Translated into British: European children's literature, (In)difference and écart in the age of Brexit

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JournalBookbird
DateAccepted/In press - 20 Nov 2017
DatePublished (current) - 2018
Issue number1
Volume56
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper tackles the theorisation of translated children’s literature in the particular context of post-Brexit Britain. There is a tendency, I argue, to think about translation as a healthy and necessary exposure to ‘difference’; however, in the case of translated children’s literature in Britain – a notoriously paltry market – narratives of difference are excessively at work: unlike the mostly ‘indifferent’ market of children’s translation elsewhere in Europe, in Britain such literature is always already set apart by its difference from a perceived norm. Furthermore, translated children’s books in Britain come to existence unsystematically and unpredictably. I propose that we should adopt flexible theoretical attitude when dealing with such literature, taking into account the political commitment of all actors involves – from publishers to translators – and use for that purpose the concept of écart developed by sinologist François Jullien, which allows us to think about how such literature plays with the in-betweenness of languages and cultures.

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