- Translating Literatures, Translating Cultures: New Vistas and Approaches in Literary Studies, and: Hölderlin and the Dynamics of Translation (review)
- The Comparatist
- The University of North Carolina Press
- Volume 25, May 2001
- pp. 166-169
- View Citation
- Additional Information
REVIEWS from Godzich) that might emerge from the questioning about agency and language. But there is something sad about the various floundering fashionable gestures she makes, such as the sudden turning in her coda toward "women, slaves, [and] colonized peoples" as excluded from the heavily masculine akrastic modes ofWestern culture, "Reason and Will" (262). It would be unfair to suggest that Wagner could have achieved a superior result by dividing her work into two distinct parts: one dedicated to a strand ofinteresting plays in which issues of action and/or language are central, and one dedicated to philosophical ruminations leading to a discussion of the dilemma of decisionmaking in our current world. The critical passion would be missing from such a construct. Wagner's venturesome effort to create truly far-reaching cross-reference between literary and philosophic genres must command respect, even from readers whose predilection might be to reverse the direction and dominant kind ofreferentiality —that is, to privilege a Marlowe over a Baudrillard (ofcourse, as an object ofscholarly attention, not necessarily as a human being). Gerald GillespieStanford University KURT MUELLER-VOLLMER AND MICHAEL IRMSCHER, eds. Translating Literatures, Translating Cultures: New Vistas and Approaches in Literary Studies. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998. xviii + 214 pp. + CHARLIE LOUTH. Hölderlin and the Dynamics ofTranslation. Oxford: European Humanities Research Centre of the University of Oxford, 1998. ? + 270 pp. Translation studies, a relatively recent interdiscipline that itself includes various interdisciplines, has yet to be defined conclusively in either an American or an international context. Recently Andrew Chesterman and Rosemary Arrojo have described it as the effort to "understand the phenomenon oftranslation, however this is defined and practiced" (Target 12.1 : 152). That statement may seem exceedingly inclusive. Given the current level of discussion about translation, however, an unstable definition may best reflect the multiple (and at times conflicting ) perspectives oftranslators and scholars who represent literary and nonliterary translation, both hermeneutic and empirical approaches, and "the whole spectrum of[translation-related] research and pedagogical activities as well as oral interpreting , dubbing and subtitling" (Mona Baker, 77ie Routledge Encyclopedia ofTranslation Studies, Ed. Mona Baker [London, 1998], 277). Within that briefdescription ofcurrent translation studies, the two books reviewed here, both ofthem based in German language and culture, fit comfortably, each in its own way. The first collects 1 1 essays originally presented at a conference held at Stanford in 1995. Part ofa collaborative project between Stanford and the Georg-August Universität Göttingen, the volume has a twofold purpose: to "acquaint the North American reader and academic community with some prominent trends in translation presently pursued in Europe," and to serve as a "forum" for American scholars working in translation studies (ix). To that end, in section one, Harold Kittel explains the background, philosophy, and work of the Göttingen Center; Armin Paul Frank demonstrates the Göttingen approach by investigating the Schattenkultur (shadow culture) present in nontranslated early Anglo-American literature. Rainer Schulte then proposes the institution of translation workshops across the graduate-level curriculum in the humanities, explaining that the interpretative skills and associative thinking involved in literary translation would serve to Vol. 25 (2001): 166 ??? COHPAnATIST increase students' familiarity and interaction with foreign cultures. Liselotte Gumpel, finally, presents and employs a nonrepresentational understanding of language that refuses the Aristotelian bifurcation ofmetaphors, focusing on structure or function rather than the content, in particular with respect to lyric poetry. The remaining essays address specific instances oftranslation-related exchange between German and American cultures. Section one contains pieces concerned with philosophy and literature: Kurt Mueller-Vollmer's affirmation—through an examination ofthe role played by European literature in the formation ofTranscendentalism in New England—that the writing of literary history is indeed possible; Cyrus Hamlin's study ofthe contribution made by the Americans who were highly instrumental in transplanting German Idealism to American culture; and the late Ernst Behler's discussion ofboth theory- and practice-related issues with respect to an American edition of 77ie Complete Works ofFriedrich Nietzsche, several volumes ofwhich have been published by Stanford University Press. The third section focuses on individual genres. Helga Essman offers an historical perspective on how translation anthologies affected the German concept of Weltliteratur, outlining both...