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Mediations: Science and Translation in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

Abstract : Mediations are a central theme in David Mitchell’s ‘house of fiction’, a set of five novels featuring a complex web of recurring characters, obsessions and literary patterns. In his latest work, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (2010), Mitchell revisits the genre of the historical novel and finds inspiration in the real-life memoirs of Hendrik Doeff, who stood between 1799 and 1817 as Dutch Head of Dejima, a trading outpost off the coast of Japan. This enables him to embark on a subtle exploration of the issues at stake in the transmission of knowledge, at a time and place poised between the Enlightenment and the Empire. Focusing on translation and medicine as paradigms of mediation, Mitchell fully integrates them within plot, characterisation and narrative to develop a meditation on legacy, empowerment and the extraordinary journeys of the mind.
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https://hal.univ-brest.fr/hal-01113730
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Submitted on : Friday, February 6, 2015 - 10:58:29 AM
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Hélène Machinal. Mediations: Science and Translation in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. Études britanniques contemporaines - Revue de la Société dʼétudes anglaises contemporaines, Presses universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2013, British Literature in the Present (Supplement), 45, pp.1. ⟨hal-01113730⟩

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