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Chapter 18 - Translation

from IV - Publishing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2021

Geraldine Higgins
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
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Summary

Heaney’s translation work not only registered his engagement with literary history, and an evolving awareness of his position in the poetic world, but it was an intrinsic aspect of his poetics more generally. Specifically, Heaney spoke of how Frost’s notion of the ‘sound of sense’ lay at the root of both his poetry and his mode of ‘impure translation’. As a result, translational fidelity, for Heaney, privileged the uncovering of echoes that might capture and recreate the sound of the original text. This chapter charts how this conception of translation found expression in his renderings, in particular, of Sophocles, Dante, Virgil, Sweeney Astray and Beowulf. Focusing on the diverse dramas of fidelity these translations embody, this chapter explores how these texts assert his native soundscape’s ability to convey classics of world literature while, at the same time, they also defamiliarize and profitably disrupt Heaney’s domestic linguistic and cultural world.

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Seamus Heaney in Context , pp. 198 - 208
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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