Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Romance Languages

First Advisor

Gerald J. Prince


The impetus for this dissertation comes from a straightforward question: how does the act, or even the expectation, of translating influence original composition? To study this I focus on authors who translate their own texts and I search out traces left by translation in unexpected places. I argue that the influences of translation—whether in theme, structure, style, or inspiration—are latent in first compositions, and point not necessarily to the coming translation, but to a mode of writing. Bringing together an author’s translation with the original allows for a kaleidoscopic reading: the overlay of lenses on the text allows for otherwise unobtainable vistas onto the texts. This project investigates aspects of four authors’ projects that are informed by and inextricable from their status as self-translators: Julien Green (selves-writings), Samuel Beckett (echo…Echo), Romain Gary (mythic autobiography), and Nancy Huston (translation as structure).Through close readings of the many versions of a text, I engage questions of self-translation with larger themes, structures, and even genres of the works. I build on recent work by translation scholars who demonstrate the fruitfulness of centering writers’ practice of self-translation in their oeuvre. This scholarship brings original and translation into dialogue, blurring the bounds between them. Echoing these earlier studies’ call for understanding translation’s fundamental role in these authors’ creations, I posit that the criticism of said creations can benefit from a similar movement. Taking up recurring topics from scholarship on these authors and reconsidering them in light of the act of self-translation brings original perspectives to author specific studies as well as the broader fields of translation studies and literary composition.


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