Publication details [#156]

Gouanvic, Jean-Marc. 2002. The stake of translation in literary fields. Across Languages and Cultures 3 (2) : 159–168.


This article proposes to examine the stakes of translation in literary texts. Inspired by Pierre Bourdieu's theory of culture, it uses the notions of habitus, field and illusio in the framework of the translation of American literature in post-WWII France. After a short definition of what a field is for Bourdieu, the article analyses the power of literary translation during the period. As it is based on the relationship between the habitus of the translator and a field, the translation is endowed with a power which is not stated as such and which relies on the exercise of legitimate violence from dominants, i.e., a violence that is not known as violence, a violence that is tacitly recognised. Thus, American literature imposes in France under the form of non-canonical genres such as science fiction and the série noire, but also highbrow literature, the translation of which has begun before WWII. The article closes on the stakes of worldwide globalisation: the imposition of literary illusio, that is, the imposition of Western hegemony, on an overall scale.
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