An unsayable remainder in Rushdie's writing: Untranslatable syntactic liberties in Midnight's Children

Abstract : Two opposite syntactic eccentricities characterize Salman Rushdie’s writing, which I have named ‘the syntax of continual flow’ and ‘the syntax of restraint’. My study focuses on the latter. This unusual type of syntax relies on a high concentration of devices such as extremely short sentences, passive constructions, non-finite verbs, unconventional ellipses of grammatical words and a non-canonical use of determiners. It conveys an unspoken dimension for it cloaks the text with mystery and loads it with tension, or even suspense, which, in some cases, engenders a sense of unease. This is striking in some passages narrating crucial scenes of Midnight’s Children (1981), Rushdie’s second novel, which therefore makes up my corpus. As this ‘syntax of restraint’ is hard to reproduce in French, the unsayable part of the source text is partially made explicit in the official translation by Jean Guiloineau, all the more as explicitation is a common feature of translated texts. Although the translator has managed to recreate a little of the implicit dimension of these passages thanks to some measure of syntactic compensation, my experiments have led me to observe that the potential of the French language could have been further exploited.
Type de document :
Communication dans un congrès
1st World Congress on Translation Studies / 1er Congrès Mondial de Traductologie , Apr 2017, Nanterre, France. 〈https://cmt.u-paris10.fr/cmt-2016/〉
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https://hal-univ-paris3.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01562657
Contributeur : Mariane Utudji <>
Soumis le : dimanche 16 juillet 2017 - 18:53:20
Dernière modification le : dimanche 17 septembre 2017 - 14:38:59

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  • HAL Id : hal-01562657, version 1

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Mariane Utudji. An unsayable remainder in Rushdie's writing: Untranslatable syntactic liberties in Midnight's Children. 1st World Congress on Translation Studies / 1er Congrès Mondial de Traductologie , Apr 2017, Nanterre, France. 〈https://cmt.u-paris10.fr/cmt-2016/〉. 〈hal-01562657〉

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