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A Critical Revisit to André Lefevere’s Translation Theory

Geng Qiang

After a critical review of André Lefevere’s theoretical texts and identification of the symptoms of silence and tension in his texts, this paper aims to make some contribution to the improvement of his translation theory in general, and his rewriting theory in particular. The study shows that four key words, metaliterature, refraction, rewriting and grid, can be used to map the trajectory his theory went through. Central to his theory are five issues: interplay between literary system and its environment; control factor within literary system; social roles played by rewriters; translation’s function in shaping canon, cultural capital and other’s images; limiting factors for translation. Inside his theory lies the internal tension between his hypothesis and the cultural logic of late capitalism upon which the hypothesis is based, because his hypothesis puts much more emphasis on the binary control of ideology and poetics than on the economic aspect; on the rewritings of language codethan on that of non-linguistic code; on how constraints influence agents, than the vise versa. Considering the three aspects, his theory can be made to be much balanced.