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Translating Canada

Edited by Luise von Flotow and Reingard M. Nischik

Publication Year: 2007

In the last thirty years of the twentieth century, Canadian federal governments offered varying degrees of support for literary and other artistic endeavour. A corollary of this patronage of culture at home was an effort to make the resulting works available for audiences elsewhere in the world. Current developments in the study of translation and its influence as cultural transfer have made possible new assessments of such efforts to project a national image abroad. Translating Canada examines cultural materials exported by Canada in addition to those selected for acquisition by German publishers, theatres, and other culture brokers. It also considers the motivations of particular translators and the reception by German reviewers of works by a wide variety of Canadian writers -- novelists and poets, playwrights and children's authors, literary and social critics. Above all, the book maps for its readers a number of significant, though frequently unsuspected, roles that translation assumes in the intercultural negotiation of national images and values. The chapters in this collection will be of value to students, teachers, and scholars in a number of fields. Informed lay readers, too, will appreciate the authors’ insights into the different ways in which translation has contributed to German reception of Canadian books and culture.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Perspectives on Translation

Front Matter

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Table of Contents

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pp. 1-8

This book starts from the premise that translation is one of the most important vehicles of cultural transfer and at the same time one of the least studied. Considered and treated as an “invisible” activity for many years, and even praised for being “invisible,” translation is at the centre of this study of German versions of Canadian writing, ...

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Telling Canada’s “Story” in German

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pp. 9-26

The focus of this chapter, and of this book, is the translation of Canadian writing into German. Three distinct elements are involved, of which the most important is “storytelling.” Stories travel through translation; they are the raw material of the translation process. However, we are not concerned here with producing literary criticism of Canadian writing, ...

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“Two Solitudes”? Anglo-Canadian Literature in Translation in the Two Germanies

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pp. 27-52

The two Germanies that were reunited in 1990 had different ideological outlooks on English literatures and their dissemination. Research into the reception of English literatures in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) is still nascent—with the exception of Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos’s substantial study (2000) ...

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Translating the Canadian Short Story into German

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pp. 53-78

The translation and reception of Canadian literature in the German-speaking countries in the second half of the twentieth century demanded much tenacity and enthusiasm from all involved. As late as 1980, Walter Riedel stated that Canada was not yet regarded as an autonomous literary entity by German-speaking Europeans, and he still saw great lacunae in what had been translated into German by that time (14, 102, 104) ...

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The “Other Women”: Canadian Women Writers Blazing a Trail into Germany

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pp. 79-92

One of the stereotypical German associations with Canada and its history is that of pioneers, explorers, and conquerors of the wilderness. Some of them must have been women, “roughing it in the bush,” as Susanna Moodie, the Canadian “Ur-pioneer,” has described it. However, while this particular stereotype usually excludes women, they played an important role as literary pioneers in contemporary Germany ...

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Margaret Atwood in German/y: A Case Study

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pp. 93-110

There can hardly be a more appropriate subject for a case study of Canadian literature in German translation than Margaret Atwood.1 As a novelist, poet, short-story writer, and literary and cultural critic, Atwood has, for the best part of four decades now, been Canada’s most prominent and admired literary figure, ...

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The “AlterNative” Frontier: Native Canadian Writing in German/y1

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pp. 111-143

Literature in translation constitutes a highly visible form of cultural representation and plays a substantial role in shaping the image of a cultural group as it presents itself or is presented to others. The kind of literature by or about a specific cultural group that appears in translation, ...

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From Beautiful Losers to No Logo! German Readings of Jewish Canadian Writing

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pp. 143-164

The main thesis that Michael Greenstein expounds in his seminal study Third Solitudes: Tradition and Discontinuity in Jewish-Canadian Literature (1989) is that the work of the poet and novelist A. M. Klein (1909–1972) constitutes the beginning of Jewish Canadian writing in Canada. According to Greenstein, texts of writers coming after him are revisions and reinscriptions of Klein’s work and are, in particular, preoccupied with his novel The Second Scroll ...

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Contemporary (English) Canadian Plays in German/y

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pp. 165-186

Importing Canadian plays across the Atlantic occurs most frequently when a published text or play script of a Canadian play is translated and converted into a draft for production in Europe. But how do theatres in Germany and their artistic directors get to know about these plays? ...

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Translated or Traduced? Canadian Literary and Political Theory in a German Context: Northrop Frye, Michael Ignatieff, and Charles Taylor

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pp. 187-218

When compared to literature, theory may at first glance seem easier to transport into a different language and culture. While this may be true, to some extent, as far as the actual translation of the language is concerned, the assimilation of theory into a foreign culture poses more difficulties than one might expect. ...

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Selecting Canadiana for the Young: The German Translation of English Canadian Children’s Literature

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pp. 219-242

Children’s literature, much more than literature for adults, “provides an x-ray vision into the perceptual frameworks held by those who produce it” (Rubio 1994, 229). This “x-ray vision” becomes even more incisive when we look at children’s literature in translation, as “translational norms expose more clearly the constraints imposed on a text that enters the children’s system” (Shavit 1986, 112). ...

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French, Female, and Foreign

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pp. 243-256

Once upon a time, German translations of French Canadian children’s literature were off to a promising start: between 1947 and the late 1950s, more than twenty little books featuring gingerbread men, magic cauldrons, strawberry fairies, and noble savages were translated from French into German and illustrated with naive, brightly coloured pictures. ...

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Northern Lights in German Theatres

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pp. 257-268

This chapter1 explores the different ways in which theatre texts from francophone Canada travel to Germany. It examines the support available from European and Canadian institutions and the roles played by agencies and publishers. A case study of the way Daniel Danis’s Le chant du Dire-Dire travelled to Germany provides a real-life example. ...

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Low Motility: Transferring Montreal Playwright Stephen Orlov’s Sperm Count to Germany

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pp. 269-282

Translators never work on a translation alone. Although for a large part of their working time they may sit by themselves doing the groundwork, every translation is the result of collaborative efforts. Sometimes, these collaborations work out well; at other times, the translator faces certain adversities along the way. They may take many forms, ...

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Antonine Maillet in German: A Case Study

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pp. 283-292

In 1979, the Paris publisher Grasset & Fasquelle brought out an Acadian novel that became instrumental in moving Acadian French / French Canadian literatures via various institutions from the periphery into the centre of attention of critics and the reading public.1 ...


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pp. 293-298


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pp. 299-332


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pp. 333-340

E-ISBN-13: 9780776617855
E-ISBN-10: 0776617850
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776606613
Print-ISBN-10: 0776606611

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Perspectives on Translation