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On Violence and Vision: Ethics and Aesthetics of Translation in the Work of Atxaga, Kundera and Semprún

Hulme, HA; (2016) On Violence and Vision: Ethics and Aesthetics of Translation in the Work of Atxaga, Kundera and Semprún. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Translation is never a neutral activity: simultaneously generative and destructive, connective and disruptive, translation illuminates a set of ethical issues surrounding the production and reception of literary forms. Translation also contains its own ethics concerned with the appropriations and manipulations involved in the attempted transfer of meaning between different languages, voices and cultures. This thesis engages with translation, in both theory and practice, as part of an interrogation of ethical as well as political thought within the twentieth-century European novel. I begin by exploring the binaries surrounding discussions of the ethics of translation, particularly Lawrence Venuti’s categorization of translations as either visible or invisible; domesticating or foreignizing; fluent or resistant. Drawing upon the ethical approaches to translation offered by Benjamin, Derrida, Ricœur and Deleuze, I suggest that these dichotomies can be rethought, and translation reframed as the site of a unique creative as well as critical vision. Subsequent chapters employ this critical and creative vision to explore interlingual, intercultural, and interdisciplinary issues in works by three bilingual authors: Bernardo Atxaga, Milan Kundera and Jorge Semprún. Each chapter engages with translation in its practice, its figuration and its theory. Chapter 1 draws on Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of ‘minor literature’ to explore the ethical questions raised by Bernardo Atxaga’s selftranslations from Basque into Castilian. Chapter 2 engages with Ricœur’s discussion of linguistic hospitality to interrogate forms of linguistic and socio-political untranslatability within Kundera’s Le Livre du rire et de l’oubli. Chapter 3 reads Derrida’s account of a ‘relevante’ translation alongside Spanish-French author Jorge Semprún’s multilingual interrogation of personal and political loss. Each chapter thus engages with translation as both a violent form of textual annexation, and a mode of critical thinking which can illuminate our understanding of ethical and aesthetic issues.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: On Violence and Vision: Ethics and Aesthetics of Translation in the Work of Atxaga, Kundera and Semprún
Event: UCL
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474453
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