Article published in:Heterolingualism in/and Translation
Edited by Reine Meylaerts
[Target 18:1] 2006
► pp. 121–137
Language politics, translation, and American literary history
The article deals with the problem of linguistic alterity in American literary histories. The debate over the ‘foreignness’ or the ‘domesticity’ of a text or translation is usually conducted in a rather polarizing fashion, as in the case of Venuti (1995). Venuti’s conceptual framework fails to provide adequate criteria for differentiating domesticating and foreignizing translation strategies, which easily results in inflated claims about the linguistic hegemony of the Anglo-American world. In reaction to this, the article reconceptualizes the two translation strategies as part of the paradoxical internal logic of culture in order to highlight how every culture is continually in the process of (re-)translating itself. Therefore, the analysis is broadened to include the domesticating aspects of the foreignizing strategy, and vice versa, the foreignizing potential of domesticating translations. The domestication of the foreign is evident in the ambiguous inclusion of non-English or bilingual texts in American literary histories. The foreignization of the domestic, by contrast, appears from a persistent tendency on the part of literary historians to describe their forerunners or competitors as excessively Anglo- or Eurocentric. Through this reflexive application of Venuti’s strategies, the article draws attention to the paradoxical togetherness of the foreign and the domestic inside American literary culture.
Keywords: translation, domestication/foreignization, multilingualism, American literary history, Anglocentrism, language politics
- 1.Paradoxes of culture
- 2.Domesticating the foreign
- 3.Foreignizing the domestic
Published online: 05 December 2006
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