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The Norwegian Translation Concept “Gjendikting”, 1872–2012. A Translation Sociological Investigation.

Before 1900 the word “*gjendikting” was used on the trans-national Dano-Norwegian literary field and could designate both interlingual, intralingual and intersemiotic artistic processes implying change. The implementation of the scheme for public acquisition of books in 1965, funded by the Norwegian Cultural Fund, resulted in gjendikting to a higher degree being associated with an interlingual form of poetry translation.

Erlend Wichne

Ph.D. candidate

Erlend Wichne will defend the thesis The Norwegian Translation Concept “Gjendikting”, 1872–2012. A Translation Sociological Investigation.for the PhD degree, 18 August 2023.

Wichne has followed the Ph.D. programme at the Faculty of humanities and education, with spesialisation in linguistics.  

Summary of the thesis:

This doctoral thesis is an invstigation into the following question: How has the translation concept gjendikting (“re-creation”/“translation”) and its position evolved in Norway? I formulate three research questions in order to guide the investigation: 1) How is the word “*gjendikting” used in publicly available publications in Norway? 2) What has been the position of the Norwegian concept of gjendikting? 3) What positions have re-creators/translators (“gjendiktere”) taken towards the concept of gjendikting?

The theoretical framework of this project draws on the concept of assumed translation (Halverson, 2008; Toury, 1995/2012a) and key concepts from Pierre Bourdieu’s work, in particular Les règles de l’art. Genèse et structure du champ littéraire (Bourdieu, 1992/1998). These concepts are operationalized in a way that motivates the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data, making mixed methods this project’s research design.

I collect quantitative information about 4 082 occurences of the word “*gjendikting” from 1 180 publications in the digitized book collection of the National Library of Norway in order to analyze developments in the use of the word in the period between 1872 and 2012. In order to deepen the insights from the quantitative analyses, I collect qualitative data ‒ publications, archival material and interview data ‒ which also enable me to answer the project’s third research question.

The translation concept gjendikting and its position has changed between 1872 and 2012. Before 1900 the word “*gjendikting” was used on the trans-national Dano-Norwegian literary field and could designate both interlingual, intralingual and intersemiotic artistic processes implying change. The implementation of the scheme for public acquisition of books in 1965, funded by the Norwegian Cultural Fund, resulted in gjendikting to a higher degree being associated with an interlingual form of poetry translation. The institutionalization of the concept seemingly led to a conventionalization in the use of the word “*gjendikting” in Norwegian books. By the ende of the period the distiction between the two translation concepts gjendikting and oversettelse (“translation”) appears to be of little relvance to one informant of the project ‒ a significant re-creator/translator (“gjendikter”) operating in the Norwegian literary field.

This doctoral research project is an important contribution to the application of Bourdieuean theoretical concepts in sociological research on translation. The way quantitative and qualitative data has been collected and analyzed makes the project unique. The project is also an important empirical contribution to the academic field of translation studies, shedding light on an underexplored context of translation.

Find more information about time and place for the doctoral defence.