Publication details [#19171]

Publication type
Chapter in book
Publication language


The comic is one of the few broadly integrated patterns of culture - incorporating language, ideology, social organization, and material culture, among others - discussed by translators, and it is generally acknowledged that comic texts are notoriously difficult to translate. The humorous aspects of early Irish literature delight contemporary readers but they contributed to the reception problems of this literature in English in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This chapter investigates the translation of complex cultural patterns, of which humor stands as a prime example. Drawing on Kuhn's concept of scientific paradigms, the argument proposes that divergence of cultural paradigms can block perception of cultural paradigms in texts from radically different cultures, but that paradigm shifts in the receiving culture are associated with shifts in textual reception. Factors causing interference with the translation of early Irish humorous tales are explored, including nationalistic debates about humor and the nationalist rejection of the stage Irishman. Such interference led to the suppression of humour in translations of early Irish texts; more recent shifts in comic paradigms have made those same comic elements accessible once again. The reception of the humour in early Irish tales stands as an example of the challenges to communicating the central cultural paradigms of colonized peoples.
Source : Abstract in book