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Monday, 28 November 2011 10:11

"The Art of Translation" by Jiří Levý

Jiří Levý’s seminal work, The Art of Translation, considered a timeless classic in Translation Studies, is now available in English.


Having drawn on adjacent disciplines, the methodology of Czech functional sociosemiotic structuralism and the state-of-the art in the West, Levý synthesized his findings and experience in the field presenting them in a reader-friendly book, which combines the approaches of a theoretician, systemic analyst, historian, critic, teacher, practitioner and populariser. Although focused on literary translation from theoretical, descriptive and historical perspectives, it presents a conceptualization of a general theory, addressing a number of issues discussed today. The ‘practical’ mission of the book as a theory extending to practice is based on the same historical-dialectic affinity of methods, norms, functions and values, accounting for the translator’s agency and other contextual agents involved in the communication process. The book will be useful to translators, researchers, students and teachers in Translation and Literary Studies.


“His exuberant pioneering spirit is all the more remarkable, as is the fact that his innovative ideas have in essence neither been refuted nor become outdated over the last forty years, many have on the contrary been confirmed.”

Mary Snell-Hornby, University of Vienna (2006: 23), The Turns of Translation Studies

“In the West-European countries it is above all since the publication of (the German translation of) Levý’s Literarische Übersetzung (1969, orig. 1963) that the study of translated literature has really changed (although slowly and not everywhere …).”

José Lambert, KU Leuven (in Delabastita et al. 2006: 82), Functional Approaches to Culture and Translation

“To translation-as-communication he adds the translator as a decision-making agent. He points to the relevance of historically contingent concepts of translation for the practice of translating in a given period. He emphasizes the importance of prevailing attitudes towards translation as the backdrop to practical norms of translating.”

Theo Hermans, University College of London (1999: 24), Translation in Systems

“Jiří Levý´s Czech monograph was the most helpful Slavic book. Thoroughly grounded in Western European as well as Slavic translation theory and practice, it is far more erudite and sophisticated than any of the Soviet sources.”

Maurice Friedberg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1997: 73), Literary Translation in Russia



Table of contents

Introduction to the second edition (1983)

Editor’s introduction to the English edition

Translator’s introduction to the English edition

Part I

Chapter 1. Translation theory: The state of the art

Chapter 2. Translation as a process

Chapter 3. Translation aesthetics

Chapter 4. On the poetics of translation

Chapter 5. Drama translation

Chapter 6. Translation in literary studies

Part II

Chapter 1. Original verse and translated verse

Chapter 2. Translating from non-cognate versification systems

Chapter 3. Translating from cognate versification systems

Chapter 4. Notes on the comparative morphology of verse

Chapter 5. Integrating style and thought



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