ReviewEssays.com - Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays
Search

Legitimisation of Anti-Communist Ideology in Translations of George Orwell's Animal Farm

Essay by   •  February 8, 2014  •  Research Paper  •  2,146 Words (9 Pages)  •  933 Views

Essay Preview: Legitimisation of Anti-Communist Ideology in Translations of George Orwell's Animal Farm

Report this essay
Page 1 of 9

To what extent did N. O. Scarpi's 1946 translation of George Orwell's Animal Farm (1945) legitimize the anti-Communist ideology of the Allied powers occupying West Germany?

Animal Farm confirmed more than any other work George Orwell's status as a writer more concerned with "political questions" than with poetics (Rossi & Rodden, 2007). Espousing his ideology "against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism" (Orwell, 1968), its publication coincided with a particularly turbulent period in history, just as the Iron Curtain began to fall across Europe. Although an allegorical satire of totalitarianism, alluding to the 1917 Russian Revolution and Stalin's subsequent rise to dictatorship, its message was soon construed as a direct critique of postwar Communism, the terms being synonymous at the time (Rodden, 2002). As such, it was rapidly translated for use as anti-Soviet propaganda by the Allied powers in West Germany (Ibid.). This grand institution of foreign governments, in vociferously preaching its democratic ideal, belongs to what Lefevere calls patronage, or "the powers [...] that can further or hinder the reading, writing, and rewriting of literature" (1992). This essay will therefore examine the first German edition of Animal Farm, determining to what extent N. O. Scarpi's translation was influenced by its Allied patrons, and whether his chosen rhetoric legitimized their anti-Communist notions.

Legitimization in translation, described by Gagnon as "helping a particular audience to understand and/or comply with an institution's request and objectives" (2010) shares certain attributes with the aims of propaganda, in that it promotes a particular (political) cause through the provision of carefully selected information. When looking at Scarpi's rewriting with the 'cultural turn' in mind, defined by Hatim and Munday as a "metaphor [...] to refer to the analysis of translation in its cultural, political and ideological context" (2004), the likelihood of legitimization taking place increases. For instance, postwar West Germany was in a state of cultural and intellectual disarray, experiencing on the literary front what critics have dubbed a 'Lesehunger' (Rodden, 2002). This would have only worked to the advantage of the politically omnipotent Allies, who had imposed strict regulations on the distribution of all media in an attempt to eradicate material which portrayed Communism in a positive light, and to encourage pro-democratic writing. It is thus no coincidence the American-funded magazine Der Monat published Animal Farm in its entirety under the name Hofstaat der Tiere (feudal state of animals); a title which "emphasize[d] the reactionary nature of Soviet socialism" (Ibid.), exemplifying Orwell's message, as though it were not clear enough beforehand. In addition to this, the omission of "A Fairy Story" from earlier editions of the translated work succeeds only in distancing it from its fable-like contents and enhancing its allegorical foundation, perhaps of importance considering the Allied attempts at political re-education in West Germany.

Despite the source text's evident criticism of Stalinism, ensuring that its message was actively conveyed to a wide foreign readership would have been a priority, which may have necessitated the usage of more emphatic language. Even a cursory comparison of the source and target texts reveals several instances in which a more explicit word, that is to say a word which gives a greater emphatic meaning, has been chosen over an otherwise perfectly acceptable alternative. This is to be expected when legitimizing language is used, for it is in its very nature 'stronger', i.e. more emotive, in order to garner a greater response from its audience. For example, the word "rebellion," which appears on multiple occasions throughout the source text, has been translated as "Revolution" in the target text, whereas a more accurate and literal translation would have been either "Aufstand" or quite simply "Rebellion." The intrinsic implication of the decision to replace a fairly neutral word with a term associated with bloodshed and fear could be said to be an exaggeration of Orwell's original, in order to emphasise the parallel drawn between the overthrowing of Mr. Jones in Animal Farm and Stalin's tyrannical consolidation of power.

Furthermore, throughout the novel, Squealer makes reference to Napoleon as "our leader," all instances of which appear in the target text as "unser Führer." As this term continues to have negative connotations today, it can only be assumed that its use in 1946 would have had much more serious consequences. An emblem of a totalitarian leadership, the word "Führerschaft" and "Führung" also feature where the source text states "leadership." Although not of comparable significance, the association remains identical. Using a title associated with Hitler could be said to further emphasize the evil nature of the pigs, and is an overstatement which simultaneously reduces the satire, yet increases the impact of the message.

Much of the language employed in the narrative has been marked not just for its departure from Orwell's usual prosaic style, but also for its simplicity (Fowler 1995). This is a prominent contrast to the direct speech in the novel, the majority of which emanates from the pigs and is heavily satirical politicised language (Ibid.). Scarpi has successfully captured this difference in register, and altered the emphasis of certain phrases to give a more extreme feel to the speech. In describing Napoleon's "cunning" in the fifth chapter, he uses the word "Kunstgriff," implying something all the more deceitful and underhand than in the source text, which contrarily conveys a sense of cleverness used to benefit the others: "that was Comrade Napoleon's cunning."

This exaggeration comes across more intensely towards the end of the sixth chapter, just after the windmill has been destroyed, and Napoleon is pouring derision on Snowball. In Scarpi's translation, this becomes even more pointed, epitomised in the sentence: "Do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!" The 1946 German version reads as follows: "Wisst ihr, wer für dieses Unheil verantwörtlich ist? Kennt ihr den Feind, der sich bei Nacht eingeschlichen und unsere Mauer zerstört hat? Schneeball!" The difference is palpable. The target text is much more focused on the evil act, the disaster which has befallen the farm, and duplicity of Snowball. In the source text, he "has

...

...

Download as:   txt (13.6 Kb)   pdf (161.3 Kb)   docx (14.8 Kb)  
Continue for 8 more pages »
Only available on ReviewEssays.com
Citation Generator

(2014, 02). Legitimisation of Anti-Communist Ideology in Translations of George Orwell's Animal Farm. ReviewEssays.com. Retrieved 02, 2014, from https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Legitimisation-of-Anti-Communist-Ideology-in-Translations/67332.html

"Legitimisation of Anti-Communist Ideology in Translations of George Orwell's Animal Farm" ReviewEssays.com. 02 2014. 2014. 02 2014 <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Legitimisation-of-Anti-Communist-Ideology-in-Translations/67332.html>.

"Legitimisation of Anti-Communist Ideology in Translations of George Orwell's Animal Farm." ReviewEssays.com. ReviewEssays.com, 02 2014. Web. 02 2014. <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Legitimisation-of-Anti-Communist-Ideology-in-Translations/67332.html>.

"Legitimisation of Anti-Communist Ideology in Translations of George Orwell's Animal Farm." ReviewEssays.com. 02, 2014. Accessed 02, 2014. https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Legitimisation-of-Anti-Communist-Ideology-in-Translations/67332.html.