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Title: Censorship in translation in the Soviet Union in the Stalin and Khrushchev eras
Author: Sherry, Samantha
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines the censorship of translated literature in the Soviet Union between the 1930s and the 1960s. Reconsidering traditional understandings of censorship, I employ a theoretical approach influenced by Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu in order to understand censorship as a set of inter-related practices enacted by multiple agents, occupying points on a continuum of censorship that ranges from external authoritarian intervention to internalised, unconscious norms. An analysis of literary texts translated from English into Russian in the literary journals Internatsional’naia literatura and Inostrannaia literatura is supplemented by examination of archival material from these journals and the censorship agency, Glavlit; I aim to reconstruct the various layers of censorship carried out by translator, editor or external agents. My analysis begins with a study of the publications patterns of the journals, examining the inclusion and exclusion of texts as an attempt to impose a canon of foreign literature. Employing internal reviews and records of editorial meetings, I demonstrate that ideological control of foreign literature was not completely repressive, and that a number of texts not conforming to Soviet standards found their way onto the pages of the journal. The next chapters study censorship on the textual level. A chapter on puritanical censorship discusses how sexual and vulgar language was removed from the texts, noting the relative easing of censorship in the post-Stalin era. Puritanical censorship was often incomplete, inviting the reader to reconstruct the original meaning. The chapter on political censorship shows how taboo topics were removed or entirely misrepresented in the Stalin era, but modified less drastically in the post-Stalin texts. The following study of the censorship of ideologically marked language examines how censorship aimed to erase unorthodox uses of certain terms, imposing an authoritative meaning on these texts, and ensuring the continued circulation of canonical symbols in a limited discursive framework. Ideological censorship also created intertextuality between the English texts and the Soviet context, attempting to make those texts a part of Soviet discourse. Through an examination of these intersecting censorship practices I problematise the phenomenon, highlighting ways in which the regulation of foreign texts could be incomplete, and ways in which censorial agents often sought to undermine censorship, even as they acted as censors.
Supervisor: Ryazanova-Clarke, Lara; Rogatchevski, Andrei Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: censorship ; translation ; Soviet Union