Translating Unica Zürn
in Surrealist women’s writing
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This chapter is concerned with the issue of untranslatability in the prose – both autobiographical and fictional – of Unica Zürn. The chapter takes issue with how existing English translations of Zürn’s German works evidence lexical and syntactical translational choices that reduce the complexity of these texts to autobiographical reflections of the author’s life. In this way, the more abstract, philosophical themes in Zürn’s writing, as well as her intertextual references to German literary works and their adaptations into different media, are lost. Through careful textual analysis, this chapter exposes these translational shortfalls and demonstrates the works’ own preoccupation with the very issue of untranslatability.

Surrealist women’s writing

A critical exploration

Editor: Anna Watz


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