NEAREAST 590 - Topics in Near Eastern Studies
Winter 2017, Section 001 - The Task of the Self-Translator
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Near East Studies (NEAREAST)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
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Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Upper-level undergraduates or graduate students with previous coursework in Near Eastern studies.
May be elected three times for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
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Walter Benjamin famously wrote that a translation issues from the “afterlife” of the original: “For a translation comes later than the original, and since the important works of world literature never find their chosen translators at the time of their origins, their translation marks their stage of continued life.” This graduate seminar focuses on the case of multilingual writers and their self-translations to raise questions concerning the temporality, directionality, and “afterlife” of translated works. The figure of the self-translator challenges models of translation and cross-cultural circulation that assume various cultural and historical gaps between the source and its translation. For one, self-translation calls into question the notions of originality or “the original” and of “fidelity,” and requires us to consider the overlap between translation and rewriting. What brought writers to produce the same texts in different languages, at times for similar audiences of multilingual readers? What theories of translation or world literature might be helpful when approaching the case of Jewish self-translation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? We will discuss these issues also in the context of comparative Jewish studies, considering the difference between internal, Hebrew-Yiddish, self-translation, and the translation between Hebrew or Yiddish and a third “non-Jewish” language, whether European or Middle-Eastern.
Theoretical readings include classical texts in translation theory and multilingualism studies (Emily Apter, Walter Benjamin, David Damrosch, Jacques Derrida, Chana Kronfeld, Lawrence Venuti, Yasemin Yildiz) alongside new research on self-translation. We pair these theoretical texts with literary readings, drawing on students’ fields of research and on a selection from the works of S. Y. Abramovitch (Mendele Moykher-sforim), S. Y. Agnon, Sholem Asch, Samuel Beckett, Nahman Bialik, Avraham Ben Yitzhak, Dan Pagis, Y. L. Peretz, Tuvia Rübner, Zalman Shneour, and Ludwig Strauss.

Course Requirements:

Lively participation, short response papers, discussion leadership, final research paper.

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NEAREAST 590 - Topics in Near Eastern Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
W 1:00PM - 4:00PM
1/4/17 - 4/18/17

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