World Literature

Download Kafka Translated: How Translators have Shaped our Reading of by Michelle Woods PDF

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By Michelle Woods

Kafka Translated is the 1st e-book to examine the problem of translation and Kafka's paintings. What influence do the translations have on how we learn Kafka? Are our interpretations of Kafka stimulated via the translators' interpretations? In what methods has Kafka been 'translated' into Anglo-American tradition via pop culture and via teachers?

Michelle Woods investigates concerns significant to the burgeoning box of translation reports: the inspiration of cultural untranslatability; the centrality of woman translators in literary historical past; and the under-representation of the impression of the translator as interpreter of literary texts. She in particular specializes in the position of 2 of Kafka's first translators, Milena Jesenská and Willa Muir, in addition to modern translators, Mark Harman and Michael Hofmann, and the way their paintings may let us reconsider examining Kafka. From right here Woods opens up the complete means of translation and re-examines approved and winning interpretations of Kafka's work.

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Additional info for Kafka Translated: How Translators have Shaped our Reading of Kafka

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Jesenská “cannily sold” the story to Neumann “on the strength of its credentials as a story about the oppression of a worker” (Hockaday 1997: 47). Neumann, “an energetic socialist of broad tastes” (47), was clearly impressed by the story; in a highly unusual move for the paper, he devoted the entire issue to the story, adding an editor’s note at the end: The story, with which we filled this whole issue, belongs to the best of modern German stories. We decided it would be better if we did not serialize it, but present it whole to our readers as an unusual but pleasant exception (Neumann 1920: 72, my translation).

Jesenská was fortunate in working in this place and era, since the profusion of avant-garde publications in the inter-war era were serious about introducing experimental and revolutionary narrative styles into the domestic sphere. There was a real excitement about the possibility that translations of experimental work (such as Karel Čapek’s influential translation of Apollinaire’s “Zone”) would influence the development of Czech-language literature. Almost nothing has been written about Jesenská’s translations, even among Czech critics.

We will surprise him – all right? Perhaps – perhaps it will give him a little pleasure (235–6). These translations were never published. From the outset Kafka was in no doubt that Jesenská was a good translator of his work; that, when it came to his work she had a “magic hand” (Kafka 1990: 174)/“Zauberhaften Hand” (Kafka 1952: 214), because she had understood it on a profound level; “the truth of your translation is obvious,” he writes about her translation of “The Stoker”; “hardly a single misunderstanding; which wouldn’t mean so much in itself, but I find there is a constant powerful and decisive understanding as well” (Kafka 1990: 13)/“die wie selbsrverständliche Wahrheit der Übersetzung ist mir, wenn ich das Selbstverständliche von mir abschüttle … kaum ein Mißverständnis, das ware ja noch gar nicht so viel, aber immer kräftiges und entsclossenes Verstehn” (Kafka 1952: 22).

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