AUC Philologica (Acta Universitatis Carolinae Philologica) is an academic journal published by Charles University. It publishes scholarly articles in a large number of disciplines (English, German, Greek and Latin, Oriental, Romance and Slavonic studies, as well as in phonetics and translation studies), both on linguistic and on literary and cultural topics. Apart from articles it publishes reviews of new academic books or special issues of academic journals.

The journal is indexed in CEEOL, DOAJ, EBSCO, and ERIH PLUS.

AUC PHILOLOGICA, Vol 2015 No 3 (2015), 27–37

Jiří Levý’s contributions to drama translation revisited

Brigitte Schultze

announced: 10. 03. 2016


Jiří Levý’s contributions to drama translation, especially chapter V of his canonical study “The Art of Translation” (1963, the 1969 German and the 1974 Russian versions, respectively) have been remarkably often referred to. They are affirmed, in some points questioned and, first of all, developed further in hosts of translation studies since then. While the similarly canonical article (containing just a few remarks on drama translation) “Translation as a decision process” (1967) “aims at constructing a generative model of translation” (Levý, p. 1182), i.e. clearly envisages a theoretical approach to translation, the explanations dealing with drama translation are, of course, corpus-bound, i.e. they are applicable to so-called textbound theatre texts of certain historical periods and theatre landscapes only. When revisiting Levý’s contributions to drama translation, some positions, e.g. the idea of an “objective meaning” and an “objective centre” of a work of art (1969, p. 48f.; 2012, p. 57f.) have to be dismissed, and other positions have to at least be questioned now. The paper discusses such “starting points” in Levý’s works as the unfortunate catchword “speakability” , the tension between stylization and spontaneous oral expression in dialogue, the importance of forms of address (concerning the direction of an utterance, “Sprechrichtung” , and the relation of role figures, “Beziehungsdefinition”), rhythm, etc. The discussion will, first of all, rely on several decades of comparative analysis of drama translations, but also refer to a number of scholarly works on the theme.

keywords: Levý’s early contributions to drama translation in “The Art” and – indirectly – in “Translation as a decision process”; continuously relevant and problematical positions in drama translation; aspects of historical change: ongoing theoretical insight and change in the make-up of texts for the theatre; starting points and conceptual horizons in Levý’s thought on drama translation

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ISSN: 0567-8269
E-ISSN: 2464-6830