Literary Translation and Cultural Memory

Olena Pavlenko


The article highlights literary translation through the study of cultural approaches as well as different philosophical argumentations. Being primarily associated with the work of Susan Bassnett, André Lefevere, Lawrence Venuti, SvitlanaTer-Minasova they focus on translation by exploring the latter both as a literary and cultural phenomenon. Another designation articulated by the cultural approach is that of translation as a form of re-writing, i.e. the way in which cultures build up “images” and “representations” of authors, texts and entire periods of history. In this context, translation comes to be recognized as the means of social and cultural interactions, symbiotic relations between “Self” and “Other” as well as the result of ideological manipulation. Especially convincing is the analysis of the Ukrainian translation during the totalitarian period in the former USSR based on censorship and state control of book production by investigating different layers of the historicity of translation. Uncovering the inadequacy of oppositional notions of “official culture” vs “counter-culture” translations came to viewed as effective means to cultivate historical thinking and provide the possibility to accumulate cultural memory. Furthermore, considering translation as an intercultural process helps not only extend the prospects of translation beyond linguistic analysis but also aims at contributing to the study of other culture representing translations as elements that makes it possible to reconsider the process of preservation of a nation’s cultural memory.


literary translation; cultural memory; target culture; cultural scenario; verbal rethinking; cultural barriers; lingo- cultural experience


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