Translation, stylistics and To the Lighthouse: A Deictic Shift Theory analysis
University of Udine, Italy
Scholars in Descriptive Translation Studies and other areas of translation theory have often employed ‘style’ as a term, but have rarely expanded their stylistic reflections beyond the level of impressionistic description. In the last decade, however, a small number of articles and monographs have advocated or attempted a fusion of stylistics and translation studies, into something that Kirsten Malmkjær (2004) has aptly termed “translational stylistics.” Building on this handful of contributions, the author proposes a bi-textual analysis of deictic shifts in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927) and Giulia Celenza’s early Italian translation Gita al faro (1934).
Whenever translation studies concerns itself with literature—and modern translation studies has concerned itself pre-eminently with literature—it would seem inevitable, as well as desirable, that it should employ the analytical tools of stylistics. If translation is seen as the manipulation of literature across language borders (Bassnett and Lefevere 1990, preface), its study certainly requires a linguistic understanding of what is manipulated, and how. Arguably, no discipline can provide that linguistic understanding better than stylistics, which has been defined from the outset as the linguistic study of literature (Leech and Short 1981, 13); one could go so far as to define literary translation studies as a form of “comparative stylistics” (Vinay and Darbelnet 1958, 1977).
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