Life Writing, Migration, and Translation
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Series: Life Writing
Introduction: Migrations of Theories: Autobiography and Translation
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?...
1. Literacy Narratives
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...
2. Immigrant Crypto(auto)graphy
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...
3. Experimental Self-Translations:
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...
4. Translation as Allegorical Metafiction
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...
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”...