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