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Postmodern Literary Theory and Translation by Martha Pulido Graduate Programme on Literary and Humanistic Translation August 2004. Based on : Niall Lucy Postmodern Literary Theory Blackwell, Oxford 1997. and

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Postmodern Literary Theory and TranslationbyMartha PulidoGraduate Programme on Literary and Humanistic TranslationAugust 2004

based on niall lucy postmodern literary theory blackwell oxford 1997

Based on:Niall Lucy Postmodern Literary TheoryBlackwell, Oxford 1997

and

Collier and Geyer-Ryan (ed.) Literary Theory Today Polity Press, Cambridge, U.K. 1992

questions we shall discuss
Questions we shall discuss:
  • What is literature?
  • What is the value of a literary work?
  • What is a text? What is a translated text?
  • What is an author? What is a translator?
  • How influential are concepts like otherness, poststructuralism, postcolonial studies for the practice of translation?
slide4
Literary Theory has tried to answer the question:“What is Literature?”In postmodern world, literature is just another text.
slide5
For Roland Barthes:A Text is self-conscious and productive.The Text is an activity of production that is endless.
barthes makes the difference between
Barthes makes the difference between:
  • An ‘answering work’ (modernism)
  • A ‘questioning text’ (postmodernism):
    • a text that never stops producing itself as textuality;
    • a text that never ceases to be a question;
    • that is inexhaustibly questioning and questionable;
    • Isn’t it the definiton of a translated Text?
modernism
Characterized by a loss of faith.

Human sensibility has been destroyed by industrialized mass culture.

Multiple points of view.

Discontinous narrative

Fragmentary structure

Absence of authorial centre.

Experiments with textual means (work)

The most famous of these is “Stream-of-consciousness”.

From ‘meaning-to-say’ to ‘meaning-as- play’

Modernism
postmodernism
Everything is a ‘text’ as differentiated from a ‘work’.

Denying special value to literary texts.

Nothing is central.

Texts are assemblages of ‘surface’.

Meaning-as-play.

Literary Studies should be seen as the pragmatics of writing.

Such an object is closer to a text.

A text that allows pragmatics to be understood as ethics.

Postmodernism
for lyotard the postmodern condition
For Lyotard (The Postmodern Condition):
  • Postmodernism is:
    • rule producing
      • as opposed to rule imitating.
  • Postmodern theory is always:
    • postmodern literary theory
      • even when it is about
        • architecture
        • television...
  • as it privileges the auto-poesic text over all others
for lacoue labarthe and nancy
For Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy:
  • Postmodernism in Literature means “That something new”, which is:
    • the literary absolute or
    • the absolute of literature, that is
      • poiesy
      • production
      • process
      • inspiration
the death of history
The Death of History
  • For language to have meaning, culture has to have value and history have to matter:
  • But, history is a lie by which culture disguises the fact of its naturally savage interests and practices in the name of human progress and welfare.
  • Then it cannot be possible to have faith in the power of language to convey plain truth.
the absence of history as a metanarrative gives rise to
The absence of history as a metanarrative gives rise to:
  • The dehistorization of contexts
  • The reconception of:
    • literary texts
    • knowledges
    • signs
  • The production of something new (romanticism).
the death of criticism
The Death of Criticism
  • Quixote imitating Amadis of Gaul
  • Cervantes pretending to be the Cid Hamete Benengeli
  • Alonso Quijano pretending to be Don Quixote
  • Pierre Ménard pretending to substitute Cervantes
the death of criticism15
The Death of Criticism
  • Texts are more than writing due to the multimedia possibilities.
  • ‘Literature’ then, cannot be regarded as a stable structure.
  • Any literary text cannot be exhausted by any act of reading or interpretation.
  • Literature has no essence.
the death of theory
The Death of Theory
  • To apprehend the aesthetic value of literature
    • theory is an obstacle if it pretends to be prescriptive:
    • it obstructs the passage to a ‘love’ or a ‘feeling for the aesthetic.
for foucault
For Foucault
  • Theory is an art
  • Politics is an art
  • Ethics is an art (a practice of Concept Creation)
  • Pragmatics is an ethics
    • they require skills on “how to proceed”;
    • they require certain judgment as opposed to determining laws;
    • dispersion as opposed to synthesis;
    • from the ‘what’ to the ‘how’.
what is an ethical decision in translation
What is an ethical decision in translation?
  • It is an aesthetic and/or textual practice
  • It is both ‘appreciation’ and ‘obligation’
  • If through translation we can show how it is possible to appreciate the cultural values of literature we are thus engaged in a social practice.
  • Such an ethics is based on the knowledge that every system is dysfunctional.
what is then a text

What is then a text?

A text is an assemblage, not an essence, that relates theory and pragmatics establishing relations with history, politics and society?

what is then a translated text

What is then a translated text?

A translated text is an assemblage, not an essence, that relates theory of translation and pragmatics of translation, establishing relations with the historical, political and sociological context of the text, and establishing relations with the history of translation, the politics of translation and the sociological context of translation?