Can a Parody Be Translated? The Russian Translations of W. Thackeray’s Parody “Yellowplush Papers” of the 1850–1860s
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Abstract: The article considers the translations of W. Thackeray’s parody Yellowplush Papers published in the journal Biblioteka dlya Chtenia (The Reader’s Library) in 1854 and 1860 as an example of intertextual interaction between the original and the translated texts. The parody was written in the genre of silver-fork novel, which was rather popular in the English literature of the 1820s and 1830s.The genre was of interest for both Russian writers and translators at different stages of literary development (secular novellas of the 1820s and 1830s, translations of certain Western fashionable novels of the 1850s and 1860s and the Russian fashionable novel of the 1870–1880s). Thus, the translations of Thackeray’s parody under analysis can be treated as a certain stage of development of the given genre in the Russian culture. The analysis of some fragments has revealed the attempts of the Russian translators, on the one hand, to render the artistic peculiarities of Thackeray’s parody to Russian readers, including its intertextuality, which was achieved in different ways (by using colloquialisms, translating the author’s references to foreign culture realities, rendering the author’s irony, and using techniques similar to the original ones). On the other hand, the translators’ desire to ‘incorporate’ the text into Russian literature is quite obvious for them. They try to make the text understandable for the Russian readers, which is evident due to numerous allusions to the texts of the Russian culture, reduction of specific fragments, inclusion of translator’s remarks, and interpretation of the parody finale. The translators targeted both the existing parody samples of Russian literature and the unique specificity of the original. Evidently, these translation techniques met the readers’ expectations and corresponded to the requirements of the Russian translation culture. Thus, the question asked in the title is impossible to be answered unambiguously. The elements of parody are closely connected with both the cultural traditions of the source language and with the references to fashionable novel which was accepted by the popular literature and was not developed in the Russian culture of the 19th century. So the works of this genre, to say nothing of its parodies, could not be rendered without losses into a target language.
Key words: Parody; translation; “Yellowplush Papers”; “Biblioteka dlya Chteniya” (The Reader’s Library).
Matveenko, I. A., Azhel, Yu. P. (2020). Can a Parody Be Translated? The Russian Translations of W. Thackeray’s Parody “Yellowplush Papers” of the 1850–1860s . In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №3. P. 150-163. DOI 10.26170/FK20-03-13.