Book reviewVariations sur l’étranger dans les lettres Arras: Artois Presses Université, 2004. 329 pp. ISBN 2-84832-013-3 20 € (Traductologie). .
Reviewed by Marieke Delahaye
In Translation Studies and in Comparative Literature, the concept of “world maps of literatures” (Lambert 1991) refers to the literary representation of the entire world. Its aim is to offer a more scholarly basis for the approach of literary phenomena worldwide than Goethe’s Weltliteratur (see Pascale Casanova’s La République mondiale des lettres; see also work by David Damrosch, Franco Moretti, etc.). Casanova provides an interesting renaissance for the Goethe-Herder heritage under the umbrella of Pierre Bourdieu’s “international circulation of symbolic goods”; the idea of world maps refers to various concepts of (world) systems, going from Even-Zohar to Wallerstein. Such a “world map of literatures” is constantly in need of refinement. The present book by Marie-Hélène Torres aims at filling the gap of the Brazilian “map” for the last 100 years (1890–1999), at least from the perspective of its perception in French. The author describes and analyses the cultural marks left by Brazilian literature in French translations in the cultural and literary traditions of the French twentieth century. The most striking feature of this work is that it investigates Brazilian literature as a whole rather than as an accumulation of specific authors. In this respect Marie-Hélène Torres’ monograph confirms a trend together with the work of Heloisa Barbosa (1994) and Laurence Malingret (2002).