Baltic accent

2021 Vol. 12 №1

Back to the list Download the article

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.


Alekseev, M. P., 1987. William Hogarth and his “Analysis of Beauty”. In: W. Ho­garth. Analiz Krasoty [The Analysis of Beauty]. Leningrad. pp. 7—115 (in Russ.).

Baker, M., 2007. Reframing Conflict in Translation. Social Semiotics, 17 (2), pp. 151—169.

Barkuzar, D. and Haneen, A., 2018. The translator as an activist: reframing con­flict in the Arabic translation of Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza. The Translator, 24 (2), pp. 147—165.

Britto, P. H., 2007. As condições de trabalho do tradutor. Cadernos de Tradução, 1 (19), pp. 193—204.

Dondukova, G. P., 2012. Principles for defining the boundaries of a translation com­mentary. Vestnik Buryatskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Ser.: Romano-ger¬manskaya filologiya [Bulletin of the Buryat State University. Vol.: Romano-Germanic philology], 11, pp. 65—69 (in Russ.).

Dumas, F., 2018. Le paratexte en devenir dans la traduction. Genèse et fonctions du paratexte traductif. Atelier de traduction, Section Dossier thématique, 30, pp. 103—118.

Flores, V. d. N. and Hoff, S. L., 2018. Le dire des traducteurs: une analyse de par­atextes de traduction. Atelier de traduction, Section Dossier thématique, 30, pp. 33—47.

Genette, G. and Maclean, M., 1991. Introduction to the Paratext. New Literary His­tory, 22 (2), pp. 261—272.

Genette, G., 1987. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. Translated from French by J. E. Lewin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gondek, H.-D., 2011. On the Translation of Philosophical Texts and Philosophi­cal Translation Theories. Filosofsko-literaturnyj zhurnal “Logos” [Philosophical Literary Journal “Logos”], 5—6 (84), pp. 193—211 (in Russ.).

Hogarth, W., 1936. Analiz Krasoty [The Analysis of Beauty]. Translated by A. A. Sy­dorov. Moscow (in Russ.).

Hogarth, W., 1958. Analiz Krasoty [The Analysis of Beauty]. Translated by P. V. Mel­kova. Leningrad (in Russ.).

Hogarth, W., 1987. Analiz Krasoty [The Analysis of Beauty]. Translated by P. V. Mel­kova. Leningrad (in Russ.).

Hogarth, W., 2010. “To see with our own eyes”: Hogarth between native empiricism and a theory of "beauty in form". William Hogarth: The analysis of beauty (London: Printed by John Reeves for the Author, 1753) [pdf] FONTES 52. Available at: http://archiv.ub. [Accessed 13 March 2018].

Kovacs, S., 2007. Discourse analysis and book history: literary indexing as social dialogue. Variants, 6, pp. 243—262.

Munday, J., 2016. Introducing translation studies: Theories and applications. Vol. 4. London: Routledge.

Nord, C., 2012. Paratranslation — a new paradigm or a re-invented wheel? Per­spectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice, 20(4), pp. 399—409.

Rebrii, O. V., 2018. Translation as a means of constructing cultures: philosophical foregrounding. Cognition, Communication, Discourse, Series “Philology”, pp. 64—71.

Rée, J., 2001. The Translation of Philosophy. New Literary History, 32 (2), pp. 223—257.

Rodica, D., 2009. Translators’ prefaces as documentary sources for translation studies. Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice, 17 (3), pp. 193—206.

Schögler, R., 2018. Translation in the Social Sciences and Humanities: Circulating and Canonizing Knowledge. Alif Journal of Comparative Poetics, 38, pp. 62—90.

Tahir Gürçağlar, Ş., 2002. What Texts Don’t Tell: The Use of Paratexts in Transla­tion Research. In: T. Hermans, ed. Crosscultural Transgressions. Research Models in Trans­lation Studies II: Historical and Ideological Issues. pp. 44—60.

Tahir Gürçağlar, Ş., 2013. Agency in allographic prefaces to translated books: An initial exploration of the Turkish context. In: H. Jansen and A. Wegener, eds. Authori­al and editorial voices in translation 2 — editorial and publishing practices. pp. 89—108.

Toledano Buendía, C., 2013. Listening to the voice of the translator: A description of translator’s notes as paratextual elements. Translation & Interpreting, 5 (2), pp. 149—162.

Vârlan, C.-I., 2014. Difficulties and constraints in translating philosophical texts. Mechanisms of reception and the (in)stability of meaning. Diversité et Identité Cul­turelle en Europe, 11 (2), pp. 69—82.