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Translation/Transnation

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Archives of Authority

Empire, Culture, and the Cold War

Andrew N. Rubin

Combining literary, cultural, and political history, and based on extensive archival research, including previously unseen FBI and CIA documents, Archives of Authority argues that cultural politics--specifically America's often covert patronage of the arts--played a highly important role in the transfer of imperial authority from Britain to the United States during a critical period after World War II. Andrew Rubin argues that this transfer reshaped the postwar literary space and he shows how, during this time, new and efficient modes of cultural transmission, replication, and travel--such as radio and rapidly and globally circulated journals--completely transformed the position occupied by the postwar writer and the role of world literature.

Rubin demonstrates that the nearly instantaneous translation of texts by George Orwell, Thomas Mann, W. H. Auden, Richard Wright, Mary McCarthy, and Albert Camus, among others, into interrelated journals that were sponsored by organizations such as the CIA's Congress for Cultural Freedom and circulated around the world effectively reshaped writers, critics, and intellectuals into easily recognizable, transnational figures. Their work formed a new canon of world literature that was celebrated in the United States and supposedly represented the best of contemporary thought, while less politically attractive authors were ignored or even demonized. This championing and demonizing of writers occurred in the name of anti-Communism--the new, transatlantic "civilizing mission" through which postwar cultural and literary authority emerged.

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Dictionary of Untranslatables

A Philosophical Lexicon

Barbara Cassin

Characters in some languages, particularly Hebrew and Arabic, may not display properly due to device limitations. Transliterations of terms appear before the representations in foreign characters.

This is an encyclopedic dictionary of close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms and concepts that defy easy--or any--translation from one language and culture to another. Drawn from more than a dozen languages, terms such as Dasein (German), pravda (Russian), saudade (Portuguese), and stato (Italian) are thoroughly examined in all their cross-linguistic and cross-cultural complexities. Spanning the classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods, these are terms that influence thinking across the humanities. The entries, written by more than 150 distinguished scholars, describe the origins and meanings of each term, the history and context of its usage, its translations into other languages, and its use in notable texts. The dictionary also includes essays on the special characteristics of particular languages--English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Originally published in French, this one-of-a-kind reference work is now available in English for the first time, with new contributions from Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and many more.The result is an invaluable reference for students, scholars, and general readers interested in the multilingual lives of some of our most influential words and ideas.

  • Covers close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms that defy easy translation between languages and cultures
  • Includes terms from more than a dozen languages
  • Entries written by more than 150 distinguished thinkers
  • Available in English for the first time, with new contributions by Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and many more
  • Contains extensive cross-references and bibliographies
  • An invaluable resource for students and scholars across the humanities

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The Event of Postcolonial Shame

Timothy Bewes

In a postcolonial world, where structures of power, hierarchy, and domination operate on a global scale, writers face an ethical and aesthetic dilemma: How to write without contributing to the inscription of inequality? How to process the colonial past without reverting to a pathology of self-disgust? Can literature ever be free of the shame of the postcolonial epoch--ever be truly postcolonial? As disparities of power seem only to be increasing, such questions are more urgent than ever. In this book, Timothy Bewes argues that shame is a dominant temperament in twentieth-century literature, and the key to understanding the ethics and aesthetics of the contemporary world.

Drawing on thinkers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Frantz Fanon, Theodor Adorno, and Gilles Deleuze, Bewes argues that in literature there is an "event" of shame that brings together these ethical and aesthetic tensions. Reading works by J. M. Coetzee, Joseph Conrad, Nadine Gordimer, V. S. Naipaul, Caryl Phillips, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and Zoë Wicomb, Bewes presents a startling theory: the practices of postcolonial literature depend upon and repeat the same structures of thought and perception that made colonialism possible in the first place. As long as those structures remain in place, literature and critical thinking will remain steeped in shame.

Offering a new mode of postcolonial reading, The Event of Postcolonial Shame demands a literature and a criticism that acknowledge their own ethical deficiency without seeking absolution from it.

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Experimental Nations

Or, the Invention of the Maghreb

Réda Bensmaïa

Jean-Paul Sartre's famous question, "For whom do we write?" strikes close to home for francophone writers from the Maghreb. Do these writers address their compatriots, many of whom are illiterate or read no French, or a broader audience beyond Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia? In Experimental Nations, Réda Bensmaïa argues powerfully against the tendency to view their works not as literary creations worth considering for their innovative style or language but as "ethnographic" texts and to appraise them only against the "French literary canon." He casts fresh light on the original literary strategies many such writers have deployed to reappropriate their cultural heritage and "reconfigure" their nations in the decades since colonialism.

Tracing the move from the anticolonial, nationalist, and arabist literature of the early years to the relative cosmopolitanism and diversity of Maghrebi francophone literature today, Bensmaïa draws on contemporary literary and postcolonial theory to "deterritorialize" its study. Whether in Assia Djebar's novels and films, Abdelkebir Khatabi's prose poems or critical essays, or the novels of Nabile Farès, Abdelwahab Meddeb, or Mouloud Feraoun, he raises the veil that hides the intrinsic richness of these artists' works from the eyes of even an attentive audience. Bensmaïa shows us how such Maghrebi writers have opened their nations as territories to rediscover and stake out, to invent, while creating a new language. In presenting this masterful account of "virtual" but veritable nations, he sets forth a new and fertile topography for francophone literature.

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Guru English

South Asian Religion in a Cosmopolitan Language

Srinivas Aravamudan

Guru English is a bold reconceptualization of the scope and meaning of cosmopolitanism, examining the language of South Asian religiosity as it has flourished both inside and outside of its original context for the past two hundred years. The book surveys a specific set of religious vocabularies from South Asia that, Aravamudan argues, launches a different kind of cosmopolitanism into global use.

Using "Guru English" as a tagline for the globalizing idiom that has grown up around these religions, Aravamudan traces the diffusion and transformation of South Asian religious discourses as they shuttled between East and West through English-language use. The book demonstrates that cosmopolitanism is not just a secular Western "discourse that results from a disenchantment with religion, but something that can also be refashioned from South Asian religion when these materials are put into dialogue with contemporary social move-ments and literary texts. Aravamudan looks at "religious forms of neoclassicism, nationalism, Romanticism, postmodernism, and nuclear millenarianism, bringing together figures such as Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, and Deepak Chopra with Rudyard Kipling, James Joyce, Robert Oppenheimer, and Salman Rushdie.

Guru English analyzes writers and gurus, literary texts and religious movements, and the political uses of religion alongside the literary expressions of religious teachers, showing the cosmopolitan interconnections between the Indian subcontinent, the British Empire, and the American New Age.

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Hamlet's Arab Journey

Shakespeare's Prince and Nasser's Ghost

Margaret Litvin

For the past five decades, Arab intellectuals have seen themselves in Shakespeare's Hamlet: their times "out of joint," their political hopes frustrated by a corrupt older generation. Hamlet's Arab Journey traces the uses of Hamlet in Arabic theatre and political rhetoric, and asks how Shakespeare's play developed into a musical with a happy ending in 1901 and grew to become the most obsessively quoted literary work in Arab politics today. Explaining the Arab Hamlet tradition, Margaret Litvin also illuminates the "to be or not to be" politics that have turned Shakespeare's tragedy into the essential Arab political text, cited by Arab liberals, nationalists, and Islamists alike.

On the Arab stage, Hamlet has been an operetta hero, a firebrand revolutionary, and a muzzled dissident. Analyzing productions from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait, Litvin follows the distinct phases of Hamlet's naturalization as an Arab. Her fine-grained theatre history uses personal interviews as well as scripts and videos, reviews, and detailed comparisons with French and Russian Hamlets. The result shows Arab theatre in a new light. Litvin identifies the French source of the earliest Arabic Hamlet, shows the outsize influence of Soviet and East European Shakespeare, and explores the deep cultural link between Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and the ghost of Hamlet's father.

Documenting how global sources and models helped nurture a distinct Arab Hamlet tradition, Hamlet's Arab Journey represents a new approach to the study of international Shakespeare appropriation.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

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In Spite of Partition

Jews, Arabs, and the Limits of Separatist Imagination

Gil Z. Hochberg

Partition--the idea of separating Jews and Arabs along ethnic or national lines--is a legacy at least as old as the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. Challenging the widespread "separatist imagination" behind partition, Gil Hochberg demonstrates the ways in which works of contemporary Jewish and Arab literature reject simple notions of separatism and instead display complex configurations of identity that emphasize the presence of alterity within the self--the Jew within the Arab, and the Arab within the Jew. In Spite of Partition examines Hebrew, Arabic, and French works that are largely unknown to English readers to reveal how, far from being independent, the signifiers "Jew" and "Arab" are inseparable.

In a series of original close readings, Hochberg analyzes fascinating examples of such inseparability. In the Palestinian writer Anton Shammas's Hebrew novel Arabesques, the Israeli and Palestinian protagonists are a "schizophrenic pair" who "have not yet decided who is the ventriloquist of whom." And in the Moroccan Jewish writer Albert Swissa's Hebrew novel Aqud, the Moroccan-Israeli main character's identity is uneasily located between the "Moroccan Muslim boy he could have been" and the "Jewish Israeli boy he has become." Other examples draw attention to the intricate linguistic proximity of Hebrew and Arabic, the historical link between the traumatic memories of the Jewish Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakbah, and the libidinal ties that bind Jews and Arabs despite, or even because of, their current animosity.

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The Literary Channel

The Inter-National Invention of the Novel

Margaret Cohen

The Literary Channel defines a crucial transnational literary "zone" that shaped the development of the modern novel. During the first two centuries of the genre's history, Britain and France were locked in political, economic, and military struggle. The period also saw British and French writers, critics, and readers enthusiastically exchanging works, codes, and theories of the novel. Building on both nationally based literary history and comparatist work on poetics, this book rethinks the genre's evolution as marking the power and limits of modern cultural nationalism.

In the Channel zone, the novel developed through interactions among texts, readers, writers, and translators that inextricably linked national literary cultures. It served as a forum to promote and critique nationalist clichés, whether from the standpoint of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism, the insurgent nationalism of colonized spaces, or the non-nationalized culture of consumption. In the process, the Channel zone promoted codes that became the genre's hallmarks, including the sentimental poetics that would shape fiction through the nineteenth century.

Uniting leading critics who bridge literary history and theory, The Literary Channel will appeal to all readers attentive to the future of literary studies, as well as those interested in the novel's development, British and French cultural history, and extra-national patterns of cultural exchange. Contributors include April Alliston, Emily Apter, Margaret Cohen, Joan DeJean, Carolyn Dever, Lynn Festa, Françoise Lionnet, Deidre Shauna Lynch, Sharon Marcus, Richard Maxwell, and Mary Helen McMurran.

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Nation, Language, and the Ethics of Translation

Sandra Bermann

In recent years, scholarship on translation has moved well beyond the technicalities of converting one language into another and beyond conventional translation theory. With new technologies blurring distinctions between "the original" and its reproductions, and with globalization redefining national and cultural boundaries, "translation" is now emerging as a reformulated subject of lively, interdisciplinary debate. Nation, Language, and the Ethics of Translation enters the heart of this debate. It covers an exceptional range of topics, from simultaneous translation to legal theory, from the language of exile to the language of new nations, from the press to the cinema; and cultures and languages from contemporary Bengal to ancient Japan, from translations of Homer to the work of Don DeLillo.

All twenty-two essays, by leading voices including Gayatri Spivak and the late Edward Said, are provocative and persuasive. The book's four sections--"Translation as Medium and across Media," "The Ethics of Translation," "Translation and Difference," and "Beyond the Nation"--together provide a comprehensive view of current thinking on nationality and translation, one that will be widely consulted for years to come.

The contributors are Jonathan E. Abel, Emily Apter, Sandra Bermann, Vilashini Cooppan, Stanley Corngold, David Damrosch, Robert Eaglestone, Stathis Gourgouris, Pierre Legrand, Jacques Lezra, Françoise Lionnet, Sylvia Molloy, Yopie Prins, Edward Said, Azade Seyhan, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Henry Staten, Lawrence Venuti, Lynn Visson, Gauri Viswanathan, Samuel Weber, and Michael Wood.

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Poetry of the Revolution

Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes

Martin Puchner

Poetry of the Revolution tells the story of political and artistic upheavals through the manifestos of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Ranging from the Communist Manifesto to the manifestos of the 1960s and beyond, it highlights the varied alliances and rivalries between socialism and repeated waves of avant-garde art. Martin Puchner argues that the manifesto--what Marx called the "poetry" of the revolution--was the genre through which modern culture articulated its revolutionary ambitions and desires. When it intruded into the sphere of art, the manifesto created an art in its own image: shrill and aggressive, political and polemical. The result was "manifesto art"--combinations of manifesto and art that fundamentally transformed the artistic landscape of the twentieth century.

Central to modern politics and art, the manifesto also measures the geography of modernity. The translations, editions, and adaptations of such texts as the Communist Manifesto and the Futurist Manifesto registered and advanced the spread of revolutionary modernity and of avant-garde movements across Europe and to the Americas. The rapid diffusion of these manifestos was made "possible by networks--such as the successive socialist internationals and international avant-garde movements--that connected Santiago and Zurich, Moscow and New York, London and Mexico City. Poetry of the Revolution thus provides the point of departure for a truly global analysis of modernism and modernity.

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