Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 2

Literature is part of our cultural heritage, and that can enrich everyone's lives in many ways.

Literary works can be entertaining, beautiful, funny, tragic, informative or meaningful. They take us beyond the limited experience of our lives to show us the lives of others, giving us experiences we may not face in our own lives. It leads us intellectually and emotionally, and deepens our understanding of our history, society and our individual lives. This connection between people and literature works both ways: as literature affects people, people affect literature. History plays a fundamental role in shaping literature: every novel, play or poem one reads is influenced by the political context in which it is written, the people that the author knows and the wider society that frames the entire work. How can we even consider reading literature without understanding the work through its historical context? Roland Barthes, in The Death of the Author, acknowledges that an author is always a product of his time: the author 'can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original'. Historicism argues that literature is a product of its age and the meaning of a text can only be discovered by fitting it around other discourses from the same period. The author writes only what he or she has learnt from that particular time in history, and the messages their work conveys are inextricably linked to the society in which it is written. Literature tells us about contextual society, widening what literature is: while formalists judge strict literary work on its aesthetic value, historicism results in literary and non-literary texts being given equal weight, unbiased and aware of all aspects surrounding a work. In great writing from the past we find ancestors, and we not only see the country and the people as they were, but we also soak up the climate of the times through the language, characters, tones and settings.

The text is a translation, a redaction, or a retelling. To make things even more difficult is the possibility that the text itself is a translation or a redaction or a retelling; that is, a text which attempts to approximate, but not duplicate, another text. If it is a translation, it is an approximation of the original text in another language. Translations can open the world of another culture to

those who do not speak the language of that culture, but such readers must always be aware of the limitations of translation. When we read a translation, we are experiencing a re-creation--the creation of the translator who is trying to approximate not only the content but the spirit of the original. She may be more or less successful in doing so. What she cannot do, by definition, is recreate the style of the original.
In the last several decades, literary works from around the world have made their way onto the reading lists of American university and college courses in an increasingly wide variety of disciplines. Through works in translation, students in thisr mostly monolingual society are at last becoming acquainted with the multilingual and multicultural world in which they will live and work. Many instructors have expanded their reach to teach texts that originate from across the globe. Unfortunately, literature in English translation is frequently taught as if it had been written in English, and students are not made familiar with the cultural, linguistic, and literary context in which that literature was produced. As a result, they submit what they read to their own cultural expectations; they do not read in translation and do not reap the benefits of intercultural communication. Here a true challenge arises for an instructor. Books in translation seldom contain introductory information about the mediation that translation implies or the stakes involved in the transfer of cultural information. Instructors are often left to find their own material about the author or the culture of the source text. Lacking the appropriate pedagogical tools, they struggle to provide information about either the original work or about translation itself, and they might feel uneasy about teaching material for which they lack adequate preparation. Consequently, they restrict themselves to well-known works in translation or works from other countries originally written in English. Literature in Translation addresses this pedagogical lack. The book's sixteen essays provide for instructors a context in which to teach works from a variety of languages and cultures in ways that highlight the effects of linguistic and cultural transfers.