Translational Departures Rethinking Genre and Translation

by Chandrani Chatterjee

The present paper attempts to read certain episodes in nineteenth centurycolonial Calcutta as processes of cultural translation. The translational aspectof the colonial encounter has been largely unnoticed. The cultural traffic, themovement of languages, books, genres and ideas indicate a larger process of culturaltranslation at work. In rethinking how cultures relate to one another atmoments of cultural encounter, I have tried to emphasize the crucial role thatgenres play in such a process. Through a select reading of the novel and somepopular print genres in nineteenth century Calcutta I suggest that instead of astable mimetic theory of art we need to approach the colonial encounter as aprocess of constant negotiation and exchange, of translational departures whichin turn helps us unsettle conventional notions of the rigidity of genre boundariesenabling a furthering of processes of translation.



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