Writing under constraint in war time: literary translation in France during the German Occupation (1940-44)
Keywords:translation, wartime, France, German Occupation, Second World War, ideology, resistance
One often thinks of translation as a bridge between literatures and cultures. However, what if the activity of translators is carried out in a politically confined background oriented by ideological intention? How, for whom and which purpose does one translate then? The period of German Occupation in France (1940-44) highlights these questions in the most exemplary fashion. Following the defeat of France and the 1940 armistice, one of Nazi Germany’s main goals was to re-educate the country by the means of a very thoroughly thought cultural policy, mainly through literature, arts, and a comprehensive program of translations from German into French. But translation was also used at the same time for its own purposes by the opponents to the regime. During those four years of fear and repression throughout the country, to which extent can one look upon literary translation as a sui generis mean of resistance, relying on specific strategies?
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