Item description for Translating Words, Translating Cultures (Classical Inter/Faces) by Lorna Hardwick...
Never have there been so many different types of translations of Greek and Latin literature into English. Most people experience Homer and Greek tragedy for the first time through translations. New versions of Vergil and Ovid have become best sellers. This book examines the literary and cultural environment underlying the various kinds of translation - from 'faithful' and 'equivalent' through 'imitation' to 'adaptation' and 'version' - discussing the extent to which translations have been regarded as creative work in their own right and their impact in the work of modern writers such as Harrison, Heaney, Hughes and Walcott. Key themes include the challenge presented by translations to conventional interpretations of the classical canon; the implications of translating across genres - for example in the staging of epic; and the role of translations in twentieth-century conflicts. Lorna Hardwick suggests that translations from Greek and Latin literature are catalysts in the refiguring of both poetic and political awareness and that in transplanting myths and metaphors into disparate cultures, translations energise new senses of cultural identity.
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Is the literary work as a form of cultural production translatable? And if so, how its possible methods and practices might be? The book explores the answer to these questions, focusing in particular on the translation of the ancient Greek and Latin works into modern languages and genres. At any rate, the author, Lorna Hardwick, is not primarily concerned with the methodology based upon what Roman Jakobson calls ginterlingual translationh or translation proper to interpret verbal signs by means of the target language. According to the author, in translating such remote works as the Iliad or the Odyssey, the translatorfs gpurposeh is the crucial factor which determines his or her interpretation of the source text. The translatorfs aim further affects the ways in which the ancient text communicates with the reader through the target language and the transposition to the new genre, and the readerfs relation to the translation ultimately gives a new meaning to the source text.
Hardwickfs approach to the ancient text stimulates the reader to rethink how wide the range of translation activities can be. As she implicitly suggests, the translation is a mode of communication, as the translator needs not only to mediate two languages but also to consider the socio-cultural correspondences (or differences) and their relevance to the readerfs time. Each chapter is an exploration of these multiple tasks of translation and the analysis of experimental practices done by scholars, poets, and playwrights. While eschewing hasty theorization, the book demonstrates concrete cases of translation through the ways in which the ancient texts are revitalized and thereby gvalue and ideah are made accessible to the target reader. The authorfs critical standpoint invests translation with a chameleonic virtue: a good translation is necessarily an opportunistic one, as it appeals to its designated beneficiaries, that is the readers of different social and political context. Differences of history, politics, and aesthetics are thus transmuted into a new specific context. Despite the wide spectrum of translation considered by the author, her underpinning thesis never drifts away. She reminds us throughout the book, that the translatorfs aim is an impetus to shift the work from the remote past and change our perception of it to what is gdevastatingly familiar and magically transformativeh (144), regardless of any political or aesthetical implications. What the book empirically attempts to show in this regard is the fact that the act of translation is tantamount to a kind of defamiliarization. The jargon-free, non-pedantic writing of the author makes the book pleasurably accessible to any reader who is interested in the translation of literary works.