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Linguistic Creativity in (Re)translation: A Corpus-based Study of Thomas Mann's Der Tod in Venedig and Its English Versions

Prinzl, MG; (2017) Linguistic Creativity in (Re)translation: A Corpus-based Study of Thomas Mann's Der Tod in Venedig and Its English Versions. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The concept of creativity is something that is valued highly in literary writing. It is, however, a hazy term that defies easy definition as it can be realised in different ways such as the manipulation of plot, structure, language or even the physicality of the text itself. The type of creativity that this thesis is interested in is creativity in the use of language. It forms one of three cornerstones of this research project as linguistic creativity is explored, first, in a single original text – Thomas Mann’s 1912 novella Der Tod in Venedig – and, then, in translation, or rather, multifold retranslation, through all of its eleven English versions. Retranslation is thus the second cornerstone. The third is the methodology: the project utilises a computer-assisted approach relying on a combined manual and corpus-based method in terms of the view of the language it applies via John Sinclair’s open choice principle and idiom principle, the digital texts it analyses and the corpus resources it uses. The thesis engages with the concept of linguistic creativity by investigating three rhetorical devices that can be used innovatively: neologisms, similes and metaphors. It demonstrates how these devices and their creativity operate on distinct levels and argues that while neologisms, whose inherent creativity is realised at word level, are predominantly eliminated in translation, novel similes and metaphors, at phrase and text level, are significantly more likely to be preserved. It also proposes that some types of linguistic creativity can arise that involve conventional language and explores the new and still tentative idea of countertranslation as a form of retranslational creativity.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Linguistic Creativity in (Re)translation: A Corpus-based Study of Thomas Mann's Der Tod in Venedig and Its English Versions
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: linguistic creativity, Thomas Mann, Der Tod in Venedig, Death in Venice, retranslation, corpus linguistics
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1535359
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