I remember the band playing: Chekhov and postcolonial translation for the Irish stage

Carole-Anne Upton

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    A structuralist approach to translations of Chekhov in Ireland. Chekhov is reinscribed by a postcolonial strategy of ‘appropriation’; the greening of Chekhov. Chekhov as an original source does not emanate from the colonial power (England/Britain) but has been assimilated by reiterative ‘Englishing’ in translation, which aligns Chekhov with the imperial culture. (In fact the original Russian Chekhov arguably occupied a liminal cultural-political space between empire and revolution). Postcolonial translation theory (at least according to Susan Bassnett, and Andre Lefevere) draws on an ethically motivated model of intercultural exchange, where the elucidation of the repressed source culture in the target colonial one is of primary importance. Opposing this paradigm I argue that postcolonial Irish remodellings of Chekhov substitute the colonial target (English translations) for the Russian source and are at least partly motivated by a desire to reinscribe the material into the target culture as a deliberate move to displace its assumed Englishness. In this sense it is the cultural memory of those earlier translations that allows the new Irish translations to assert their ‘difference’ (in a poststructural sense). In the present moment of productions such translations refer to, and perhaps rely on, the ghosts of earlier translations for their political and cultural impact.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
    PublisherQueen's University Belfast
    Number of pages0
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 Apr 2006
    EventBetwixt and Between II: Memory and Cultural Translation - The Queen's University of Belfast
    Duration: 19 Apr 2006 → …


    ConferenceBetwixt and Between II: Memory and Cultural Translation
    Period19/04/06 → …


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