Sunday, May 31, 2009

Samuel Beckett, of course

The most well known self-translator is of course Samuel Beckett. He wrote his plays and prose in English or French and translated almost every work in the other language. Often he is considered to be the only self-translator who has done self-translation to such an extent, but although it is truly not common amongst self-translators to translate every single work, he is not the only one. Self-translation is also a characteristic of the oeuvre of André Brink or Nancy Huston, to name just a few. As Beckett's oeuvre is availabe in two languages, critics of consider only the work in one language, considering this version to be the original no matter in which direction the translation has occured. But as the translation can also be considered as a comment on the earlier version, critics who will take into account both versions of the work, will gain a deeper understanding.
Sometimes Beckett worked with professional translators but most of the time he translated his works alone. He also participated in the translations of his works into German. Most of the research in the field of self-translation has been done on Samuel Beckett, so the further references are only a minor selection.

Interesting research on Samuel Beckett as a self-translator for further reading:
- Friedman, Allen Warren et.al. (eds.) (1987): Beckett Translating/Translating Beckett. University Park/London: The Pennsylvania State.
- Fitch, Brian (1988) : Beckett and Babel: An Investigation into the Status of the Bilingual Work. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
- Scheiner, Corinne (1999): Writing at the Crossroads: Samuel Beckett and the Case of the Bilingual, Self-Translating Author. In: Marius Buning and Ton Hoenselaars (eds.): English Literature and the “Other” Languages. Atlanta and Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, pp. 175-184.
- Scheiner, Corinne (2000): Bilingualism and biculturalism in self-translation: Samuel Beckett and Vladimir Nabokov as doubled Novelists. Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Chicago.
- Oustinoff, Michaël (2001): Bilinguisme d'écriture et auto-traduction: Julien Green, Samuel Beckett, Vladimir Nabokov. Paris: L'Harmattan.

4 comments:

happilyappled said...

Hello, I really just need to greet you for this blog. It's gonna be the end of me - in the best way possible. I'm doing the same kind of research, actually, self-translation, Samuel Beckett, so these posts come in very handy. I was also thinking, maybe we could trade research points, bibliography, questions, conclusions, whatsoever, in some other way? What do you say?
Thank you, Bonnie [a student from Portugal]

Eva said...

Hi Bonnie, yes we can do that. I am exchanging those information with some other students from all over the world via a yahoo-group. It would be great if you join us.

Eva said...

Bonnie, how can I contact you?

happilyappled said...

well, we can contact each other through many ways. you can always start with Facebook, since it's so worldwide and famous and a nice starting point. I'm here, http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=571249586. It's not that I put interesting things up there pretty frequently, but over FB we can trade private messages and exchange e-mails, or something else. what do you say?

i would love to join that yahoo-group, too. just let me know how to get there :)