Original and translation

Leena Laiho

Table of contents

One way regarding the question of ‘being an original’ is to link it conceptually with the issue of ‘being a translation’, and understand all this as an ontological issue about a literary work of art. Put in a philosophical framework, as suggested, the relationship between original and translation is approachable through ‘identity’, and consequently, the criteria for being the same. In this article, the notion of ‘identity’ is followed by ‘similarity’ and ‘difference’ as further vantage points for exploring original and translation. The focus is on a few accounts to exemplify the diversity of concepts, and their origins in the Western tradition. Epistemic assumptions determine the notions of original and translation, and their relation, and even the relevance of the issue, per se. Binary opposition as a standpoint may not encourage a post-structural scholarly thinking in non-essentialist terms.

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