Besa Hashani
UCLouvain, KU Leuven
ORCID 0000-0001-9125-8194
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Ismail Kadare’s Tragic Dragomans: Translators as Mediators
Dedalus 26 (2022), pp. 137-156. Download PDF


The present study aims to scrutinise the construction of a particular image of the Albanian author Ismail Kadare (1936-) in the English-speaking literary world, in particular zooming in on Kadare’s self-profiled image in the context of the inaugural Man Booker International (MBI) Prize (2005). Particular attention will be paid to Kadare’s discourse surrounding the award and his choice to reward David Bellos, one of his translators into English who worked indirectly from the French intermediary translations. Via the MBI Prize, Kadare distinctively positioned himself towards translation and literature: by choosing Bellos as co-recipient of the prize, he consequently recognised indirect translation as legitimate for consecration. Yet, the indirectness of the English translations of Kadare’s texts in their reception has often been pinpointed as an issue, whereas the writer refrained from commenting upon translation at all in his acceptance speech. Why is that? This phenomenon will be illuminated by a close reading of Kadare’s fictional representation of translation and translators in a selection of fictional and non-fictional literary works available in the French-speaking literary field to better understand such a position. In order to describe and envisage these dissimilar, yet complementary, objects of study, the recent discussions in discourse analysis on the notions of posture and ethos will be mobilised. This investigation will arguably elicit the ways in which the comparative study of interconnections between his posture during the MBI Prize and previous ethe as constructed in the selected literary works, unveil Kadare’s own mediation strategy towards his reception in English – namely, by capitalising on the triangulation generated from indirect translation.
Keywords: world literature; Albanian literature; indirect translation; consecration; discourse analysis