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The Full Severity of CompassionThe Poetry of Yehuda Amichai$
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Chana Kronfeld

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804782951

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804782951.001.0001

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Celebrating Mediation

Celebrating Mediation

The Poet as Translator

(p.175) Four Celebrating Mediation
The Full Severity of Compassion

Chana Kronfeld

Stanford University Press

Amichai sees the work of translation as a model for the poet's own in-between-ness, as well as for the translator/poet's inescapable secondariness. That the poet, like the translator, plays an immanently mediational position is a source of comfort rather than anxiety. This view of the poet's role sheds new light on contemporary theories of translation as cultural negotiation and their focus on asymmetrical power relations between source and target language. Amichai's poems about translation are read as celebrating the imperfect “recycling of words,” describing translation as the epitome of all intertextuality, and ultimately of the creative process itself. Through Amichai's ecology of language, the chapter interrogates the ideological blind spots behind the numerous mistranslations that Amichai has been subjected to, not in order to advocate some correct rendition, but rather to suggest the ways in which they express what Gayatri Spivak has termed “the politics of translation.”

Keywords:   Yehuda Amichai, Translation, Translation Studies, Mediation, Politics of Translation, Intertextuality, Quatrain

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