Text and paratext in decoding the gender of Winnie-the-Pooh in Russian translations

The material was received by the Editorial Board: 13.02.2017
The paper considers the role played for Russian translators by the text and the paratext when decoding the original meaning of the name Winnie-the-Pooh from Pooh stories by A. Milne. The notion text refers here to the original text by A. Milne and its translation into Russian by V. Rudnev whereas paratext is represented by their prefaces and commentaries, explaining the choices of the author and his translator. We analyze both the morphology and the syntax of the name Winnie-The-Pooh, as well as different cultural meanings it takes in source and target linguocultures. It is argued that the text of this story must be identified as a source of ‘literal’ text-oriented interpretations of this onomastic sign whereas the related paratext is produced to reveal or construct around it all kind of meanings and cultural interpretations of the same onomastic sign. But, in fact, a mythology of the character (Pooh Bear) produced by Rudnev’s paratext in the Russian cultural context differs considerably from what the text of his translation allows to claim. His paratext exaggerates considerably the presumably androgynous features of the little bear, but in the text they become rare.

Keywords: proper name, translating for children, text vs paratext, text-centered theory of translation, constructing gender semantics, Winnie Пух, interjections’ semantics

References: Fefelov. A. F. Text and paratext in decoding the gender of Winnie-the-Pooh in Russian translations. NSU Vestnik Journal, Series: Linguistics and Intercultural Communication. 15, 1. С. 24–33.