Advocacy and Collaboration: Stanley Burnshaw’s The Poem Itself

Boll, Tom (2024) Advocacy and Collaboration: Stanley Burnshaw’s The Poem Itself. In: Translation as Advocacy: Perspectives on Practice, Performance and Publishing. Language Acts and Worldmaking . John Murray Press, London, pp. 89-122. ISBN 9781399816144

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This essay draws on approaches from genetic criticism and the sociology of collaboration to investigate how Stanley Burnshaw advocated for a method of ‘truly literal’ translation and commentary in his anthology The Poem Itself (1960). Burnshaw’s archive provides insight into the relations between concept, practice and the dynamics of social interaction in collaborative translation. The concept of literal translation offered a commonly accepted term that was subject nevertheless to variable interpretation by both Burnshaw and his contributors over the course of the project. His initial proposal and specimen contribution on Stéphane Mallarmé’s ‘Don du poème’ prioritised syntax ahead of other verbal features. His subsequent editing of German contributions focused instead on semantic implication at the expense of syntax. At each of these stages, conflicts of interpretation led to a published text that aggregated competing views rather than resolving them. Burnshaw’s later translations of Mallarmé with Henri Peyre reached a stable agreement about the practical application of the concept of literal translation. This agreement led to a more coherent text but persisted with a tendency to record verbal features rather than to account for their function within a reading experience.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > British Centre for Literary Translation Research Group
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 31 May 2024 15:30
Last Modified: 31 May 2024 15:31


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