INTERPRETING THE UNTRANSLATABLE: REPRESENTATIONS OF VLADIMIR NABOKOV'S SELF-TRANSLATIONS IN WORLD LITERATURE
Skidmore, Grace, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Connolly, Julian, AS-Slavic Languages & Lit, University of Virginia
The model for most mass-market literary translation is that this takes place through an outside translator’s interpretation from a source text to recreate its words in a target language, while a smaller, but no less important, fraction of texts has been self-translated by their original authors. Self-translation is far from an irrelevant anomaly to translation studies—Vladimir Nabokov’s career as an author and translator has demonstrated that the product of a self-translation increases the author’s agency, marking their translation as the most authoritative while lending comparative scholars insight into those passages that create dilemmas of interpretation for third-party translators. In this thesis, I argue that self-translation constitutes an important component of understanding cultural circulation and literary markets—first, through paratextual features of Nabokov’s novels, taking shape in techniques of self-marketing, and second, through the textual features that illuminate the transnational reception of his work. I examine Nabokov’s self-translated novels via the texts themselves and in adaptation to argue that in the transfer of literary knowledge from the source to the target language, new facets of the text and author emerge more vividly in a self-translation than in an outside translation.
MA (Master of Arts)
literary translation, Vladimir Nabokov, self-translation, Lolita, world literature