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  • 1 Department of Modern Languages, University of Texas at Arlington Box 19557, Arlington, Texas 76019-0557
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In order to understand any process of cultural appropriation, one needs to examine the relationship of concepts such as Lefevere's “image”, Snell-Hornby's “norm”, Bourdieu's “habitus” as well as “tertium comparationis”. Broader application of discussions within Translation Studies proves essential for understanding a key aspect of Cultural Studies. Case in point here is the appropriation of classical Rome in post-1945 German-language literature. The Rome that appears in contemporary fiction is neither the city proper nor the historical empire per se, but rather Rome as an invention. It is a cultural concept construed historically without itself being necessarily historical. It enables the process of cultural appropriation by providing basic characteristics accepted by the appropriating culture, and whose presence ensures the impression of fidelity to the appropriated culture. The invariant here is artificial. Although the image operates on something close to an unconscious level (black box), it is nonetheless discernable because it manifests itself in the context, choice of themes, and metaphors prevalent in a text. Rome's image involves its historical demise. While the Greek tradition is almost exclusively tapped for its mythology, allusions to the Roman heritage tend to focus on its historical figures and circumstances.

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