Pseudotranslations are literary works which purport to be translations of lost or suppressed originals, i.e. to be ‘salvaged’ from oblivion or obscurity. Pseudotranslation has attracted a good deal of attention within translation studies in recent years, but as a practice it can be traced back a long way. This article discusses a number of examples of the type, from Cervantes’ Don Quixote and modern works treating Shakespeare as pseudotranslated (Star Trek VI, Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia) through notable eighteenth-century examples (Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, MacPherson’s Ossian) to non-fictional fictions The Book of Mormon and ‘Nietzsche’s’ fraudulent late autobiography My Sister and I. Readers of translations usually trust that an original exists, and pseudotranslations abuse that trust. But even when an original does exist, translation performs a kind of salvage operation, acting as a kind of lifeboat which rescues a text from the passing of time and keeps it afloat for posterity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalComparative Critical Studies
Issue numberIssue Supplement
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018

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