Complaint concerning the lack of history in translation histories
Universidad de León
It is possible that prose translations of verse actively assisted in the progressive prosification of European Iyrical expression in the nineteenth century. This "prose-effect hypothesis" implies that prose translations did not merely reflect developments in the prose poem, vers libre and poetic prose, but were causally related to these developments. As such, the hypothesis is properly historical in that it identifies a change process, it constructs an explanatory narrative, it is potentially falsifiable on the basis of empirical evidence and it addresses a contemporary problematic (it is pertinent to the position of any translator faced with a choice between verse and prose as target forms). My problem here is not with defending the hypothesis as such, but with explaining its apparent incompatibility with several widely held beliefs according to which nineteenth-century translating was predominantly "Iiteralist", "mimetic" or oriented towards "formal equivalence"
- Livius- nº 01 (1992)