Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Adelaide Russo


Translation and exile are two phenomena that marked life in the twentieth century, especially in Europe, and have therefore left their traces in French literature as well. Translation from one language to another is a heightened form of the translation process inherent in any writing. Exile in a foreign country, linguistic exile, is an aggravated form of the exile every human being experiences at some point. Parting from Lucian Blaga's concept of "mioritic space," which is based on the Romanian myth of Mioritza, as well as Walter Benjamin's essay "Die Aufgabe des Ubersetzers" [The Task of the Translator], this study focuses on the translational quality of texts written in exile, namely Mes departs, Fin de partie , and the poems by Paul Celan. Exile texts are like translations because both are rooted elsewhere than in the language in which they are composed: in (an)other language(s) or in the intermediary space between them. This is evident in the texts examined in this study. In Panait Istrati's account the French language is interspersed with terms from his native Romanian, from Greek, Italian and other languages as well as song lyrics and a musical score. In Samuel Beckett's play the French language is natural and idiomatic but meaningless and disparate with reality, with what is happening on the stage. In Paul Celan's poetry his native German is recast as poetic language, condensed and reworked to the utmost, so that it is foreign even to a native speaker. The exile inscribed in the language of these different texts reinforces the exile described in them. Translations of different kinds help to elucidate the meaning of these works: translations by various translators in the case of Paul Celan; self-translation and collaboration on a translation in the case of Samuel Beckett, and a contemporary German translation as well as my own English translation in the case of Panait Istrati.