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Kyoung-Jin Lee (Seoul National University)

Kyoung-Jin Lee

Kyoung-Jin Lee
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Fellow in Research Area 4: "Literary Currencies"

July - August 2024

Stylistics and Stylistic Translation: History and Prospects

It is well known that stylistic translation is considered a fundamental ideal of literary translation, but its practice and methodology are rarely discussed and viewpoints around it are divided. Moreover, it is often seen as secondary or insignificant compared to the task of making foreign cultural contexts comprehensible. This study, which emphasises the great importance of stylistic translation for literary translation, will examine what is at stake in stylistic translation and how it should be approached. To this end, a critical look will be cast at the now somewhat outdated premise of stylistics (in particular, important approaches by German Romanists such as Leo Spitzer) and the theoretical history of stylistic translation will be reconstructed in order to highlight some of the main problems of stylistic translation: Should stylistic translation aim for a faithful imitation of a figure or should it aim for a similar stylistic effect? What can a translator do when the gap between two languages is so large that no identical figure exists? In this case, what is it that the creativity of the translator should be oriented towards, and what should he or she aim to achieve? Finally, the project will discuss the prospects and significance of stylistic translation in the age of short and fast communication and AI translation.

Kyoung-Jin Lee is an associate professor in the Department of German Language and Literature at Seoul National University. She received her PhD from the University of Bonn in 2013 with the dissertation Die deutsche Romantik und das Ethische der Übersetzung. Die literarischen Übersetzungsdiskurse Herders, Schleiermachers, Goethes, Novalis', der Brüder Schlegel und Benjamins (Königshausen & Neumann 2014), and has published several essays on Friedrich Schlegel and his early Romanticism. She is also an active translator, having translated Giorgio Agamben’s The Coming Community, three books by W.G. Sebald (Luftkrieg und Literatur, Campo Santo and Logis in einem Landhaus), T.W. Adorno’s Aspekte des neuen Rechtsradikalismus and, most recently, Siegfried Kracauer’s The Theory of Film into Korean (with T.H. Kim). Her research interests focus on early Romanticism, the cultural representations of Auschwitz and German intellectual history, including literary and translation theory.