In the Beginning was Translation

Leevi Lehto

in The Sound of Poetry / The Poetry of Sound

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226657424
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226657448 | DOI:
In the Beginning was Translation

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The poetic sound in translation is being described in this chapter because it would not even make sense to speak about translating poetry without accounting for the sound. The specific sound of a poem or a poet usually represents a new material dimension inside a natural language. In the history of translating poetry, Benjamin's method has been in wider use than is usually recognized. The chapter cites the example of transferring English, German, and French metrical patterns into Finnish poetry during its so-called traditional period (1880–1950). Translation forms the basis of cultures, that is, meaning, among other things, that translation is always also (already) political. Focusing the primacy of translation does not rule out the possibility that “original works” may contribute to the realization of the pure (read impure) language.

Keywords: poetic sound; translating; poetry; poem; material dimension; natural language

Chapter.  1754 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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