Polish-Jewish fiction before the Second World War: a testing ground for polysystem theory

Jozwikowska, Wanda (2016) Polish-Jewish fiction before the Second World War: a testing ground for polysystem theory. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In this thesis, I intend to show that it is possible to offer a partial explanation for the fact that pre-war Polish-Jewish fiction has been recognised only to a very limited extent in Britain. In doing this, I embrace the limitations and unaddressed areas of polysystem theory, an approach that leads to several contributions to this theory so that it is more suited to look at marginal translations. In this study, the source context and the largely hypothetical target context (given the predominant lack of English translations) of pre-war Polish-Jewish fiction are conceptualised as systems informed by a variety of factors.
I begin by introducing polysystem theory in Chapter 1, where I also explain the rationale for its use in this study. I also briefly define pre-war Polish-Jewish fiction and elaborate on the nature of its visibility in Britain. I then go on to consider, in Chapter 2, the origins and the characteristics of the literature in question in search of factors that inform the current status of this literature in Britain. In Chapter 3, I focus on specific aspects of British culture and history to identify factors embedded in the target context that inform the current limited recognition of pre-war Polish-Jewish fiction in Britain. In Chapters 4 and 5, I turn to the texts of the few English translations of Polish-Jewish works of fiction; and consider the dynamics of their publishing processes respectively. Finally, the conclusions I draw in final Chapter 6 are that polysystem theory can be applied to account for the limited attention paid to pre-war Polish-Jewish fiction as a whole in Britain; and, possibly, to account for other largely unacknowledged literary works in other contexts. Moreover, drawing on the results of this study, I suggest ways in which the current status of the literature I am concerned with can be changed in future.
My main contribution is that of the new concept of a systemic gap, which in this study represents largely untranslated writing in British literature, and which has enabled me to address the question of the limited reception of Polish-Jewish fiction in Britain. In the light of these findings, I argue that it is useful to look at untranslated texts and largely unrecognised translations because such research can offer new insights into the practice and the theory of translation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2017 14:46
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 14:46
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/62308

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