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Translating vs. Rewriting during the Romanian Communist Period – Prefaces to Translations of Vanity Fair and Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Publication: Philologica Jassyensia, IX (2), p. 261-270
Publisher:Institutul de Filologie Română „A. Philippide”
Abstract:The communist period represented a turning point in the evolution of translation within the Romanian socio-cultural space. The book cult the communist Party had instilled in Romania throughout the second half of the 20th century, together with the education reform were intimately liaised with the need for enhancing the access of the Romanian public to world’s literary masterpieces. Hence the emergence of a new generation of highly competent translators, who provided an impressive number of high quality translations. The setting up of specialized publishing houses and magazines dealing with translations testifies to an institutionalization of translation in Romania during the communist period. However, there also was a flipside of the Romanian communist translation boom, given that books, one of the main informational resources at the time, could have also contained elements that were ideologically unacceptable to the communist Party. Therefore, censorship became a most powerful political tool for a social and literary phenomenon which could have threatened the ideological communist system. Ideologically offensive books had to comply with the communist doctrine, otherwise they were banned altogether. This paper focuses on presenting the extent to which the Romanian communist translation campaign represented an ambitious plan aimed at responding to the need for a literary, social and cultural synchronization, as well as a highly fertile ground for ideological manipulative intrusions or rewritings, as André Lefevere put it. Prefaces to Romanian translations of novels such as William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair and Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles that came out during the communist years will be referred to in order to illustrate our thesis.
Key words:Romanian communism, translation campaign, censorship, manipulation, the Manipulation School, Victorian literature, rewriting, preface
Language: English

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