Transposition: Excerpt of introduction to next essay on Transposition

Cobbled together from these recent postings, the next essay looks at tranposition from the perspective of a specific example, that of The Nose. Here is the introduction, which gets right to the point:


Introduction: Transposition in general

A transposition moves an original narrative to a new context with each sentence of the transposed text standing in direct relation to the form, content or both form and content of the commensurate sentence in the original. A transposition of content might look like this example from my transposition of The Nose by Nikolai Gogol:
Original:
Иван Яковлевич, как всякий порядочный русский мастеровой, был пьяница страшный.
Ivan Yakovlevich, like every proper Russian master, was a raging alcoholic.) (The Nose 3)

Tranposition:
Michele, like many a good American professional, was a friendly contrarian. (The Nose Transposed 3, unpublished)

If the content is being transposed, then the final product will try to retain the original’s general structure (words, clauses, prepositions, length, etc.) as we see above. Should the transposition focus on the shifting of form, then the original structure will be replaced, but in each case, the correlation of sentence to sentence will remain (otherwise it would become an adaptation). The same applies if both the form and content are transposed.
In the context of derivative works, a transposition falls between a translation and an adaptation. Like a translation, it incorporates each segment, i.e. sentence of the original. But unlike a translation, it might cause a man in the original to become a woman, a barber to metamorphose into an esthetician, a servant to surface as a doorman, etc. In this sense, the transposition resembles an adaptation in literature, with its palpable similarities to the template (the original): Protagonists retain at least the specter of their identity, character and consciousness; the setting permits commensurate relationships, and often the plot is shifted to a different time and place. In adaptation, however, the correspondence of the final text to each segment of the original is lost: Entire passages and scenes are added, eliminated, altered for the new context. In transposition, on the contrary, the shift and potential addition, subtraction or alteration is pursued systematically on the basis of each original segment (sentence), creating an environment where the specter of the original shapes and colors the transposition.

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Further reading:

See rubric Transposition in the bar above.
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