Translation as cultural contraband: translating and writing Russian literature in Argentina
Fauzetdinova, Adel Ramilevna
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My dissertation examines the role Russian literature translations played in the shaping of Argentine literature during the first three decades of the twentieth century. By examining the processes of selection, translation, retranslation, and adaptation of Russian works, it analyzes the ways in which translation participated in the redefinition of Argentina’s cultural and literary relations with Europe. Through comparative analysis of the originals and their translations, it traces how translation made Russian literature somber and tragic, and transformed its realism into a detailed copying of reality. It argues that such realism, which was imitated by the Leftist avant-garde group Boedo, that aimed to democratize literature, exposed the incongruence of any representation of reality, which helped the Florida group—the followers of the European avant-garde—to call for a different kind of realism, one that would expose the fiction of literature and reality. By examining the work of Macedonio Fernández, César Tiempo and Roberto Arlt, I trace how Florida’s parody of Boedo’s copying of Russian literary translations were crucial in the development of parody in Argentine literature, helped reinstate the parody and humor that had been overlooked by the translation, and paved the way for the Boom writers.