The imaginaries of translation: Orpheus versus Hermes – presentation by Riccardo Raimondo


Tuesday 27 September 2016, 4:00 pm

University of Ottawa, Building Wilbrod, room 116

The imaginaries of translation: Orpheus versus Hermes

A presentation by Riccardo Raimondo
As part of the course ‘Theory of Traslation’ directed by Clara Foz (uOttawa)


I would like to try a quite simple but much needed experiment by introducing new considerations concerning the theory and practice of translation. In this way, I will attempt to develop new reflections on how to compare language practices and imaginaries. In this attempt, it is crucial to take into consideration the ways in which the imagination is involved in the socio-symbolic elaboration of translation practices.

I intend to take a closer look at the paratexts, the essays, the influences as well as the intertextual alliances that enrich the work and the imaginary of translators. This theoretical inspiration could eventually lead to a wide variety of analyses, methods and interpretations, which aim to create critical tools thus enhancing the development of a new concept: imaginary of translation.

In order to explore the imaginaries of translators, we can synthesize the approaches of translation by means of two mythological figures: Hermes and Orpheus. The first is a metaphor of an hermeneutical translation which transposes the meaning. In other words, it is a source-oriented translation. On the other hand, Orpheus is a figure that wanders in the darkness of form: it is a metaphor of a target-oriented translation. However, we can take into consideration another type of translation, Apollo’s translation which is the mysterious way of recreation and revelation. I will explain those metaphors by analyzing the work of three French translators: Louis Aragon, Gérard Genot and Yves Bonnefoy. All three of them translated the first sonnet of Petrarch’s Canzoniere in different ways.


The imaginaries of translation is a project of Christina Bezari (Ghent University), Riccardo Raimondo (Sorbonne Paris Cité), and Thomas Vuong (Paris-Nord).

With the kind support of Charles Le Blanc (uOttawa), Christine Lombez (Nantes) and Jean-Yves Masson (Paris-Sorbonne).

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