Does literary theory know a technical term for the following:

An accomplished writer intentionally publishes the first version of one of their texts in a language which they neither know (well), nor usually publish in, nor is a language usually read by the writer's usual readership?


  • Needless to say, the "neither know (well)" condition implies that the writer has to rely on the good offices of some translation services, of some sort or the other. The question is not restricted by how the 'translation' was made, but an essential part of the question is that the foreign-language version is the first version of the text: there was no first version in the native language of the writer. This makes this case so curious.
  • I know one example of this phenomenon, but won't give it, not to bias the question, and because I am mostly interested in the technical term. I would also appreciate some relevant examples from literary history, but to find those seems comparably easy. But again: relevant examples would be appreciated, too. There is, e.g., some tradition of what one could call 'love offerings', in the sense that a writer tries to honour some linguistic community by taking the pains of composing a piece in a foreign language.
  • I don't know a technical term. Neither 'pseudonomy' nor 'Pseudepigrapha' are applicable (while vaguely related of course). It's some curious variant of obfuscation. In the case motivating this question, it seems some sort of being embarassed about the piece and wanting to 'downplay' it as a 'lesser work', and trying to curb the number of people who will read it.
  • 2
    You specify that the writer would have to rely on some sort of translation service, but that there is no native language text. So what gets translated? – Spagirl Oct 5 '17 at 9:13
  • @Spagirl: this is a perspicuous observation. I did not recognize this inconsistency myself. This is a gray area: in the existing example which motivated this question I simply do not know the genesis of this particular text. It is a fact that the author published, with almost no delay between them, a handful of articles in a journal in a language that they never published before, and never published after this short obfuscatory 'salvo': how they did, I don't know: evidently, assuming some simplistic psychological 'model', they had a text 'in mind' which then, somehow, got translated [...] – guest Oct 5 '17 at 16:07
  • [...] into this foreign language. Whether the author first drafted a physical text which was then handed to a translation service of some sort or the other, or whether they somehow dictated the text to a person fluent in the foreign language, I simply don't know. The publications occurred many decades ago. Even the original version of the journal version seems to be hard to come by, let alone a draft by the author. Thanks for pointing out. I think it it isn't necessary to edit this in though. – guest Oct 5 '17 at 16:10

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