HT 2016 Week 3 Updates

There are lots of discussions happening in Week 4! The OCCT Discussion Group will be held on Monday, 8 February at 12.45-2pm, in Seminar Room 1, St Anne's College. As usual, a sandwich lunch will be provided. This meeting's topic is Intermediality and Medium Borders. Contact for readings. In the Colin Matthew Room of the Radcliffe Humanities Building, 11 February from 3-4pm, we have the Interasian Discussion Group. A Dphil student in Oriental studies will present her work in progress for discussion.

Valentina Gosetti has written up some of her reflections on the Translating Contemporary French Poetry event hosted the 27th of January. Click here is the article.

Week 3 was super busy! In a joint event, co-convened by the Oxford University Poetry, Sasha Dugdale read her poetry. The very next day, Felix Budelmann (Oxford) and Ellen Spolsky (Bar Ilan) presented a comparative, cognitive approach to poetry. Nicola Gardini, one of OCCT’s steering committee, launched his novel Lost Words in English translation, published by New Directions.


CFPS and Events

1. February 2016- CCLPS Lecture Series- SOAS, University of London

Translating Revolution: The Impact of Frantz Fanon and the Renovation of European Radical Thought

Dr Neelam Srivastava (Newcastle University)

It is largely through translation that Frantz Fanon’s work has become known throughout the world. Understanding the impact of Fanon in different countries and languages shows how successfully his theories travel, and how they readily have been applied to diverse contexts of struggle and oppression, thus realizing the potential of Fanon’s universalizing tendencies in his anti-colonial writings, even when he was writing specifically about the Algerian struggle for independence against French colonial occupation.

In this paper, I examine the ways in which Frantz Fanon was a significant if unexplored presence in European cultural and political life, with a particular focus on Italy. As a “Third-Worldist” author, Fanon had an impact on the renovation of the Italian Left in the 1960s and 1970s, and in particular his work highlighted to an Italian audience the continuities between anti-fascism and anti-colonialism. Italian was probably the first language into which Fanon’s work was translated. Fanon’s Italian reception is interesting for postcolonial scholars in that it differs from the Anglo-American tradition of Fanonian scholarship, and reveals a “pre-postcolonial”  Fanon, an activist who changed the way forward-looking European intellectuals conceived of renovation and change in their own societies, especially in terms of politics and psychiatry.

This event will take place on Wednesday 3d February 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM in the Main Building, room L67. All welcome.


2. ‘“Some Hard Matter”: Nature, Water and the Alien World in Mid-Nineteenth Century America’

David Peters Corbett (UEA)

Senior Common Room, English Faculty, 5.15pm. Tuesday 9 February

When Henry David Thoreau visited Mount Katahdin in Maine during 1846 he found it ‘grim’ and ‘untrodden’, a ‘tangled labyrinth of living, fallen and decaying trees only the deer and moose and bear and wolf, can easily penetrate’. When he got to the top he thought it evoked the alien condition of the world: ‘here not even the surface had been scarred by man’, he wrote, ‘it was like ‘some star’s surface, some hard matter in its home’. My paper takes Thoreau’s account as its starting point and considers the ways in which the perceived alienness of American nature figures in work by Frederic Edwin Church, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. There is a particular concentration on the ways in which water and its images function for all three. The paper is bookended by discussion of the utility of literature as a resource for art historians of nineteenth-century America, as well as some of the questions about this approach raised in the scholarship.



The German Enlightenment in Philosophy and Literature. Ideas, Aporias, Legacy

Organiser/speaker: Laura Anna Macor (Oxford)

Description: In the last decades, scholarship on the German Enlightenment has followed quite new paths. After moving away from the old narrative of a sterile, naïvely optimistic and rationalist movement, scholars rediscovered the German Enlightenment as intrinsically open-minded and, insofar, as a crucial step toward contemporary culture. A key-feature of this new approach has to be seen in the dismissal of any dogmatic interpretative claim and in the consequent acknowledgment that the project of the Enlightenment itself is not free from shortcomings, which however do not diminish its values.

The reading group aims to explore this new territory from an interdisciplinary perspective: philosophical and literary texts by, among others, Kant, Mendelssohn and Schiller will be read and discussed, both in German original and in English translation. Suggestions on other eighteenth-, nineteenth- or twentieth-century texts, which might shed new light on the Enlightenment itself or its legacy, will also be welcome. The reading group is primarily aimed at graduates in both German and Philosophy, but is open to all.

Venue: Room 234, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

University of London School of Advanced Study

Thursday, 4 February 2016, 5-7 pm


4. University of Kent 4 – 5 May 2016

Keynote Speakers

Stanley E. Gontarski, Florida State University

Fábio de Souza Andrade, University of São Paulo

Almost unknown before the première of E n attendant Godot i n 1953, the immediate success of the play led to Samuel Beckett very quickly acquiring an international reputation. Since then, his works have been translated into numerous languages, and have exerted a considerable influence upon art and literature across the world. The award of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969 confirmed Beckett’s status as a major figure in world literature.

However, while there is no doubt that his oeuvre lends itself to translation and adaptation, Beckett’s concern with directorial and verbal precision cautions against misappropriation, notwithstanding the seemingly decontextualised nature of his postwar writings. Moreover, in light of his global dissemination, Beckett’s commitment to ‘impotence’, ‘ignorance’, and ‘impoverishment’ takes on a new meaning. Despite the prevailing tendency to consider Beckett as an absurdist, his works resist being circumscribed by any literary and aesthetic category, and perhaps for this very reason have flourished in cultures very different from the one in which they originated.

So what is it in his writings that enables this global circulation? In what ways is Beckett culturally reciprocated and refracted? How do nation and nationality figure in his writings? These are some of the many questions that arise when considering Beckett as amongst the foremost figures of world literature today.

This international conference is designed to address the questions of Beckett as a figure of world literature and world literature as figured in Beckett. We would like to invite papers, presentations, and performances from students, academics, artists and fellow enthusiasts on the following topics, although participants should not consider themselves restricted by these:

• Beckett’s influence, reception and circulation across disciplines
• Rethinking global modernism in the light of his works
• Beckett as a self¬translator and studies of Beckett in translation
• Cinematographic and theatrical adaptations of Beckett’s plays
• The intercultural, sociological, and political dissemination of Beckett’s work
• Beckett and global contemporary criticism and theory
• Reappraising Beckettian motifs through appropriations and relocations
• Teaching Beckett as part of international French and English curriculums
• Beckett and the literary field
• Retracing publication and translation trajectories
• Beckett’s circulation in the digital world

Abstracts and proposals of no more than 300 words are invited by 2 6 February 2016. Please e¬mail submissions to, along with a short bio. Please also use this email address if you wish to contact the organisers with any queries. Please visit our website: more information and for latest updates.

This conference is supported by The Centre for Modern European Literature and the Humanities Faculty Research Fund, University of Kent.


5. In the next UCL Translation in History Lecture on Thursday 11 February, Dr Daniel Abondolo will explore translation in the distant past, before writing, by examining how it operates without writing today.

Ranging from language(s) in (pre-)Ancient Greece to communications networks of the Amazon.

Open to all, free of charge, and followed by an informal reception.

Information and registration:


6. Molière et moi: On Translating Classic Comedy

Roger McGough CBE FRSL

Monday 22 February 2016, 6.30p.m., The British Library Conference Centre, London NW1 2DB


Award-winning poet, playwright and broadcaster Roger McGough was approached by Liverpool Playhouse in 2007 to translate a play by Molière for performance in the European Capital of Culture the following year. The result was Tartuffe (2008), but one critically acclaimed version led to another (The Hypochondriac, 2009), and then another (The Misanthrope, 2013). Three wonderfully creative and hugely entertaining translations later, self-confessed non-linguist McGough takes stock in this year’s Sebald Lecture. He reflects on the finer points of the translation process – questions of pace, humour, rhyme – and on his goals in adapting a 17th-century French dramatist for the 21st-century English stage.

Roger McGough is one of Britain’s best-loved poets. He first achieved recognition in the 1960s, in the Penguin anthology The Mersey Sound and in the chart-topping group The Scaffold. Since then, he has published many internationally acclaimed collections of poems and stories for adults and children. He has edited several anthologies, and hosts the long-running weekly poetry programme Poetry Please for BBC Radio 4. His poems have been translated into many other languages – including translations into German by W G Sebald himself.

The Sebald Lecture is named after W G Sebald who set up the British Centre for Literary Translation in 1989. Known as ‘Max’, he was a German writer who opted to live in the UK and continue writing in German. His novels and essays include The Rings of Saturn,Austerlitz, and On the Natural History of Destruction, and they established him as a leading writer of the 20th century.


Dr Eleni Philippou

Comparative Criticism and Translation

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