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Borrowed Tongues

Life Writing, Migration, and Translation

Eva C. Karpinski

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Series: Life Writing


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p. vii

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Introduction: Migrations of Theories: Autobiography and Translation

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pp. 1-40

Reading a library book, I pause at the comment scribbled in the margin by a previous borrower. Is the frustrated voice telling me that translation has become another critical cliché, a dead metaphor? Has the academic market been saturated with calls for translation?...

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1. Literacy Narratives

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pp. 41-92

Homage to a dictionary—in immigrant families an object of everyday use elevated to the status of an heirloom—is a poignant image of writing an immigrant life as translation. This image is a visual reminder of the power of literacy to bestow significance on a seemingly ordinary existence...

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2. Immigrant Crypto(auto)graphy

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pp. 93-128

Once it passes through the ear of the other, ethnic autobiography finds itself in a Babelian double-bind: translate me, do not translate me. The reception of Antin’s and Salverson’s confessions by their respective communities confirms what we have earlier identified as resistance of the source culture...

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3. Experimental Self-Translations:

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pp. 129-172

In traditional European theories of translation there has persisted for a long time a certain negative valuing of translation perceived either as a “betrayal” of the original or its inferior “copy.” Postcolonial translation studies theorists have even pointed out that the hierarchy...

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4. Translation as Allegorical Metafiction

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pp. 173-222

We have examined different possibilities of diasporic writing of migrancy as translation performed from the position of self-ethnicization and/or postmodern nostalgia. The writers analyzed in the previous chapters focus mostly on the genealogical functions of translation and its mediating role...

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pp. 223-228

Marlene Nourbese Philip’s and Jamaica Kincaid’s situation vis-à-vis the English language illustrates what Jacques Derrida calls “a logical contradiction,” the impossibility he expresses in one sentence: “I only have one language, yet it is not mine”...


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pp. 229-244

Works Cited

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pp. 245-262


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pp. 263-274

E-ISBN-13: 9781554583997
E-ISBN-10: 1554583993
Print-ISBN-13: 9781554583577
Print-ISBN-10: 1554583578

Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Life Writing
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OCLC Number: 806521137
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Borrowed Tongues

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Autobiography--Women authors--History and criticism.
  • Women immigrants -- United States -- Biography -- History and criticism.
  • Women immigrants--Canada--Biography--History and criticism.
  • American prose literature--Minority authors--History and criticism.
  • Translating and interpreting--Philosophy.
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