Literatura quebecka w Polsce - studium (o) przypadku
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QUEBEC LITERATURE IN POLAND – A CASE STUDY
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The purpose of this analysis is to discuss the possibilities of translating Quebec literature into Polish on the basis the comparative study of A Season in the Life of Emmanuel by Marie-Claire Blais and its Polish translation by Julian Rogozinski. The paper focuses on such elements of the original text which may be read as signs of (cultural) otherness. Although the question of adherence to a specific literary genre should be posed by interpreters of translated texts in general, the issue becomes central in the case of A Season in the Life of Emmanuel. The reason for it is that the novel is inscribed in the tradition of roman du terroir (novel of the land) – a genre firmly established in Quebec literature – which tradition, however, Blais approaches with irony. In the course of the analysis of the translation, one cannot ignore the elements characteristic for roman du terroir, such as certain key-words rooted in Quebec culture, which Blais often exaggerates or distorts. Among such elements there are the seasons (particularly the never-ending winters), a characteristic family model, or markers of the importance of religion and education. These themes form a distinct representation of culture, which – in the effect of the author’s exaggerations and distortions – appears exceptionally difficult to translate. Understanding translated texts depends on readers’ knowledge of the source culture, which, in the case of the Polish reading audience, may prove to be largely limited. Therefore, the role of the translator as a provider of the extratextual knowledge – who, for instance, may resort to the use of the paratext in order to elucidate obscure references to specific cultural traditions – cannot be underestimated. In this context, the preface to the Polish edition of A Season in the Life of Emmanuel seems less than satisfactory in clarifying the ways in which the novel is rooted in Quebec culture. The above notwithstanding, other signs of cultural otherness (such as proper names used in the Polish translation of the novel) facilitate one’s reception of the text as a pastiche of the roman du terroir.
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