Peritext of the Russian translation of William Hogarth’s Analysis of Beauty: a case study
Translation of philosophical texts is a special challenge because of specific philosophical idiom and conceptual complexity of the narrative. It is not surprising that such translations are often accompanied by commentaries where the translator steps out of the shadows to justify the translational decisions. This kind of supplementary text called the “translational peritext” is under study in this paper aiming to reveal the cognitive effort the translation process involves, and to explore the author-translator-reader relationship. The purpose of the article is to analyze paratextual elements in the translation of an essay on philosophical aesthetics in search of answers to three main questions: What does the translator choose to comment on, and why? What is specific about the role and function of translational peritext in philosophical artistic discourse? How do the commented translational decisions affect, if at all, the reader’s understanding of the author’s stance? The problem of revealing the translator’s agency, his/her motivations and decision-making is investigated on the basis of the essay Analysis of Beauty by the celebrated 18th century English artist William Hogarth — an influential philosophical treatise whose ideas have never lost their relevance. The paper starts with the brief account of the concept of paratext, its types and functions; it will then proceed to specificities of philosophical translation. In the main part of the article, the background information on the material under study precedes the analysis of the identified commented translational issues.
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