Reading and speaking for translation
De-institutionalizing the institutions of literary study
ByLucas Klein
Pages 5

In this chapter, the author focuses on the relationship between translation and national literatures. Susan Bassnett wrote that comparative literature “should look upon translation studies as the principal discipline from on, with comparative literature as a valued but subsidiary subject area”. Later generations of Marxist and Marxian comparatists have based their superstructural analyses on what Wellek called “the foreign trade” of literatures, but suspicion of translation has remained. Translation has long proven embarrassing for ideas of comparative literature, and perhaps even more so for ideas of national literature. The idea of “cultural translation” has a long history, but putting it to such concrete use will realize Bassnett’s vision of translation as a basis for comparison, as well as Emily Apter’s imagination of translation studies as “a field in which philology is linked to globalization”. Comparative approaches to national literary histories can help correct several biases.