Transmesis in Viktor Pelevin’s Generation “P” and Andrew Bromfield’s English translation

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Abstract

Viktor Pelevin’s novel Generation “P”, published in 1999 and translated into English by Andrew Bromfield as Homo Zapiens (2002), tells the story of Babylen Tatarsky, a copywriter who adapts American advertisements to the Russian market and eventually heads an organization that simulates reality by controlling the entire television industry. In portraying the process of localization (i.e. cultural and linguistic adaptation of a product to a local market) and by “performing” translation in footnotes and parenthetical explanations, Generation “P” wrestles with cultural and linguistic untranslatability, problematizes the relationship between translation and original, and reiterates the profoundly intertextual and creative nature of any process of translation. After discussing the different types of transmesis (or the fictional portrayal of translation and translators) in the novel and outlining the challenges it poses for the English translator, the article explores the theoretical implications of transmesis to test its potential for reinvigorating translation theory and contributing to translation philosophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-216
Number of pages16
JournalTranslation Studies
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2018

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Keywords

  • Pelevin
  • Transmesis
  • adaptation
  • intertextuality
  • localization
  • transfiction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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