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The role of norms in text production : case study of a nineteenth-century Norwegian folktale collection and its role in the shaping of national identity

By Mette Rudvin


The present thesis operates within the framework of a macro-structural and descriptive approach to\ud Translation Studies, examining aspects of a type of literature that has traditionally been marginalized within\ud the polysystem, namely oral narrative. The thesis investigates translation as one element in a larger,\ud interactive system; it does not regard 'translation' only in its traditional function as a linguistic act between\ud two different national languages, but one that includes a conception of translation between two variants of\ud one language. The case study in question is a nineteenth-century collection of Norwegian folktales Norske\ud Folkeeventyr, collected and retold by P. Chr. Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe, first published in 1841. This\ud publication came to have a considerable linguistic and literary impact on the Norwegian polysystem. The\ud thesis aims to show how macro-structural factors governed the creation of the corpus through 'translation'\ud from oral to literary mode, and from diverse dialects to a standardized language, and how the resulting\ud product had a significant impact on the standardization of the one of the emerging Norwegian language\ud forms. The thesis seeks to describe in detail which historical, political, literary and linguistic factors, in the\ud national as well as supra-national framework, have affected this process of translation and text-production as\ud a whole. It further aims to demonstrate how this process took shape in the context of, and indeed how it was\ud instrumental in the shaping of, an emerging Norwegian national identity after the country's independence from\ud Denmark (1814) and Sweden (1905). The thesis thus illustrates, through detailed description, how a specific\ud corpus of texts has been formed in a dialectic process with the readership and the target culture, both\ud adapting to and influencing prevailing literary and linguistic norms

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