Idioma: Español
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A Heart So White: the phraseological challenge in Jull Costa’s English translation of (...)

Miguel Fuster (IULMA Universitat de València)


Published in 1992, Corazon tan blanco is one of the best known contemporary works of
fiction by the Spanish writer Javier Marías. Research in narratology and literary criticism
has paid and still continues to pay attention to various themes and stylistic features in this
novel. Presumably, one of the most conspicuous stylistic traits in it is, the author’s
creative use of various kinds of repetition, and most remarkably phraseological repetition.
This stylistic feature has been treated by specialists in the work of Marías (cf. Grohmann
2002; Basso 2002; Florenchie 2003; Steen 2011). More recently, following a corpus
stylistic approach, AUTHOR (in press) has attempted to analyse its phraseology more
systematically. Indeed, the amount and complexity of repeated sequences may pose a
significant challenge to translators who need to be aware of the phraseological role in the
novel. In this contribution, we examine how Margaret Jull Costa, a renown English
translator of Spanish and Portuguese fiction, tackled this issue in her translation A Heart
so White, first published in 1995 in The Harvill Press. It should be said that the publication
of A Heart so White earned Jull Costa the International Dublin Literary Award in 1997.
Indeed, Margaret Jull Costa has remained a translator of Marias works to this date. The
approach and methodology adopted for this paper is based on the foundations of corpus
stylistics, where the linguistic treatment is prioritized in literary works, using methods
developed within corpus linguistics, such as those found, for example, in the stylistic
research of Stubbs (2005), Mahlberg & McIntyre (2011), Mahlberg (2013), to mention a
few authors and titles. This paper is an attempt to analyse the challenging complexity of
phraseological repetition in the translated work. Naturally, repeated sequences in the
Spanish novel can be as short as two or three words, e.g. “transcurrido tiempo”, “como
he dicho”. However, short sequences up to four words are quite common in ordinary
usage both in Spanish and English. It is much more unusual to find longer sequences
which are repeated. As in AUTHOR (in press), my focus will be to analyse how or to
what extent repeated long sequences (of five or more words) have been preserved in the
translated text, taking into consideration that this kind of phraseological repetition serves
crucial creative processes in the novel. It should be noted that not a few of these repeated
fragments may contain well over ten words, and that the existence of phraseological
variation adds greater complexity to the analysis. The results show that most frequently
the translator faithfully reproduces these repeated sequences, but other times she produces
divergent renderings. Some of these divergent renderings could be attributed to purely
linguistic differences, while other phraseological renderings are simply the choices of the


Congreso Cilc 2021


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Serie: CILC2021: Corpus, estudios contrastivos y traducción / Corpora, contrastive studies and translation (+información)