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Wednesday, 27 April 2016
Post-Colonial Translation V

Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications,
Jeremy Munday, Routledge, 2016
Chapter 8, "Cultural and ideological turns" (pp. 197-221), page 202

Focusing on the role of literature - which has played a significant part in civilisation, religion, rebellion and all facets of human life - Munday quotes André Lefevere on the way institutions interact with the poetics of society:

Institutions enforce or, at least, try to enforce the dominant poetics of a period by using it as a yardstick against which current production is measured. Accordingly, certain works of literature will be elevated to the level of 'classics' with a relatively short time after publication, while others are rejected, some to reach the exalted position of a classic later, when the dominant poetics has changed.

We can see this at work, for example, in the writings of black slaves in the closing years of slavery in the USA and the following years of freedom. Now regarded as classics, at the time of their writing they were distinctly out of vogue with the prevailing thoughts of society. Munday comments:

Classic status is enhanced by a book's inclusion in school or university reading lists, in anthologies or its use as a comparison in reviews.

Perhaps that's why my books don't sell very well - they have never been included on any school or university program.

Posted By Jonathan, 8:11am Comment Comments: 0