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Book: On Verbal Art

Chapter: Appraisal and Master Identities in Contemporary Spanish Crime fiction: The Case of Los Mares del Sur and its Translations into English and German

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.29811


This paper explores the verbal reproduction of emotional states as a resource for the negotiation of master identities in fiction. The focus of interest is the role played by evaluative language as a bonding mechanism, one of the resources authors use to construe a community of shared values with their readership. The contemporary Spanish novel 'Los mares del Sur' (Vázquez Montalbán 1979) has been chosen as an instance of the negotiation of identity and identities (mainly social and generational) taking place in post-Francoist crime fiction. The novel was translated into English (1986) and into German (1985 and 2013); by comparing these re-instantiations with the source text, we observe different approaches to preserving the indices of identity negotiation. In the two samples analyzed, one recreating anger, the other recreating nostalgia, resources are different. The first one, characterized by judgment, presents social stereotypes, items that are value-laden, heteroglossic and culture-bound, hence difficult to translate in their complexity both in English and in German. The second sample lexically creates a mood of heaviness that explicitly appraises objects in the protagonist’s individual experience but implicitly links with the collective historic memory of the losing side in the Spanish war. In the English translation, the tendency toward textual standardization, through the editing of repetitions and the normalization of syntax, changes the fabric of nostalgia.

Chapter Contributors

  • Anna Espunya ( - aespunya) 'Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona'