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The Poetry of TranslationFrom Chaucer & Petrarch to Homer & Logue$
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Matthew Reynolds

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605712

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605712.001.0001

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The Scope of Translation

The Scope of Translation

(p.2) (p.3) 1 The Scope of Translation
The Poetry of Translation

Matthew Reynolds

Oxford University Press

The verb ‘to translate’ has had many meanings: ‘to transplant’, ‘to move’ for example. Even as applied to texts—especially literary texts—its meaning varies: Derrida's idea that there used to be a ‘classical model’ of translation as a ‘ “transfer” of pure signifieds’ is not true of literary translation. It does not follow that ‘human communication equals translation’ (as George Steiner claimed). Rather, the word ‘translation’ names many distinguishable processes which are metaphorically connected to other things. The word ‘translation’ includes within itself the metaphor of ‘carrying across’; but poets can think of translation also as ‘interpretation’, ‘opening’, ‘giving way to passion’, ‘desire’, ‘taking a view’, ‘dying, ‘bringing to life’, ‘metamorphosis’. What poet‐translators do, and therefore what translation is, varies with the guiding metaphor: this book will explore many examples from across the history of English literature.

Keywords:   translation, metaphor, Derrida, Steiner, poetry, meaning

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