Two different faces of Cavafy in English: A corpus-assisted approach to translational stylistics


  • Iraklis Pantopoulos
Keywords: literature, translation, corpus stylistics, mind-style, Cavafy, universal stylistic features, word statistics


A translator is seen to leave a personal mark on the text through their stylistic choices and the patterns formed by these choices. This article comprises a case study that uses a specialized comparative corpus containing translations of C.P. Cavafy's canon in order to explore the distinctive stylistic features of Rae Dalven and of Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard (working in collaboration), in both quantitative and qualitative terms. Exploring the different approaches to Cavafy's poetry on the stylistic level reveals the stylistic fragmentation of the poet after crossing over into a dominant language and literary market.

Overall word frequencies for each translation are examined, the stylistic features that are prominent in each case are identified, and their significance is considered. Special attention is also paid to the way a stylistic feature belonging to the ‘universal aspects of literature’ is treated by each translator. By foregrounding the translators and their distinct choices, the “homogenization” effects that often characterize translation into a major language are arrested. Instead, the focus falls on the factors that shape each translator's use of language and their impact.


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Author Biography

Iraklis Pantopoulos

Iraklis Pantopoulos studied German with English Literary Studies at Middlesex University (BA Hons) and Translation Studies at the University of Edinburgh (MSc with Distinction, Ph.D.). His doctoral work comprised a corpus-assisted comparative stylistic study using English translations of 20th century Greek poetry. He has attended a number of international conferences, in Greece, the UK, and China, on translation theory, the use of electronic corpora, as well as on cognitive approaches to language and style. His publications include articles for the British Centre for Literary Translation's journal In Other Words as well as literary translations. Currently, he organizes and conducts courses at the Ionian University and the Technological Educational Institute of Epirus, in Greece. He is a member of several national and international associations and professional bodies (EST, PALA).
How to Cite
Pantopoulos, I. (2012). Two different faces of Cavafy in English: A corpus-assisted approach to translational stylistics. International Journal of English Studies, 12(2), 93–110.