The Blessed and the Damned: Fictional World of Gracy
GS Jayasree
BABY DOLL: SHORT STORIES by Gracy. Translated from the original Malayalam by Fathima E.V. Harper Perennial India, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2021, 244 pp., 399.00
August 2021, volume 45, No 8

It is generally agreed that translation is an act of moving a text from one language to another. Those who have reflected critically on the processes of translation, like John Dryden (1631–1700), concur with this basic definition. Complicating this, possibly in the late eighteenth century England, we see the entry of ideas from the world of commerce, notions of ‘gain’ and ‘loss’. Evaluating a translated text soon became an exercise in judging how ‘close’ it is to the original text or how ‘far’ it has deviated. If it was close to the original, it was deemed a gain; if it moved far, definitely a loss. Implied here is the idea that a translator has to remain ‘faithful’ to the original, a throwback to the stabilization of the structure of the family, again in the late eighteenth century England. This leads us to the understanding that the worlds of trade and commerce and marital relations within the family intersected with that of writing and translation. Or to put it in other words, writing and translation did not operate as autonomous entities, untouched by the gross world that surrounded them. They were invariably shaped by the demands of material life, making evaluations of ‘gain’ and ‘loss’ problematic.

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