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Translated by David Malcolm
Either a struggle for the sovereignty of the study of literature, or interdisciplinary contacts. Jerzy Ziomek analyzes these two possibilities for the development of literary studies: they are, in fact, the eternal, fundamental energies of the life of the humanities, the sources of its never-ending methodological disputes. Both the former and the latter tendency can be dangerous. The danger is that the ostentatious autonomy of a given field of knowledge (not just the study of literature) turns into its isolation. However, differentiated and multi-directional interdisciplinary contacts often end with the obliteration of the borders between specializations; they threaten to bring chaos. And, further, the value of both tendencies is not something settled once and for all; it changes in the course of history, and has a situational dimension, a pragmatic one. How are things today? Today what is better for literary studies? In Ziomek’s view, the opportunity, indeed the obligation, for literary studies today, in relation to other areas of science and scholarship, is the interdisciplinary path. Young branches of scholarship, Ziomek argues, which deal with young arts (film, radio and television art), must think of autonomy, seeking their own separateness. With literary studies, it is the other way round. Literary studies clearly realizes that “what is most interesting in them, is, at the same time, not-sovereign.”
Powinowactwa literatury…, pp. 8-9.
Can we repeat this verdict with reference to the study of translated literature? With reservations and with modifications of many arguments – yes. The parameters of choice are different here, the forms of compulsion different. The scholar of original literature has incomparably more latitude; the scholar of translation knows what, in the subject of their research, is not-sovereign, and it is difficult for them to abandon the relations that are imposed in advance, those of “translation-original,” and of “translation-the translator’s native literature.” In whatever direction the translator looks, be it toward the foreign-language writing from which the prototype of the translated work derives, or toward the verbal art in which the translation appears, they see original literature everywhere, and it is in relation to its norms that they define the norms that govern and steer translation. “Literature withers in a state of endogamous relations: its sense,” writes Ziomek, “is to enter exogamous relationships and thereby to possess numerous relatives out of necessity and much kin out of choice.”
No: for translation studies to break with the basic issues of “literariness,” with poetics and theory of literature, does not seem to me a sensible way of achieving the opportunity of interdisciplinarity for translation research. Rather one must look for that opportunity where – within the cultural system – the roles of original creation and translation activity are differentiated. The most precisely known differentiation of roles and, simultaneously, of places within the cultural system is of an axiological nature. It appears in the history of the reception of translations – as those translations are confronted with original works – and sometimes it constitutes the general evaluation of a translation as a phenomenon among other literary phenomena. We have a tendency to identify axiological reception with criticism. However, although evaluation is the natural privilege of criticism, one cannot call every evaluative judgment a literary-critical one. In discussions of the art of translation (in distinction to reactions to original literature), views appear that so adamantly annihilate
every effort of the translator an anti-critical space. Indeed, it is through anti-criticism that – it appears – the path to “kinship by choice” leads (and that is a motivated choice) on the part of translation studies and other offshoots of humanist knowledge.
Only some kinds of human artistic activity develop in an environment of anti-critical evaluation. Original literature is not one of these. Secondary arts belong among them, those that are in their genesis clearly dependent on other arts; alongside translation, for example, we could place acting or, at the start of the twentieth century, film. The primary arts do not know a partner like the anti-critic. Thus, on the one hand, the aggression of anti-criticism; on the other hand, the lack of anti-critical operations would offer a possibility of establishing a typology of the arts, a criterion for dividing them, and, as a consequence, a placement of translation studies among research activities that are not just part of the study of literature. If we are able to establish what literary activities are adjacent to the translator’s work, what the mechanisms are – close to the mechanisms of translation – that function within contiguous territories (plagued by anti-criticism), we will be able to describe more precisely the language of translation studies, and to monitor more accurately the interferences of styles and the flux of experiences from different fields of knowledge.
Criticism and Anti-Criticism
One must emphatically stress that even the most severe verdicts on individual, concrete works are still not anti-criticism. Exposing the failures and defeats of this or that translator – and what field of art can be free from those? – the stigmatizing of the sometimes-terrifying curiosities of translators’ excessive production (graphomania) – and in what cultural mechanisms do afflictions not manifest themselves? – these are part of the domain of
appropriate criticism . A criticism worthy of its name begins precisely where the heights and depths of artists are perceived, where we become enthusiastic over masterpieces and fall into despair over the vacuity of the tawdry. Anti-criticism does not distinguish good works from bad. It is not interested in the internal conflicts of the historical poetics of translation or in manifestations of personality expressing itself through the art of translation. Anti-criticism does not accord translation the right to exist within the artistic system. It declares that translation is an invalid art, in other words, a non-art. eo ipso against criticism of translations. In their eyes, it seems to constitute the same kind of failure of understanding, since it wastes energy on the artistic evaluation of texts that are quite devoid of artistic features.
Arthur Schopenhauer wrote that “a library of translations looks like a picture gallery of copies. Translations of the authors of antiquity are the most obvious surrogates, the way coffee made from chicory is a surrogate for real coffee.”
Translating Literature: The German Tradition ( From Luther to Rosenzweig), A. Lefevere (ed.),
I wrote earlier that original literary creation does not have its anti-criticism. But, in fact, it did once, long ago. When the
beaux arts were linked with handicrafts, poetry was placed outside the borders of art. “For in antiquity,” the Polish philosopher Władysław Tatarkiewicz writes, “and even more so in the Middle Ages, [poetry] was seen as a kind of philosophy or soothsaying, not as art. The poet was an oracle, not an artist.” Dzieje sześciu pojęć, Warsaw 1975, p. 25.
Against this background, a new, positive aspect of the anti-criticism of translations can be seen. Questioning the artistic nature of translation, anti-criticism highlights the artistic qualities of original literature. It protects literature against another incorporation of many extra-artistic phenomena within it, phenomena such as philosophy, ideology, and journalism. The attack on translation takes place here in the name of estheticism. That is why the translation is opposed to the original: the artistic inadequacy of the translation makes evident the artistic adequacy of the original writing. The translation is slain – out of love of literature. So, it is no wonder that anti-critical verdicts are also passed on writers who are fine translators. The Ukrainian poet and translator Maksym Rylsky once claimed that “All translations – even those that are ‘better than the original’ – are merely reflections, lifeless shadows of a living organism, which, like everything that is alive, is
unrepeatable.” Мастерство перевода, Сб. 7, Moscow 1970, p. 421.
Let us cite the Polish poet Julian Przyboś here.
In modern poetry, the word means many times more than what it would mean in prose. The works of many poets are a system of allusions, in which sense (not only conceptual meaning) is multiplied by the sum of meanings of all other words in the poem. Every expression is a polysemantic function of the whole. Remove one word – and the poem collapses.
How to translate such a poem? […] Poems like these cannot be translated; it is only possible to create them. Or to describe the foreign text approximately. That is to give, word for word, the literal meaning of the original. The sensitive listener will give song to the poetry in their imagination from out of the raw literalness.
Pisarze polscy o sztuce przekładu…, pp. 342-342.
We can see that in Przyboś’s terms, the criterion of untranslatability (“poems like these cannot be translated”) not only serves to divide literature in the most general way into artistic and non-artistic texts. It also facilitates internal divisions within the sphere of artistic literature (poetry-prose), divisions that are further oriented toward the history of written art (modern lyric poetry-traditional lyric poetry).
Let us return to Schopenhauer’s aphorism. A translation, any translation, claims the prophet of the philosophy of despair, is a substitute for authentic art. Translating, explain other heralds of anti-criticism, is a parasitical procedure, in which the public theft of writers’ biographies is perpetrated. The exceptionally important issue in the arguments of anti-criticism turns out to be the moral implication of the accusation, in disputes about culture the most painful and defamatory, captured in the famous phrase
traduttore-traditore (translator-traitor). Parasite, thief, traitor… is that enough? Today, when the number of translations in the world is increasing in an impressive fashion, and the contacts between the literatures of various peoples – implemented by the mediation of translation – are for the thinking reader an unquestionable attraction of participating in the life of verbal art, is it worth getting worked up about anti-criticism? Anti-criticism is unjust. But it is a sharp blade, laying values bare, and, thus, it may help us to see what it is hard to notice in the glow of apologia. Perhaps, as it were, against its will, it shows the real place of translation within the cultural system. The Genesis and Poetics of Reception
In anti-criticism, an indivisibly genetic canon of thinking dominates. The point of departure for anti-criticism is the process of translation. The secondary genesis of the literary text, which – in the form of the translation – always constitutes an answer to the work that is ready-made and prior, ought, in the view of anti-criticism, compromise the translation text in the eyes of its readers. Just like all that is secondary, all that is unoriginal. Here genesis and genesis alone is to be the crown’s main evidence in the arraignment proceedings. But on the level of the poetics of reception, this accusation becomes problematic. It is, after all, impossible to maintain that translated literature – in general terms – gives a reader less than original literature. Original literature knows no stylistic form, nor any singularity in structure of narrative or construction of verse, which is not also known to translated literature. Attempts at the stylistic delimitation of the “translatedness” of a translation, allegedly distinguishing the translated text from the original one, are condemned to failure in advance. If we do not know the genesis – and, thus, facts that are external to the text – we will never be able to establish beyond any possible doubt whether a given text is a translation or an original. Equally, the functions of a translation within a cultural system – in the historical process, in the antagonisms between conservative and innovatory trends – must, by no means, be of less importance than the functions of an original work. Ziomek states that the elementary unit of literary-historical synthesis is the individual work. At the same time, however, he calls a work “one of the fragments of the historical process,” and to a literary-historical synthesis he opposes the possibility or the need for other “syntheses of a genotypical character (the history of genre, of verse),”
Powinowactwa literatury…, pp. 249-250. Поэзия и перевод, Moscow–Leningrad 1963. inter alia – Tadeusz Boy Żeleński’s translations of Rabelais, which inspired the prose of an artist as ostentatiously avant-garde and “idiosyncratically original” as Witkacy; Studia o Stanisławie Ignacym Witkiewiczu, M. Głowiński, J. Sławiński (eds.), Wrocław 1972, pp. 60-61. Sudio o narracji, J. Błoński et al. (eds.), Wrocław 1982, pp. 291-304.
It is here that we come across an even weaker link in the argumentation of anti-criticism. If substantially the consciousness of the secondary genesis of a translation meant the suspension (without possibility of appeal) of the reader’s esthetic experiences, if it ordered their “detention” on the charge of not being authentic, then by what miracle could that falsified, unwarranted artistic quality play a part in the creation of the original, full-blown artistic features of any national literature? Particularly because the experiences of translators are far from being only the material for original writing, since they also tend to set a pattern for it to imitate.
When we stress the problems of genesis, we turn attention toward the dexterity and the competence of the translator. We constantly suspect them of gaps in linguistic erudition, of inadequacies in a command of the idioms of the foreign language. An analysis of competence on this level becomes an analysis of correctness. The differences between the translation of utilitarian texts and the translation of literary works blur; from time to time, there is a temptation to formulate a general translation studies,
Elementy przekladoznawsta ogólnego, Warsaw 1981.
Rainer Maria Rilke writes: “a few
times, I even set myself the same theme in French and in German , which then, to my surprise, developed differently from each language: which would speak very strongly against the naturalness of translation.” Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke, 1910-1926, trans. J. B. Greene & M.D. Herter Norton, New York 1945, p. 336.
This avowal by the poet, eschewing aggressive images and oratorical flights, more powerfully than many other anti-critical utterances, sets out anti-criticism’s main aims clearly. A naturalness of language, legitimate intellectual labor, and also the work of the artist in words – all this is something performed within the limits of one language: among all its riches and inadequacies. Translation is artificiality; it is a lie in relation to language, and, as a result, in relation to a person’s conduct in language. The thesis of the artificiality of translation is clearly meant here to discredit. It is true that artificiality does not constitute a denial of art. But artificiality in art is, as a rule, felt as an overcoming of what is natural in communication among people. This interpretation is pointed to both by commonplace formulas such as “art grows out of life” and by theories in semiotics which calls artistic languages “secondary modelling systems” that are built up on top of natural language. Ю. М. Лотман, “Театр и театральность в строе культуры начала XIX века,”
Структура художественного текста, Moscow 1970, pp. 13-34. Semiotyka i struktura Tekstu, M. R. Mayenowa (ed.), Wrocław 1972, pp. 337-356. superstructure built on the inadequacies of daily life; it is a result of a lack of knowledge of foreign languages on the part of persons who need a translator; it is a helpmeet for linguistic cripples. Other arts are based on strength; translation comes out of weakness. That is why in its genesis it is, as Rilke puts it, intensified artificiality.
Ю. М. Лотман, “Театр и театральность в строе культуры начала XIX века,”
Let’s start at the beginning.
A translation-studies theory of “translation in general” is, undeniably, possible, but only within certain limits. From a user’s perspective, the
aims of particular acts of translation are divergent. They are different in language education, and different in the translation of utilitarian texts, and different again in the translation of literary works. In foreign language teaching, we translate foreign texts into our native language, and texts in our native language into a foreign one – finally in order to not translate and be completely absorbed by the foreign tongue. Here the aim is a bilingualism, in which – as Rilke has it – we are able to develop without interference any subject in one or the other language, in accordance with their peculiarities. natural or, in other words, ones that are indispensable for the correct course of linguistic communication. It is often said that the ideal reader of an original work is a potential man or woman of letters. The most fruitful reading becomes in such cases a reversal of the process of writing. But one cannot say that the ideal reader of a translation is a potential translator! Such a formulation would restrict the reception of the art of translation to a narrow circle of reception.
While we argue with anti-criticism, we must bow to one of its ideas, that is that the model of creative labor consists of processes that go on within the space of one language. So we look for similarities, if not identity, between the translator’s labors and the work that takes place within monolingual culture; between the need for artistic translations and the economies of linguistic communication, in its practical and poetic manifestations, and also in all forms of speech that emerge between art and non-art.
In the Sphere of the Poetics of Reminiscence quotation. Poetic translation is, in many aspects, similar to quotation. belles lettres, and also of related areas, for example, film or music.
With regard to quotation, the action of annexing a ready text, which we draft in to serve the interests of our poem, of our critical dissertation, of our film, or of our musical piece, is sharply contrasted with the activity of disclosing alien authorship. Disclosure does not, by any means, always take place on the surface of the text, as, for example, with the epigraph or literary motto (the motto from Jan Lechoń in
Tylko Beatrycze [Only Beatrice] by Teodor Parnicki, or the motto “Śniła się zima” [Winter was dreamt] in “Sen” [Dream] by Adam Ważyk). Often the decipherment of authorship is a task for the recipient. The theater audience may not catch the film quotes in Adam Hanuszkiewicz’s production of Juliusz Słowacki’s Balladyna (the character of Goplana is modelled on the comic and film character of Barbarella); in one scene from Konrad Świnarski’s production of Stanisław Wyspiański’s Wyzwolenie [Liberation], Kordian, the staging suggested years previously by Jerzy Grotowski in Opole’s theater (the monolog on the hospital bed). The thing is, however, that revealing the source of the quotation does not mean in this game the uncovering of a “theft”; quite the opposite, it sets out the path to the interpretation that both directors aim for.
With regard to translation, the polonizing of a ready-made structure, which we force into service within Polish literature, is accomplished with the simultaneous marking of this structure as secondary in relation to the foreign-language prototype.
Employing a quote – the faithful repetition of some else’s words – is a universal practice, one that does not demand bilingualism, and that plays itself out on the territory of monolingual cultures. It is, at the same time, a graduated practice, one that has a significant role both in everyday life and in the shaping of artistic texts.
If we develop de Saussure’s notion of the conservative character of language, we can say that for the individual the entire linguistic system becomes a
sui generis quotation. At the moment when the individual realizes that language is a social institution, Język i społeczeństwo, M. Głowiński (ed.), Warsaw 1980, pp. 27-40. quotation from tradition is, thus, constituted by the experiences of the past stored and warehoused in speech, ready-made ways of knowing and evaluating the world via the word. The quotational nature of the individual utterance ( acte de parole) is, as a rule, most strongly felt when one is dealing with phraseology. We know that phraseological expressions, the current well-known saying or the folk adage, and also frequently the literary quotation that circulates in speech on the principles of phraseology – all these are signs drawn not from our own biography, but are rather the expressions of others’ experiences. We also know that they have emerged in order to live in an infinite number of repetitions. A Course in Modern Linguistics, New York 1958, p. 554. Linia i gwar, Warsaw 1959, pp. 44, 122, 190. Książeczka o człowieku, Cracow 1973. homo sapiens from nature’s cosmos. Human consciousness is also tormented by problems of being alien within conflicting cultural systems, especially when we become torn apart in the face of the culture’s ethical or ideological antagonisms.
Translation is a quote from another’s tradition, a joining on to another’s literary history. The entirety of the output of translators who work for the sake of a specific kind of artistic writing, is an identical resistance to loneliness in the cosmos of world literature. After all, not only individuals, but also nations sometimes become isolated, and are confronted with a sudden exhaustion of creative energy, perhaps finding themselves on a road that leads nowhere, into a vacuum. In Poland after 1956, both translations of Western literature, as well as translations of previously forbidden works by Soviet writers from the 1920s and 1930s, were an equally vital means of healing our creative work as the powerful explosion of innovation in original writing. The real value of the original literature of that time would necessarily have remained unclear and problematic, had it not been for the context shaped by translations of work by Sartre, Camus, Hemingway, Faulkner, the Surrealists, Tsvetaeva, Akhmatova, and others.
“Culture is collective memory,” Uspensky and Lotman claim.
Трудыпо знаковым системам, Tartu 1977, p. 3. Polska awangarda poetycka: Programy lat 1917-1923. Vol. 2. Manifesty i protesty, A. Lam (ed.), Cracow 1969, pp. 187-188.
The authority of speech that is no one’s and is common, speech far off in the past or as it currently is developing, turns out, however, to be an authority that is insufficiently suggestive, since it is completely anonymous. In this way, literary innovations simultaneously refer to the other’s word, which is another’s ready-made formation, and which represents a concrete, individual output of a writer. The native literary output is linked to the new text via various technologies of citation, and, thus, within a play of allusions, reminiscences, and paraphrases. The foreign-language output is adapted by technologies of translation. Witkacy’s dramas and novels, Joyce’s
Ulysses, Bely’s Petersburg, Białoszewski’s Wyprawy krzyżowe are all gigantic vortices of exactly such technologies of citation-translation. Dadaism and its extension, surrealism, developed rules of collage. Let us note that, as a poetics, collage reserves an important place for quotation; alongside ready-made products of an anonymous culture, collage can include quotations that reveal the author of a borrowed text. It is the same with transrational lyric verse; its occult and esoteric language, seemingly rejecting all compromises, reaching beyond the borders of the cult of humankind in the direction of the languages of birds, is not capable, in the long run, of doing without citation. One of the last manifestos of this doctrine Манифесты и программы русских футуристов, V. Markow (ed.), München 1967, pp. 179-180. zaum. Kruchenykh appeals not only to the situation of common speech, but also to Knut Hamsun (Ylajali, the name of an imaginary and invented girl), and he quotes Sologub, Dostoevsky, and Gogol, insisting that the strange names of places and characters that they think up are similar to the invented words in transrational poetry.
If a quotation can be an authority that aids acceptance of new ideas, then so may be a quotation from a foreign literature – one presented in the shape of a translation. Constructions tried and tested within other societies, poetics validated by others’ contemporaneity, cooperate with the development of a native poetry. They mobilize inventiveness. They shame us when we lag behind. They hearten us when the national audience rejects forms of expression or models of ethical positions that they find surprising. Translation soothes negative emotions, silences parochial conservatism, and favors humanist education.
It is not by chance that translation anti-criticism rouses itself where a quotation strategy conducted in original literature is also put in question. Maurycy Mochnacki, a Polish Romantic critic, anathematizes both the Classicist imitation of foreign patterns and the translation of foreign works (as a dominant of the literary culture of his predecessors).
The ease of attaining the most important results in the intellectual profession by means of translations, an excessively extensive knowledge of foreign languages, and, finally, the vast space that has separated the matters of our everyday life from the world of serious thought, rational reflections, and research, all this presages for us an epoch of torpor, and perhaps of complete intellectual stagnation. Thus, translations, which are most of all conducive to this stagnation, not just as regards language, but also as regards imagination and the thought that we express by language – translations are harmful.
Pisarze polscy o sztuce przekładu… , p. 150.
Adam Mickiewicz does the same:
The Dmochowski school of poetry is a school of imitators and translators from the French. Both contemporary ones and later ones. As their number has increased, perspectives have narrowed, learning has been limited, and talents have crumbled.
In the estimation of the Romantics, the poetics of reminiscence, the paraphrase of foreign developed above original creative work, brings the danger of uniformity, and, in consequence, the degeneration of national culture. Lack of a counterweight in the form of original works, growing out of native folk culture, reworking specific national experiences, deepens the crisis. Mickiewicz puts it ironically:
As to style, almost all translators, by virtue of long training, have reached the point that all, equally correctly, equally free of provincialisms and new forms of expression, all write verses well. These verses, strangely similar to each other, seem to proceed from one metal, from one mint.
But let us note that settling accounts with Classicism here means coming to terms with a certain historical convention assuming the concomitance
The translator is a procurer of quotation. If we agree with this formulation, let us note the initial conclusions that follow from it. Despite the assertions of anti-criticism, literary translationdoes not entail an intensified artificiality of verbal communication; for the recipient, it does not constitute a system built upon the practice of translations of utilitarian texts (the recipient may have no conscious experience of such practices); but it is a higher form of the universal
quotational nature of speech, something that is thus wholly “natural” or, in other words, completely indispensable for human linguistic behavior. Anti-criticism employs an absolute scale of measurement between “art” and “not art.” In anti-critical thinking, either a given text is part of art, or it is not. But, as was the case with the Romantics, anti-criticism itself weakens this antinomy: this is so whenever it sets translation alongside original literature that is derived from quotation, a literature that, as a result of imitative operations, it also removes outside the territory of art. Meanwhile, the poetics of reminiscence cannot be reduced to imitativeness. Today, after such outstanding successes for the poetics of reminiscence (of allusion, paraphrase, pastiche, quotation), such as Joyce’s Ulysses, Bely’s Petersburg, and Mann’s Doctor Faustus, after Bakhtin’s demonstration of the powerful force of “orientation toward the other’s word,” there is no way now not to perceive the role of quotation in original literature, and, indeed, in that of the highest quality. One must rather accept that “art,” like “value,” is a graduated concept. The translator (the procurer of quotation) is not a creator in an absolute sense, but becomes an artist if the translation orchestrates the same feeling of esthetic norm, function, and value in the readers as the original text. Słownik terminów literackich (the Polish Dictionary of Literary Terms) notes under the heading cytat [quotation/citation] the following related terms: “literary allusion, motto, paraphrase, stylization, winged words, travesty, epigrams.” Słownik terminów literackich, J. Slawiński (ed.), Wrocław 1976, p. 65. Prace z poetyki, M.R. Mayenowa (ed.), Warsaw 1968. description Дед свел в рай трам из двери в дверь лез и не дошел туго . Дуй , Иван . Червонцли ?... It is with these words that Mr Kitsch in The Bathhouse by Vladimir Mayakovsky wants to express some thought. The character uses a language invented by Mayakovsky, a nearly senseless succession of Russian words that imitates the sound of English. A literal translation would utterly destroy the whole effect. Mayakovsky: Plays, trans. G. Daniels, Evanston 1995, p. 206. czerwontsil.” Łaźnia, trans. A. Sandauer, Warsaw 1956.
Rapprochement with the quotation stimulates the evolution of the translator’s art.
When we quote, we do not by any means always accept the system of values suggested by the other’s text. Indeed, how frequently we employ citation for polemic purposes, to unmask the other’s thought that we treat as a piece of alien thinking or indeed as hostile thinking. I have written elsewhere that literary translation, too, is customarily a field of polemics, tendentious quotation in which the features of the original are magnified in order that they compromise themselves.
Styl i poetyka twórczości… See: the introduction to this volume. On Translation, R.A. Brower (ed.), Cambridge, MA 1959, p. 233.
Let us add that in the process of self-reduplication on the part of a monolingual culture, translations play a no less active role than original works and critical and scholarly commentaries. Hitherto, we have viewed the quotational function of translation from one perspective: as a “
supply form” of a text from a foreign literature. But, at the same time, literary translation makes self-quotational acts possible within a given national literature. I say possible, because this refers to a certain style in the art of translation, that is, specifically, to the school of translation that treats the language of works from the translator’s native literature (the language of the target tradition) as material for translation.
Robert Stiller, a Polish translator, writes:
[…] an adequate translation of Lewis Carroll would be impossible in Polish without what Witkacy, Bolesław Leśmian, and Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński brought to our language and style: I would, indeed, defend the assertion that this should be visible as a result.
Pisarze polscy o sztuce przekładu…, pp. 430-431.
It should be visible; it should not, however, exceed the limits of quasi-quotation.
“When I translated Maupassant’s novel
Bel ami, I read the whole of Chekhov – from cover to cover. I did not take a single sentence from Chekhov, but the whole time I was breathing in the stylistic atmosphere that I needed. From Chekhov I learned that concision, that lapidary quality that he shares with Maupassant.” Мастерство перевода, Сб, 1963, Moscow 1964, p. 236.
This fine Russian translator formulates the fundamental directives of his own method thus:
[…] we are allowed to and we ought to draw in the general linguistic atmosphere of this or that author, of this or that period, but we are not allowed to borrow expressions that are characteristic of a given author, ones that they introduced into literary circulation.
Once more it must be said that mechanisms of intralingual translation play a role in the process of interlingual translation: a quality of quotation (in this case, self-quotation) is the aim here, one that can never be achieved in full.
At the end, I offer two observations, which need further elaboration and more complex discussion in interpretations of concrete texts.
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