Towards a rhetoric of translation for the postdramatic text

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For the literary translator, the question arises as to how she might approach the delicate task of migrating texts that resort largely to “a purely intensive usage of language,” while acknowledging that such texts share a mode of expression that transcends historical or critical periodization. If one is to focus on fidelity or equivalence, the aim should not be the production of a text that translates some underlying meaning or sense where signification and representation are fixed. Rather, the aim should be the meticulous rendering of its surface expression so that the text’s performative capacity can be realized anew in the target language and culture. The focus on what “might be” in language invites a parallel with Hans-Thies Lehmann’s postdramatic genre in theatre and a rhetoric of translation that reflects the aporia of the source expression, in stark contrast to the centrality of the logos to traditional Western rhetoric. While ultimately unattainable, an approach to text as a Deleuzean “map” would seem an appropriate means for the translator to remain true the “intentio” of postdramatic texts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • translation theory
  • translation rhetoric
  • language philosophy
  • postdramatic text
  • literary translation
  • postcolonial literature
  • modernism
  • linguistic theory


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