Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Peter Bichsel's "The Goshawk": A Translation and Introduction
by LaRue, Madeleine, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2012, 157; 10305698
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis contains an English translation of Der Busant, a 1985 collection of short stories by the Swiss-German writer Peter Bichsel. Preceding the translation is a critical introduction which situates Bichsel’s work in its historical, cultural, and linguistic context of postwar German-speaking Switzerland. It examines Bichsel’s career up to and including Der Busant and traces some of the most important themes that define his oeuvre: the alienation of the individual in postwar Europe in general and Switzerland in particular; the difficult position of the Swiss-German writer; the problem of storytelling and what Bichsel calls “the right to biography.” Also included are discussions on the importance of grammar to Bichsel, and of some of the linguistic and cultural challenges that arose during his translation into English. The search for an English title for the collection is, for example, narrated in some detail. In exploring the ethical and literary tone of Bichsel’s work, the translator relates how Bichsel has articulated his own relationship to his language and country in the past, and argues that this ethics suit, and may even demand, the process of translation. She asserts in conclusion that Bichsel’s work exposes the poverty of modern life even as it undermines that poverty; though Bichsel’s characters may be comically hopeless, their search to realize themselves also grants them the power of resistance.

Keywords: Peter Bichsel, Swiss-German literature, twentieth-century European literature, translation, short stories.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Medin, Daniel
Commitee: Chalmers, Martin
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: Cultural Translation
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Modern literature, German literature
Keywords: Bichsel, Peter, Short stories, Switzerland, Translation
Publication Number: 10305698
ISBN: 978-1-369-49262-0
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