Translation and communism in Eastern Europe

Authored by: Ioana Popa

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Politics

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138657564
eBook ISBN: 9781315621289
Adobe ISBN:


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The Eastern European area constitutes a valuable vantage point for looking at the relationship and interactions between literary translation and politics. This observation has nothing to do with culturalist explanations attributing some sort of ‘ontological essence’ to this area, or a set of intrinsic and ‘typical’ cultural patterns that are supposed to determine all of its characteristics. Instead, the prominence of this relationship can be traced to social and historical backgrounds and long-term intellectual and political trends. It also stems from more general links between literature per se, language, and politics as these fields have taken shape in Eastern Europe. Moreover, these links can be usefully explored by considering the transfer of literature not simply across national borders but also across a ‘transsystemic’ border (Péteri 2004), e.g. one that separated two contrasted geopolitical systems, as did the Iron Curtain (Popa 2002, 2006). In that sense, Eastern Europe represents an interesting study site indeed. Translation reveals the interplay between literary transfers and politics especially during an historical context marked by the rise of undemocratic regimes, such as those claiming to be communist in this part of the European continent, as well as by the Cold War, which traditional scholarship regards as an historical stage of the international system moulded by confrontation, rivalry, and a hermetic divide between the capitalist and socialist worlds.

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