Despite the increased attention that translation has received in conjunction with the newly revived topic of “world literature,” translation research and practice continue to be marginal in comparative literature as the field has developed in the United States. The evidence for this marginality takes various forms, institutional and intellectual, including reports on the state of the field, the curricula of departments and programs of comparative literature, and recent research that promulgates a discourse of “untranslatability” among comparatists. A key factor in this questionable situation is an instrumental model of translation that preempts a more productive understanding of translation as an interpretive act while maintaining a critical orthodoxy in literary studies. This article examines several influential publications in an effort to consider the cultural and political costs of suppressing translated texts.

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