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Alejo Carpentier's El siglo de las luces: The Translation of Politics and the Politics of Translation

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Artículo de revistaArnall, Gavin. Alejo Carpentier's El siglo de las luces: The Translation of Politics and the Politics of Translation Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 2012 vol. 21 no. 1 p. 87-102. Palabras claves:
Literatura | Política, Administración pública
Alejo Carpentier / El siglo de las luces / Traducción de la política
Siglo XX


Alejo Carpentier's novel El siglo de las luces is a fictionalized account of how Enlightenment ideals traveled during the Age of Revolution, a meditation on how European, particularly French, ideas were transformed and implemented in new and unique contexts (e.g., Spain, Cuba, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Suriname). Carpentier thematizes the passage of ideas as a process of translation, both linguistically from French to Spanish, English, or Dutch, and conceptually, from one specific culture to another with different demands of relevance and applicability. The novel complicates the classic issue of the translator's fidelity to the text in that the responsibility to convey a text's original meaning collides with a need to adapt it to the new context. In El siglo, the translator's fidelity to the original confronts the revolutionary's fidelity to the Event in the practice of translating texts, such as the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and the 1793 French Constitution, as well as the Event of the French Revolution itself. This paper will explore the constellation of politics, translation, and fidelity in El siglo, with special reference to the relationship between political translation to propagate revolution and the revolutionary politics of translation.

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