22 September 2008

Shifting gears

Things have been pretty silent around here lately due to a transcontinental move and the commencement of a taught MA (and the present lack of internet access in my room). Hopefully, this is about to change (both the silence *and* the state of my online access).

I've thought a lot about the direction I'd like this humble litblog to take, and I think the most helpful (and least dangerous) thing would be to focus on interesting things I come across during my studies. I've barely begun my reading, but already have a few things I'd like to post about. And since I am my primary audience, I look forward to keeping track of where my thoughts go in this exhilarating, complex field.

To begin with, there's this loaded little footnote in Translation Studies by Susan Bassnett that I found particularly relevant:
In his article, 'Translation in the United States', Babel VII, (2), 1968, pp. 119-24 Henry Fischbach points out that the United States has a shorter history of translation than almost any other industrialized nation of the world, and attributes this deficiency to four basic points:

(a) The political and commercial isolationism of nineteenth-century America.
(b) The traditional cultural allegiance to the English-speaking community.
(c) The American complacent self-sufficiency in technology.
(d) The strength of the myth of the Land of Promise for emigrants and their subsequent desire to integrate.

Fischbach's theory is interesting in that it would seem to show correspondences with the English attitude towards translation linked to British colonial expansion.
I was reminded of John O'Brien's infamous diatribe. He has quite a lot of righteous indignation to back his complaints about translation "hype." But from where I'm sitting, as much noise should be made as possible--even if it annoys those who go about this business the "right" way.

After all, it isn't just the "Americans" (or rather, "U.S.ians") who need certain attitude adjustments when it comes to literature from other countries.

2 comments:

mowgli said...

I read Paul Auster's Book of Illusions after reading about it here. I really like his writing. Now I am reading the NY Trilogy. By the way, we have the same last name.

amcorrea said...

That's wonderful! Yes, Auster is amazing.