Complexity and unpredictability in cultural flows : two French Holocaust novels in English translation

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Abstract

This article analyses the presence of translated fiction in the contemporary globalized UK book market, using the metaphor of “landscape”. It focuses on two French novels about the Second World War and the Holocaust: Fabrice Humbert's L'Origine de la violence (2009), translated by Frank Wynne as The Origin of Violence (2011), and Agnès Desarthe's Dans la nuit brune (2010), translated by Adriana Hunter as The Foundling (2012). By analysing interviews with publishers, author appearances at literary events, and published reviews, the article considers the processes of circulation and reception that govern the flow of translated literature. War literature is an interesting case because its themes are nationally specific and politically and aesthetically contentious, whilst its subject matter is also potentially universal. Questioning the equation of “fluency” with domestication and assimilation, the article suggests that the outcomes of cultural transfer are unstable and unpredictable.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-49
JournalTranslation Studies
Volume7
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Holocaust literature, literary publishing, landscape, reception, Fabrice Humbert, Agnès Desarthe