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Polish-postcolonial similarities. Reception of translated postcolonial literature in Poland (1970–2010)

Goluch, Dorota 2018. Polish-postcolonial similarities. Reception of translated postcolonial literature in Poland (1970–2010). Przekładaniec 2018 S , pp. 37-63. 10.4467/16891864ePC.18.002.9824

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Abstract

Many studies of postcolonial translation feature analyses of translational and publishing decisions and their potential influences on the relationships between the colonisers and the colonised (e.g. Jacquemond 1992, Spivak 2009, Tymoczko 1999). This article proposes a different methodology, focusing instead on the presence of translated postcolonial literature in Poland through a systematic, discursive study of its reception. Based on the results of an unpublished doctoral study (Gołuch 2013) – which analysed nearly a thousand Polish reviews discussing African, Indian, Caribbean and Middle Eastern writing, published between 1970 and 2010 – the article demonstrates that Polish reviewers increasingly often affirm Polish-postcolonial similarities, even if Orientalist, othering discourses remain present in the reviews. This finding contributes to timely debates about Polish self-perceptions. Emphasising otherness or exoticism of postcolonial texts and contexts, the reviewers tend to write from the position of Europeans and identify with Orientalist biases. Yet, the emerging discourse, which compares postcolonial experiences of migration, independence struggle and post-independence complexes with Poland’s own past and present, offers an interesting counterbalance to a long-standing tradition of othering perceptions. Focusing on specific similarities, some reviewers seem to think of Poland and themselves in postcolonial terms. Furthermore, the article contributes to scholarship on Polish postcolonialism. Numerous incisive studies examined the Partitions of Poland (1795–1918), Nazi occupation (1939–1945) and Soviet domination (1945–1989) in terms of colonisation, at the same time employing postcolonial tools to revisit issues of Polish domination over Belarusians, Lithuanians and Ukrainians, as well as Polish attitudes to non-European colonised peoples (e.g. Bakuła 2006, Buchholtz 2009, Cavanagh 2003, Fiut 2003, Gosk 2010, Janion 2006, Kłobucka 2001, Kołodziejczyk 2010, Skórczewski 2013, Thompson 2000, Wojda 2015). Notably, the themes of Poland’s status as a colonised and colonising country within the immediate region, on the one hand, and Polish perceptions of non-European postcolonial peoples, on the other, tend to be explored separately (cf. Wajda 2015). This article, however, suggests that a Polish postcolonial self-image might be emerging in response to an encounter with translated postcolonial writing and generally argues for bringing the two thematic strands together, in order to explore further the interdependencies between Poland’s postcolonialism and Polish attitudes to non-European postcolonials.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PG Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literature
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
Uncontrolled Keywords: postcolonial translation, Polish postcolonialism, reception studies, discourse analysis, Orientalism, solidarity
ISSN: 1425-6851
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council, Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: 2017
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2021 15:00
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/143131

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