Where literature exists, translation exists. The very notion of literature would be inconceivable without translation. Goethe believed that without outside influences national literatures rapidly stagnate. Authors have always borrowed and been influenced by writers in other languages. The way literary traditions traverse national and cultural borders is a matter for celebration. For example, when Cervantes wrote Don Quixote, he created the form and shape of modern fiction. Cervantes’ novel was translated almost immediately into English, where it changed the course of English literature, influencing writers, directly or indirectly, all the way to William Faulkner. Faulkner, in translation, was hugely popular in Latin America during the post-Second World War period. García Márquez was a big fan. His novels were, in turn, translated into English, exerting a major influence on such English-language authors as Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo and Michael Chabon. The entire history of literature is informed by a process of transmission; a great work of literature, indeed any text, is able to enrich itself by generating new meanings as it enters new contexts. Translation could be seen in this perspective as the secret metaphor of all literary communication.
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