On the perception of space, its linguistic and cultural coding and poetics of representation in Desmond Hogan’s short story “The Last Time”


Keywords: phenomenology of space perception, social space, linguistic and cultural representation of space, extracoding of real and ideal spaces, phenomenology of translation

The present article studies the perception of space in “The Last Time” (a short story written by Desmond Hogan, first published in 1979) by Maria (a former orphan in the nunnery of Ballinasloe, a small town in western Ireland, close after WW II), who makes an attempt in her first person narrative to represent and understand, twenty years later, the circumstances and the emotions of her love for a young man from a socially high-ranking family, which probably failed because of the social and cultural conventions of their time. The article focuses Marias highly individual space perception and its linguistic representation based on her linguistic and cultural habits. Maria’s spaces, which integrate both real and ideal spaces, are analysed with reference basically to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s “Phenomenology of Perception”, Henri Lefebvre’s “The Production of Space” and Umberto Eco’s ideas on extracoding exposed in his “Theory of Semiotics”. The article also deals with the difficulties that translators meet when translating this short story. It appears that most translation problems are connected with Maria’s specific cultural overcodings in an attempt to represent her space perception. The author of the article analyses some examples of his previous translation and offers some new solutions in the section entitled “Towards phe­nomenological translation”.


Ülar Ploom (b. 1955), PhD, Tallinn University, School of Humanities, Associate Professor of Italian Literature (Narva mnt 29, 10120 Tallinn), ylar@tlu.ee



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