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Title: 'A Caravan of Alloglots': Interrogating Greekness in Translation
Authors: Rigas, Jason
Advisors: Emmerich, Karen R
Contributors: Comparative Literature Department
Subjects: Comparative literature
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: How has the literary culture of Greece, globally perceived as the descendant of Europe's most exalted ancient monoculture, responded to contemporary multiculturalism, specifically the diversity of present-day Athens? And how can this response be brought to a global audience via translation from Greek to English? This dissertation is simultaneously a literary anthology, an exercise in translation, and an attempt to answer these two questions in a scholarly fashion. I have chosen to translate and compile fourteen short works by ten different authors, all originally published in Greece between 2007 and 2018. These works are often verisimilar, occasionally multilingual, and mostly set in Athens during the first two decades of the twenty-first century, a period that has witnessed actual demographic changes but also a reluctant acceptance of those changes even within the Greek literary sphere. I present these works here chronologically by date of publication, in order to highlight the rapid evolution of a national cultural consciousness, which has, apparently, evolved in tandem with the progress of recent historical developments. The collapse of Albania's economy in the 1990s, the advent of the Eurozone, and wars in Central Asia and the Middle East are all dealt with here, mostly from the perspective of a Greek author/narrator walking us readers through a newly multicultural cityscape. But is the experience being depicted here really translatable? The presumption of Greece's cultural uniqueness dominates both the scholarly discourse surrounding the Greek literature of migration as well as the narratives themselves. The tension between the age-old notion of a special, peninsular Greece and the newer but perhaps more pessimistic notion of a globally integrated, European Greece presents a unique challenge for me as a translator having to navigate the nuances of the original Greek text with respect to these issues of cultural history, linguistic asymmetry, and the dominance of English. Thus, the translations themselves are preceded by an introduction in which translation theory, contemporary literary scholarship, and the thematic and stylistic content of the original texts are discussed within the framework of the relevant critical conversation.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Comparative Literature

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