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Annie Abrahams

writing it twice – painsong

writing it twice
Sara Kippur, Writing It Twice
Self-Translation and the Making of a World Literature in French,
Northwestern University Press,
ISBN 978-0-8101-3205-4

While I was in Germany for unaussprechbarlich, I recieved this book by post, because there is an image of my work in it.

On page 135 there are some lines on the presentation of my work painsong (2004) as an example of presenting translations in dynamic contact with each other. Kippur also describes painsong as a dizzying auditory superposition of languages with a content that figures pain through discordant multilingualism.

I have read the introduction and feel stimulated to dig further.
Chapter 1 bears a motto by Marcel Proust: Great books are written in a kind of foreign language.
“Toward a Model of Collaborative Self-Translation” and “The bilingual call for Autofiction” are some intriguing sub-chapter titles.
I will certainly write some more about it on my e-stanger tumblr when I will have read the rest of the book.

Though the practice of self-translation long predates modernity, it has found new forms of expression in the global literary market of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. The international renown of self-translating authors Samuel Beckett, Joseph Brodsky, and Vladimir Nabokov has offered motivation to a new generation of writers who actively translate themselves.

Intervening in recent debates in world literature and translation studies, Writing It Twice establishes the prominence and vitality of self-translation in contemporary French literature. Because of its intrinsic connection to multiple literary communities, self-translation prompts a reexamination of the aesthetics and politics of reading across national lines. Kippur argues that self-translated works should be understood as the paradigmatic example of world literature and, as such, crucial for interpreting the dynamics of literary circulation into and out of French.
nupress.northwestern.edu/content/writing-it-twice-0

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Annie Abrahams
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