Gender and style in the translation and reception of Ingeborg Bachmann’s ‘Todesarten’ texts

Fisher , Lina (2014) Gender and style in the translation and reception of Ingeborg Bachmann’s ‘Todesarten’ texts. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis compares style in the ‘Todesarten’ [literally: manners of death] texts by
Austrian author Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-1973) with their English translations: the
novel Malina (Malina; Philip Boehm), the novel draft Das Buch Franza (The Book
of Franza; Peter Filkins) and the story collection Simultan (Three Paths to the Lake;
Mary Fran Gilbert).
The fact that Bachmann was a woman significantly influenced the
descriptions by German-language critics in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s of the author
herself, as well as their evaluations of her work. Bachmann’s extended metaphors,
ambiguity, iconicity, transitivity structures and intertextuality suggest that her prose
texts, and especially Malina, should be regarded as proto-feminist masterpieces
whose contemplation of the post-war human condition and society’s treatment of
women were far ahead of their contemporaries.
Boehm’s and Filkins’ translation choices show parallels with criticism
expressed in German-language reviews. The reduction of the networks of stylistic
features in the translations results in a weakening of the links between content, style
and politics which are crucial to Bachmann’s texts. These changes mean that the
English-language reader experiences Bachmann’s texts in a fundamentally different
way. The male translators largely silence what I term women’s language in Malina
and Franza, and consequently conceal much of Bachmann’s proto-feminist message.
It is clear that these changes are not necessitated by the constraints of translating
Bachmann’s complex texts into English because Gilbert, the female translator of
Simultan, manages to recreate the texts’ style.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 04 May 2016 09:07
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2017 01:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/58554
DOI:

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