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

Abstract : This paper focuses on the unspoken dimension conveyed through a syntactic tendency typical of Rushdie's baroque prose style, and its translation into French. This peculiar syntax, which I have named ‘the syntax of restraint’, is striking in some passages narrating crucial scenes of Midnight’s Children (1981), Rushdie’s second novel. Thanks to its combination of stylistic devices - such as extremely short sentences, passive constructions, non-finite verbs, unconventional ellipses of grammatical words and a non-canonical use of determiners - it cloaks the text with mystery and loads it with tension and suspense. Unfortunately, it cannot be preserved in the French translation. Owing to a number of syntactic constraints specific to the French language, 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. The translator has however managed to recreate part of the implicit dimension of these passages thanks to customized translation strategies that harness the potentialities of the French syntax system. Yet this process could have been further developed.
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 4 février 2018 - 15:48:11

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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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