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„Wszak słowo dla mnie tak wiele nie znaczy!” Goethe jako tłumacz i teoretyk przekładu

Tadeusz Zatorski

“After All, a Word does Not Mean so Much to Me”. Goethe as Translator and Translation Theorist

Although Goethe is primarily an independent author of high rank, translations occupy a significant place in his work. Some of them, e.g. The Poems of Ossian or Mad Wanderer were included in his own works. Goethe not only translated, but also analyzed various translation techniques (the deep reflection on translation was indeed a hallmark of his era). He noticed advantages of translating the poetry by means of prose and techniques of translation which introduced the original to the reader and facilitated its perception, however he found translation close to the original as ideal translation – in case of poetry this translation was close to interlinear – and somehow “bringing up” the reader to acquire it. This theoretical reflection on the translator’s profession was discussed mostly in one of the essays accompanying West-Eastern Divan. However, not always he followed the rules which he recommended, e.g. he germanized quite freely memories of Benvenuto Cellini.