Translating the poetics/politics of silence: The case of Catalan and Spanish translations of Vercors’ Le silence de la mer (1942)


  • Maria Dasca Batalla Harvard University


literary translation, dictatorship, Catalan, Spanish, cultural studies


The aim of this article is to analyze the Catalan and Spanish translations of Vercors’ novel Le silence de la merwithin the frame of the “cultural turn” in Translation Studies described by Lefevere (1992), Basnett (1998), Bassnett and Lefevere (1990 & 1998), and Snell-Hornby (2006, pp. 47-68). This article aims to highlight and contextualize the role played by translation in cultural dynamics by emphasizing the institutional and ideological constraints imposed by Franco’s censorship on the translation of a work imbued with political meaning. In this approach I will consider: 1) the agents that mediated the cultural transfer, which involves the reception and the translation of the novel; 2) the interpretation of symbolic key-words related to silence and language, as well as their adaptation in the translation; 3) the interpretation of the novel in a context of cultural and political repression.