Measuring canonization: A reply to Paola Venturi

José Lambert
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Table of contents

The article, “The translator’s immobility: English modern classics in Italy”. by Paola Venturi is an interesting illustration of the insights that can be gathered by international scholars from the perspectives of functional-systemic research as exemplified—mainly—by Gideon Toury (see http://​www​.tau​.ac​.il​/~toury/) and Itamar Even-Zohar (http://​www​.tau​.ac​.il​/~itamarez/). It is hardly necessary for me to stress the mutual complementarity of these two scholars’ methods: Having introduced (or re-introduced) translation into the cultural dynamics with the aid of the sociologically oriented concept of “norms”, Toury left space for Even-Zohar and to others to deal with the general fluctuations on a variety of scales of cultural value of translated communication, as one among many forms of communication. Whether the conceptual tools that these two scholars have given us are in full harmony with each other, and whether all of their implications have been fully explored is not at issue here. Due to particular circumstances in the 1970’s, their work has often been considered by translation scholars to be peculiarly relevant (only) for literary translation, though in fact the relevance of their concepts far transcends, and very explicitly so, the realms of literary scholarship (on translation). The perceived restriction to the particular sub-areas of translation studies may teach us more about the observers than about the observed.

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