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'The alien within': translation into German during the Nazi regime

Sturge, K.E.; (1999) 'The alien within': translation into German during the Nazi regime. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis examines the policy and practice of literary translation into German during the Nazi regime. It is shown that translation survived, albeit in a constrained form, throughout the period and that heavy official intervention was itself grounded in contradictory attitudes to translation. A consideration of the state regulation and reception of translation demonstrates that translated literature was regarded with suspicion as a potentially harmful invasion of the foreign. Terms used - such as the 'alien within' and the danger of miscegenation - clearly participate in the surrounding discourse of anti-Semitism. However, a database of translations published in the period shows that while such views certainly shaped the selection of genre and source language, there was no simple suppression and numbers remained stable or even rose until 1940. This is accounted for on the one hand by the regime's promotion of certain translations, selected on criteria that draw on notions of literature's cultural specificity as an expression of the Volk soul. An approved translation is compared with its source, showing that consonance with this literary ideology has been enhanced by the detail of translation choices; official reviews further position the text within the boundaries of acceptability. On the other hand, the single largest translated genre of the pre-war period, the Anglo-American detective novel, was not promoted but reviled by the literary bureaucracy. An examination of the source texts and translations of ten detective novels demonstrates that the ideologically marginalised genre adapted itself to the receiving culture by heightening the rule-boundness, strict gender roles and portrayals of authority present in the source texts. The glamorisation of foreign settings remains unaffected, suggesting the persistence of a pre-1933 fascination with Anglo-American culture. The thesis concludes that while the foreignness of foreign literature was fiercely attacked by literary policymakers, it was also promoted in certain, politically acceptable forms and in other cases persisted on its own commercial trajectory despite official disapproval. The study thus contributes to the understanding both of an under-researched area of literary policy in Nazi Germany and of the ideological, institutional and commercial contexts of translation.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:'The alien within': translation into German during the Nazi regime
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of EU Langs, Culture and Society > Dutch

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