Eichel's Essay 'Sir Gawain And The Green Knight'

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Criticisms of Eichel’s Essay In “Interpreting ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’: Translation and Manipulation of Audience Expectations,” Andrew Eichel makes a convincing argument as to how translations can affect pieces of writing. Throughout his essay, Eichel lays out a vast amount of examples as to how translations affect writing; however, there are issues with how this evidence was presented. Firstly, it is not clear what kind of audience is addressed in the essay. Eichel also presents an extremely black and white perspective on foreignization vs. domestication. Additionally, Eichel chose an unnecessarily sophisticated language for his essay and over exaggerated the way Tolkien’s translation changes the original, as well as its “obscurity.”…show more content…
It is unclear whether the author is speaking to the average reader or literary scholars. In an essay of this nature it is important to distinguish who the author is speaking to, and what he or she assumes the reader already knows about the topic. In the beginning of the essay, Eichel explains a few things to the reader as if he was assuming they knew little about the topic: “an academic commonplace holds that a translator’s choices ultimately affect an audience’s interpretation of a text,” (Eichel 1). In the author’s introductory statement he is explaining to the reader not only how a translation affects a text, but also that it even does. Eichel explains to the reader something that a scholar would already know. Later on, Eichel writes another explanation: “More generally, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight presents challenges to any translator or audience intent on studying alliterative poetry, Middle English literature, or Arthurian romance. The author’s usage of multiple literary genres and methods, from romance lays to Christian and pagan symbolism” (1). Andrew Eichel explains numerous times things that a scholar would already know and understand, therefore a reader might assume this essay was written for the average person. Later in the essay, however, Eichel
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