Translating the Literatures of Small European Nations

BookTranslating the Literatures of Small European Nations

Translating the Literatures of Small European Nations


December 31st, 2019



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This book constitutes the most detailed and wide-ranging comparative study to date of how European literatures written in less well known languages try, through translation, to reach the wider world. Through case studies of over thirteen different national contexts as diverse as Bosnian, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish and Serbian, it explores patterns and contrasts in approaches to supply-driven translation, cultural diplomacy, institutional support and international gate-keeping, while examining the particular fates of poetry, women’s writing and genre fiction, and the opportunities arising from trans-medial circulation, self-translation and translingualism and a more radical critique of power balances in the translation and publishing industries. Its comparative approach challenges both the narratives of uniqueness that arise from discrete national approaches and the narrative of tragic marginalization that prevails in world literary approaches. Instead, it uses an interdisciplinary mix of literary, historical, sociological, gender- and translation-studies approaches to illuminate the often pioneering, innovative thinking and strategies that mark these literatures as they take on the inequalities of globalization.

'This volume is a welcome addition to the fast-growing literature on translation studies, and on world literature.'
Theo D'haen, Emeritus Professor at Leuven University and Leiden University

Translating the Literatures of Small European Nations covers a lot of ground and one leaves it with a heightened respect for translators and for the multitude of European literatures.’
Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, Translation Studies

Author Information

Rajendra Chitnis is an Associate Professor of Czech at the University of Oxford. Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen is a Senior Lecturer in Scandinavian Studies at University College London. Rhian Atkin is a translator and editor, and a researcher at CLEPUL, University of Lisbon. Zoran Milutinović is a Professor of South Slav Literature and Modern Literary Theory at University College London.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1. The Global Presentation of Small National Literatures: South Slavs in Literary History and Theory17
2. Translators as Ambassadors and Gatekeepers: The Case of South Slav Literature35
3. Supply-driven Translation: Compensating for Lack of Demand56
4. Literature as Cultural Diplomacy: Czech Literature in Great Britain, 1918–3877
5. Exporting the Canon: The Mixed Experience of the Dutch Bibliotheca Neerlandica99
6. Creative Autonomy and Institutional Support in Contemporary Slovene Literature117
7. Strategies for Success? Evaluating the Rise of Catalan Literature134
8. Gender, Genre and Nation: Nineteenth-century Swedish Women Writers on Export153
9. Translating as Re-telling: On the English Proliferation of C.P. Cavafy173
10. Criminal Peripheries: The Globalization of Scandinavian Crime Fiction and Its Agents192
11. Literary Translation and Digital Culture: The Transmedial Breakthrough of Poland’s The Witcher213
12. Towards a Multilingual Poetics: elf-translation, Translingualism and Maltese Literature235
13. Does Size Matter? Questioning Methods for the Study of ‘Small’255
Coda: When Small is Big and Big is Small275