Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-sh8wx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-21T21:22:57.212Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Can Mirrors Be Said to Have Memories? A Polish Katerina Brac Looks Back at Her English Reflection

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020


In 2002, the author of Katerina Brac (1985), Christopher Reid, commented on the reception of his book, concluding, “it has been translated only once—into Polish, to my intense pleasure, by Leszek Engelking and Jerzy Jarniewicz. A Polish friend tells me their version reads extremely well” (“Katerina and Her Kind” 93). This laconic statement, aimed to round off the discussion about the success in the world of Reid's collection of poems, in fact does not end the discussion but raises questions about how and why we should approach a pseudo-translation from the standpoint of its fictitious original. In this essay I argue that reclaiming one's exoticized identity through translation can constitute an act of critical autoexoticism.

Theories and Methodologies
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2017

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Works Cited

Akhmatova, Anna. Selected Poems. Translated by McKane, Richard, Penguin Books, 1969.Google Scholar
Alvarez, Al. Under Pressure: The Writer in Society: Eastern Europe and the USA. Penguin Books, 1965.Google Scholar
Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. Manchester UP, 2002.Google Scholar
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Translated by Glaser, Sheila Faria, U of Michigan P, 1994.Google Scholar
Bugan, Carmen. Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation. Legenda, 2013.Google Scholar
Corcoran, Neil. English Poetry since 1940. Longman, 1993.Google Scholar
Czerniawski, Adam. “Polish Poetry in the West.” Thumbscrew, vol. 8, 1997, Scholar
Gutorow, Jacek. “Wiersze bez dowodu tożsamości.” Literatura na świecie, vol. 7, 2001, pp. 270–76.Google Scholar
Heaney, Seamus. The Government of the Tongue. Faber and Faber, 1988.Google Scholar
Hughes, Ted. Introduction. Modern Poetry in Translation, 1983: An Annual Survey, edited by Weissbort, Daniel, MPT / Persea, 1983, pp. 913.Google Scholar
Jarniewicz, Jerzy. “After Babel: Translation and Mistranslation in Contemporary British Poetry.” European Journal of English Studies, vol. 6, no. 1, 2002, pp. 87104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jarniewicz, Jerzy. Interview. By Kasia Szymanska. 1 Feb. 2015. E-mail.Google Scholar
Jarniewicz, Jerzy. “Katerina Brac: Christopher Reid's Eastern European Poems.” Acta Universitatis Lodziensis: Folia Litteraria Anglica, vol. 1, 1997, pp. 4150.Google Scholar
Jarniewicz, Jerzy. “Poezja jako przeklad (o wschodnioeuropejskich wierszach Christophera Reida).” Literatura na swiecie, vol. 4, 1992, pp. 254–59.Google Scholar
Jarniewicz, Jerzy. “Przekład a doświadczenie emigracji: Studium przypadku.” Tekstualia, vol. 1, 2014, pp. 115–26.Google Scholar
Jarniewicz, Jerzy. “Translators and the Destruction of Eastern Europe.” Poetry Review, vol. 84, no. 3, 1994, pp. 5254.Google Scholar
Kay, Magdalena. In Gratitude for All the Gifts: Seamus Heaney and Eastern Europe. U of Toronto P, 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kendall, Tim. “The Poetry of Christopher Reid: An Overview.” Thumbscrew, vol. 3, 1995, Scholar
Merrill, James. “Idee.” Wybór poezji. Translated by Barańczak, Stanisław, Zeszyty Literackie, 1990, pp. 8687.Google Scholar
Morrison, Blake. “Dialect Does It.” London Review of Books, vol. 7, no. 21, 5 Dec. 1985, Scholar
Parker, Michael. “Ted Hughes and the Poets of Eastern Europe.” The Achievement of Ted Hughes, edited by Sagar, Keith, Manchester UP, 1983, pp. 3751.Google Scholar
Redmond, John. “Lyric Adaptations: James Fentosin, Craig Raine, Christopher Reid, Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy.” The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century English Poetry, edited by Corcoran, Neil, Cambridge UP, 2007, pp. 245–58.Google Scholar
Reid, Christopher. “Found in Translation: An Interview with Christopher Reid.” By Elizabeth Frost. Electronic Poetry Review, vol. 6, 2003, Scholar
Reid, Christopher. “Katerina and Her Kind.” Metre, vol. 12, 2002, pp. 9093.Google Scholar
Reid, Christopher. Katerina Brac. Faber and Faber, 1985.Google Scholar
Reid, Christopher. Katerina Brac. Translated by Jarniewicz, Jerzy and Engelking, Leszek, Miniatura, 2001.Google Scholar
Russian Women Poets. Edited by Polukhina, Valentina and Weissbort, Daniel, MPT Books, 2002.Google Scholar
Zaleski, Jeff, and Sharf, Michael. Review of Mermaids Explained: Poems, by Christopher Reid. Publishers Weekly, 12 Feb. 2001,–0-15–100106–4.Google Scholar