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By Ashok Bery (auth.)

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The resistance of language is partly to do with the very medium itself. As T. S. 37 In the ‘ghazals’ of Wright discussed earlier, the resistance Songlines: Judith Wright and Belonging 47 of language goes even further than this intractability and is connected with a desire to ‘see without words’ altogether. This inherent resistance of language is also inescapable in translation, since any theory of translation must also be connected with a theory of language and languages. Although the idea of resistance in linguistic translation has a long history, it has become increasingly systematized and prominent in more recent discussions, where it has taken a number of forms.

Is it possible to see in the notion of translation a valid and productive response to the general dilemmas of Australian identity discussed above, to Wright’s desire to honour both her ancestors and the devastating losses undergone by Aboriginal peoples? Is it possible, in other words, for translation to become both a way in which white settlers might learn to belong in a land where they and their ancestors have lived for just over 200 years now, and an acknowledgement of what their arrival and settlement did to the original inhabitants, who had been there for tens of thousands of years?

81–2) looks back to the days of Wright’s great-greatgrandfather as he set about creating somewhere to live. The Aborigines in a nearby camp made up songs about him and his family, thinking of the day when they would vanish (whether they looked forward in 40 Cultural Translation and Postcolonial Poetry anticipation or merely saw it neutrally as an inevitable event in the passage of time is not clear): These were a dream, something strayed out of a dream. They would vanish down the river, but the river would flow on, under the river-oaks the river would flow on, winter and summer would burn the grass white or red like the red of the pale man’s hair.

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