Friday, July 24, 2009

Milan Kundera

I just started reading Translating Milan Kundera by Michelle Woods and would like to share a passage: "Also in the mid 1980s, Kundera revised all the French translations of the novels written in Czech and declared these, rather than the Czech versions, to be the definitive and authentic versions of the novels. The translations in other words became the originals. Later, to produce new Czech versions, he would use three ‘originals’: the Czech manuscript, the first published Czech versions (in Toronto, Canada) and the French definitive translations." (Woods 2006:ix)

So if the translations became the new originals, can one then speak of the new Czech versions as translations? Is Kundera becoming a self-translator when re-writing the Czech original?

For further reading:
Woods, Michelle (2006): Translating Milan Kundera. Topics in Translation: 30.

Note: After writing this post, I read a good summary of this book at another blog.

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