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Orhan Pamuk’s novels and their “afterlife” in English and German translations

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Title: Orhan Pamuk’s novels and their “afterlife” in English and German translations
Author(s): Turkkan, Sevinc
Director of Research: Hassan, Wail S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Hassan, Wail S.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Booth, Marilyn; Saul, Mahir; Yildiz, Yasemin
Department / Program: Comparative & World Literature
Discipline: Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Orhan Pamuk translation Kara Kitap Turkish English German
Abstract: In this dissertation, I focus on the Turkish Nobel Prize laureate Orhan Pamuk’s novels and on their English and German translations by Güneli Gün, Maureen Freely, and Ingrid Iren. I argue that literary translation is a creative act, the study and critique of which needs to be anchored within a specific historical, geographical, and temporal horizon. I studied the reception of Pamuk’s novels in translation and discovered that book reviewers write about translations as if they were transparent copies of the original works. Literary translation in a largely monolingual public sphere is thus overlooked. I provide a theoretical model for the study and critique of translations as autonomous texts beyond the evaluative notion of “fidelity” to originals. I devise a theoretical framework based on my close textual analyses of the translations. I situate translations within their respective context, read them in relation to particular historical circumstances that gave rise to them, and in relation to secondary material written by translators, ranging from creative writing, other translations, prefaces, introductions, afterwords, glossaries, and interviews. This approach elucidates each translator’s project, position, and intention. The introduction provides literature review and lays out the theoretical framework. Chapter 1 consists of two parts. In part 1, I examine the reception of Orhan Pamuk in Turkey and abroad as revealed in reviews, articles, interviews, and book length manuscripts. In part 2, I read Pamuk’s Kara Kitap (The Black Book), paying close attention to particular images, intertextual and metatextual aspects, and shifts in narrative voice. I choose elements of the novel that are self-referential and language-, context-, and culture-specific. Translation of these elements reveals the translators’ literary and stylistic idiosyncrasies and how each translator recontextualized the text in unique ways. In chapter 2, I focus on the translator Güneli Gün and identify her unique style as a writer. I argue that Gün’s primary purpose as a translator was to bridge Turkish and American literatures and cultures and to introduce Pamuk to the Anglo-American readership in the era before he reached international fame. In chapter 3, I focus on Maureen Freely, who is widely known as Pamuk’s definitive English translator since the Nobel Prize. I analyze her translations, novels, and journalistic writings in order to determine her idiosyncratic style and position as the author of the new translation. I argue that Freely translated the novel in ways that bolster Pamuk’s later image as “the writer of the city of Istanbul.” In chapter 4, I focus on Ingrid Iren, Pamuk’s German translator and read her translation, Das schwarze Buch, in relation to the long history and legacy of translation into German, a context completely different from the previous ones. I argue that Iren performed a significant bridging role between the two languages and cultures through her active recreation of the Turkish narrative into German. The German text is heavily shaped by the translator. In the conclusion, I point to possible avenues for further research. This study fills in an important gap in the scholarship on Orhan Pamuk by illuminating the role of his translators in the formation of his image as a world author.
Issue Date: 2012-06-27
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/32050
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Sevinc Turkkan
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-06-27
Date Deposited: 2012-05
 

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