1st Edition

Translation and Repetition Rewriting (Un)original Literature

    174 Pages
    by Routledge

    174 Pages
    by Routledge

    Translation and Repetition: Rewriting (Un)original Literature offers a new and original perspective in translation studies by considering creative repetition from the perspective of the translator. This is done by analyzing so-called "unoriginal literature" and thus expanding the definition of translation.

    In Western thought, repetition has long been regarded as something negative, as a kind of cliché, stereotype or automatism that is the opposite of creation. On the other hand, in the eyes of many contemporary philosophers from Wittgenstein and Derrida to Deleuze and Guattari, repetition is more about difference. It involves rewriting stories initially told in other contexts so that they acquire a different perspective. In this sense, repeating is often a political act. Repetition is a creative impulse for the making of what is new. Repetition as iteration is understood in this book as an action that recognizes the creative and critical potential of copying.

    The author analyzes how our time understands originality and authorship differently from past eras, and how the new philosophical ways of approaching repetition imply a new way of understanding the concept of originality and authorship. Deconstruction of these notions also implies subverting the traditional ways of approaching translation. This is vital reading for all courses on literary translation, comparative literature, and literature in translation within translation studies and literature.


    Preface by Christopher Mellinger


    1. On repetition

    1.1  On repetitions and beginnings

    1.2. On (creative) repetition

    2. Repetitive (un)original literature

    2.1  Writing through

    2.2  Three original copyists

    2.3  (Un)creative writers

    3. (Un)original translators

    3.1. Translation as transcreation: Haroldo and Augusto de Campos

    3.1.1. Transcreation

    3.1.2. Haroldo de Campos and Octavio Paz

    3.2. From transcreation to total translation: Jerome Rothenberg

    3.3. Pierre Menard and his precursors

    4. Translating repetition: (un)creative translations

    4.1 Creative translation in the 21st century

    4.2. Toward a ludic and creative translation

    5. Echoes, echoes




    Mª Carmen África Vidal Claramonte is Full Professor of Translation at the University of Salamanca, Spain. She is the author of many books, including Translation and Contemporary Art (Routledge, 2022) and Translating Borrowed Tongues (Routledge, 2023), and several co-edited volumes (among them the Routledge Handbook of Spanish Translation Studies, 2019, with Roberto Valdeón).

    Combining top scholarship with impressive erudition, África Vidal Claramonte makes a compelling case for translation as original repetition. Through rigorous application of philosophical insights to actual literary and artistic practices, she invites us to re-think a range of key concepts in translation theory and criticism. In this refreshing view which subverts the conventional notions of authorship and originality, translation is an adventure: a unique, creative, and ludic experience. 

    Piotr Blumczynski, Queen’s University Belfast, UK 

    This insightful little book ratifies two basic truths: the first is that every act of originality is a repetition; and the second, that in their derivativeness translators are innovatively original. -

    Ilan Stavans, Amherst College, USA

    Where and when does a text begin?’ Such is the probing or rather the existential question that shapes África Vidal’s fine musings on authorship, originality, translation, repetition, reading and interpretation in this book. An innovative and timely contribution that expands the horizons of translation studies and literary theory.

    María Laura Spoturno, La Plata National University, Argentina