The Reader’s/Translator’s Apophany in the Face of the Linguistic Medium as Illustrated in the Polish Translation of Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

Łukasz Barciński


The article deals with the complex issue of the interrelation of the elements of the linguistic texture with the elements of sense produced thanks to the decoding of the graphic layer. The departure point for the argument will be the concept of conceptual blending, deriving from cognitive linguistics. This concept describes the blending of two semiotic spaces, here the iconic space and the symbolic space, to create a new emergent space, which escapes unequivocal interpretation, especially if a given text intensifies the role of its graphic form. The analysis of such an emergent space will be understood as a typographic analysis of glyphs, their interdependencies, patterns and, ultimately, their relations with the meaning decoded in a given language. The interpretative act will proceed according to poststructuralist premises, based mainly on the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, who applies the term dissemination to describe the radically ambivalent character of sense production, not limited to semanticism, but taking into consideration all aspects of the textual tissue (graphic, phonetic, syntactic etc.). To describe the specific interpretative state of a reader/translator, who, faced with the totality of an experimental literary work, cannot prioritise various possible ways of interpretation, the study applies the term apophany, borrowed from the thought of the German psychologist Klaus Conrad, namely, a stage of development of schizophrenia, which entails a specific experience of abnormal meaningfulness. Examples of a translator’s apophany can be found in the analysis of the Polish translation of Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (clusters of letters, punctuation) and Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (the undecidables of the syntagmatic aspect of sentences).

Słowa kluczowe: apofenia, amalgamat pojęciowy, tekstualne medium, przekład literacki , apophany, conceptual blending, textual medium, literary translation

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