Translations, Paratextual Mediation, and Ideological Closure

Urpo Kovala
University of Jyväskylä, Finland


This article deals with the way so-called paratexts were used, in Finland in 1890-1939, in publishing translations of Anglo-American literature, and especially with the tendencies towards ideological closure that those paratexts manifest. The dominant ideology in the material is what could be called religious-conservative ideology, emphasizing the thought content of the works and their (educative, civilizing, sometimes also entertaining) impact on readers. This is due to the ideological unification process that penetrated the cultural institutions, which were still relatively undifferentiated and non-autonomous during the period in Finland. The article emphasizes that in studying paratext, it is necessary to take heed of the wider cultural context; looking at the paratexts alone is not enough.

Table of contents

Translations are not merely texts that have undergone translation. Rather, they are texts that are filtered through many selection and modification processes before reaching the reader. The translator is only one of the mediators between the original work and the reader of its translation. These mediation [ p. 120 ] processes, it is assumed in this article, exert a considerable influence on the reader's reception of foreign literature.

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