Negocjacje/transakcje/interakcje –  o współpracy translatorskiej Virginii Woolf, Katherine Mansfield i Samuela Koteliańskiego

Mirosława Kubasiewicz


In her new book, Claire Davison, a professor of Modernist Literature at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 and Chair of the French Virginia Woolf Society, analyses the role which the process of translating Russian literature played in the development of Virginia Woolf’s and Katherine Mansfield’s individual literary styles. Both writers were invited to collaborate on the translations by S.S. Koteliansky, a Ukranian Jew, who started the project in order to show the English readers a more complex picture of Russian literature; the invitation came at the time when each of the writers was experimenting with new writing strategies. The collaboration with Koteliansky became a “laboratory” in which the translators explored the questions of consciousness, polyphony, gender or identity, so the problems which both were preoccupied with as writers just then. Davison underlines the writers’ perception of translation as a “liminal” experience of “being between languages and cultures”, contrasted with  Koteliansky’s more literal approach; their collaboration based on negotiation of the meaning and sound of almost every word produced the results which managed to overcome the dichotomy of domestication and foreignization of the translated text, placing their achievement in the avant-garde of the modernist translation project. Davison’s study of Woolf’s and Mansfield’s collaboration with Koteliansky is  shaped by the thought of Mikhail Bakhtin and Heinz Wismann, both of whom perceive translation as an activity performed between languages and cultures. The book based on extensive archival research is amply illustrated with various translations of the same fragment of the Russian text, which allows the readers to see and judge the effects of the translators’ work themselves.

Słowa kluczowe: Koteliański, Woolf, Mansfield, współpraca translatorska, graniczność, Bachtin, Wismann

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