The ambivalent role of translation in the internationalization of Georgian literature: the case of Nino Haratischwili and The Eight Life (for Brilka)

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Ana Kvirikashvili


This paper departs from the idea that translation held an ambivalent role in Georgia’s guest – of – honour presentation at the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair (Kvirikashvili forth.), where Nino Haratischwili, a writer living in Germany, writing in German, published by a German press, presented often as a German author in the German literary criticism and awarded numerous German literary prizes, was chosen as one of the two spokespeople of Georgian literature at the opening ceremony, seemingly contradicting Georgia’s cultural brand: whereas the Georgian delegation deemed language the main distinctive feature of Georgian literature, granting language a central place in the communicative strategy, she does not wield the “unique” Georgian language. While choosing a German – writing author as the spokesperson of Georgian literature renders translators invisible (Venuti 1995) in the process of exporting small, peripheral or less – translated languages and leaves unacknowledged the unequal distribution of symbolic capital and power relations among different languages, translation and language play a meaningful role in the novel itself, which escapes naturalising language difference (Walkowitz 2015). This analysis aims to see what combination of local and global elements and themes (Roig – Sanz, forth.) made of Haratischwili, with her hybrid identity and a book ̶ The Eight Life (for Brilka) ̶ that tells the story of six generations of women in a Georgian family while it captures twentieth century world events as they interlock with that story, the most suitable writer for Georgia to showcase their culture to the world. The paper also aims to observe how this case study responds, if it does, to the idea of the global novel (Ganguly 2016, Ganguly 2020).

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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The Global Novel: Crossing Circulation and Poetics