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Keyserling's keywords: the challenges of translating Europe

Gusejnova, Dina ORCID: 0000-0003-1356-9530 (2018) Keyserling's keywords: the challenges of translating Europe. Comparativ, 25 (2). ISSN 0940-3566

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The article considers working with language in Hermann Keyserling's psychogeographic study The Spectrum of Europe and its Translations into French, Spanish and English. Theoretically considered to be a work of the post-imperial age, it can be demonstrated by means of a few examples of how hierarchically the multilingualism displayed in this work is. The result is an intellectual attitude that could be described as complementary to postcolonial theory as a kind of elitist subalternity. Keyserling stylizes himself into a German-speaking aristocrat standing above the nations, who helps the other European voices to sound and at the same time devalues ​​them. Thanks to its translators, Keyserling's work has reached a worldwide audience. In the second part, the essay turns to a biographical study of its translators, in whose work not only German culture but also Jewish identity is important. As a possible motive for their interest in the text Keyserling's ambivalent statements about Judaism can be cited. In translation, Keyserling's treatment of the German language is different, because German is thus downgraded from the masterly language of the text to one of many ethnographically relevant vernacular languages. The translators become more than usual co-authors of Keyserling's psychogeography and at the same time undermine the author's position, described above as the elitist subaltern.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Comparativ
Divisions: International History
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 10:36
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 16:13

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