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Embassy networks: Translating post-war Bosnian poetry into English

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Abstract

This article is based on a web survey of on-line and print translations into English of poetry by writers from Bosnia since the 1992–1995 war. Combining insights from Actor Network Theory, Activity Theory and Goffman’s Social Game Theory, it examines the relationships between human and textual agents in the production of poetry translations. It maps these relationships onto agents’ geographic ‘positionality’. Among the findings are:(1) Poetry translation is produced by networks of agents working across a ‘distributed’ space. This implies that it is simplistic to conceptualise literary translation in terms of one agent’s loyalty to one cultural space.<br />(2) Translators often carry less power in a production network than an anthology/journal editor or a living source poet.<br />(3) Networks involving players from source-language regions working in a target-language country are particularly effective in publication terms.

References

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