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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Across boundaries : translating gender in the prose of Iwasiów, Tokarczuk and Filipiak Paleczek, Urszula


This thesis consists of three chapters: 1) a theoretical introduction to the translated texts appearing in chapter two, employing feminist theory for literary analysis, 2) three short stories translated from Polish into English— Inga Iwasiow's "Smierc i zycie," Olga Tokarczuk's "Zyczenie Sabiny," and Izabela Filipiak's "Nic sie nie stalo," and 3) a discussion of the problems encountered in the translation process and the solutions reached, as well as an overview of the translation theories chosen to guide the decisions. In the first chapter I provide a historical background of Polish women's literature, explaining that feminist writing has only been acceptable in Poland as long as it has been link to patriotic causes. I discuss the post-1989 revolution in Polish literature, which has seen a great proliferation of non-patriotic feminist literature, not without a resistance from critics and readers alike. I analyze the short stories through the lens of the analytical category of gender, which allows me to make meaning of their feminist agenda. Chapter two contains my English translations of the short stories, namely "Death and life," "Sabina's wish," and "It's no big deal." Chapter three provides an overview of the translation theories that have guided me in my work, and an explanation of how they have been helpful. I present a theoretical background to the concept of gender, and discuss its pervasive grammaticalization in Polish, which is almost completely absent in English. Before introducing translation theory, I talk about the perils of literary mistranslation, the possibility of which makes theory useful. Apart from discussing traditional translation models, I also provide an overview of the theory of feminist translation, which I found to be particularly helpful asa framework for translating feminist stories. I conclude with a discussion of the problems I have encountered in my translation process and the solutions I have reached

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