37, 2⁰ le matin in translation: interpreting and transforming the voice of the other in literary translation
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 20:29 authored by Estelle Hélène Borrey
This thesis comprises a case study in literary translation. As such, it presents a comparative translation analysis of Philippe Djian's 1985 French novel 37, 2° Le matin. This text is compared with two other corpus texts, namely Howard Buten's English translation, published in 1988 and known as Betty Blue: The Story of a Passion, and Daniele Petruccioli's 2010 Italian translation entitled 37° 2 al mattino. The two translations are examined both as literary texts in their own right, and as translations which recreate the French text that they interpret. My thesis is an investigation and evaluation of how specific contexts of production, reception, and circulation shape, and are in turn shaped by, the aforementioned corpus texts. As part of the investigation and evaluation of these contexts, Petruccioli's experience as a translator of Djian's texts is explored. My findings are supported by secondary sources and my own original research. Both Petruccioli and the translator in general are perceived as creators and "performers" of texts in translation. Literary translation is regarded in the context of this thesis as a complex textual performance which combines elements of creativity with intercultural and interlingual skills and sensibilities. Ultimately, it is argued that whilst Buten's 1988 English translation is commendable in many respects, it also contains some questionable elements, including examples of domestication, omissions, and mistranslations. I propose these can be avoided with the adoption of a semantic approach underpinned by a pro-foreignisation ethos. Although I critique some of the more significant omissions and mistranslations in Buten's text, the main thrust of my argument focuses on an evaluation of the strong domestication tendency evident throughout it. This tendency is presented as the fundamental reason that underpins the call for a retranslation of Djian's 37, 2° Le matin in English advanced herein. In addition to translation theory, my claims draw upon and are principally supported by postmodernist perspectives on interpretation, authorship, and the creation of meaning, and Lawrence Venuti's foreignisation and domestication paradigm as well as skopos theory. This last paradigm is developed and outlined by Katharina Reiss, Hans Vermeer, and Christiane Nord.