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Translation and Criticism
Translation and Criticism are both modes of re-writing, and both involve an element of creativity which is often neglected or suppressed. This strand explores the edges and overlaps between them, taking in forms like commentary, ekphrasis and paraphrase. It aims to cast new light on the varied processes of translation, and also on the translational activity that occurs when critics brings their writing into contact with source texts, redirecting them to new purposes. Our seminars aim to open up fresh possibilities for the understanding and the practice of both criticism and translation.
In 2015, we hosted an international conference, Prismatic Translation. This helped generate a long-term research project, also called Prismatic Translation, which is now funded by the AHRC as part of the Humanities Division's Open World Research Initiative programme in Creative Multilingualism. Details are here.
Translation and Criticism developed out of work done during 2013-14 under the headings ‘Languages of Criticism’, ‘Philosophy of Criticism’ and ‘Translators and Writers’, For details, scroll further down the 'Research' page.
Prof Matthew Reynolds (English), Dr Adriana X. Jacobs (Oriental Studies), Prof Patrick McGuinness (MML), Dr Kasia Szymanska (MML), Prof Sowon Park (University of California Santa Barbara)
Slovenian novelists Dušan Šarotar and Dino Bauk discuss their novels with Patrick McGuiness.
Billiards at the Hotel Dobray, by Dušan Šarotar
In the narrow corridors and dark rooms of the once-elegant Hotel Dobray in the sleepy town of Sóbota, in a forgotten land wedged between Hungary and Yugoslavia, human destinies collide like the billiard balls in the hotel’s casino. It is late March 1945 and the long war is nearing its end. The Soviet Union’s Red Army will soon arrive to liberate the town, although no one knows what to expect. József Sárdy, the ruthless leader of a small Hungarian occupation unit stationed at the Hotel Dobray, is preparing for his final battle, even as his debauched soldiers succumb to melancholy and despair. Local industrialist Josip Benko hopes the end of the war will mean large profits for his factory, yet he is doing all he can to save his dying world. And Linna, a former singer who works as a prostitute in the hotel, must confront her divided loyalties. But before her song falls silent, the Jewish merchant Franz Schwartz, one of the few to survive the horrors of Auschwitz, returns to Sóbota on foot, pursuing the strains of a remembered violin.
About the author:
Šarotar was born in the town of Murska Sobota in northeastern Slovenia. He studied sociology and philosophy at the University of Ljubljana. He has published several essays and columns in renowned Slovenian journals, such as Mladina, Nova revija, and Sodobnost. His best known novel is "Billiards at the Hotel Dobray" (Bilijard v Dobrayu), an account of the persecution of Jews in Murska Sobota at the end of the Second World War from the perspective of a Holocaust survivor returning from a concentration camp. The novel, first published in Slovene in 2007, is based on the story of Šarotar's own grandfather.
The End. And Again, by Dino Bauk
A roofless library in the middle of war-torn Bosnia, staffed by a mysterious woman who leads a young solider through hidden doorways. A businessman hiding from an angry mob of unpaid workers in a suitcase and a lonely divorcé who picks up a mysterious hitch-hiker, only to be lured by her into an unfamiliar forest. The End. And Again offers a beguiling, imaginative reworking of the history of the independence of Slovenia and the break-up of Yugoslavia through the eyes of its four main characters - like the line-up of a pop group – Peter, Goran, Denis and Mary. Their memories of the years when their interests revolved more around music and love than around the turbulent political situation that derailed their lives intersect with those of Denis, the only one of them to be enlisted and sent into battle. A lack of any meaningful resolution to their mutual story haunts them all and forces them to search for a different end(ing). (And) Again.
About the author:
Dino Bauk (1972) is a lawyer, former Head of Cabinet of the Minister of Education and columnist for the prominent Slovenian weekly Mladina. He wrote a few short stories before bursting onto the literary scene with his debut novel The End. And Again (Konec. Znova, 2015). The novel received the Best Debut Award the year it was published and was nominated for the Kresnik Award for best novel of the year. So far it has been translated into German and Croatian, the Serbian translation is forthcoming. Bauk is currently working on his second novel.
This event is supported by Istros Books, the Slovenia Book Agency, and the EU Cultural Fund.
Special Session of the OCCT Discussion Group
In a collaborative event with Queen’s Translation Exchange, Erin Mouré discusses an extract from her latest translation.
Bio: Erín Moure is a Canadian poet and translator of poetry from languages which include French, Galician, Portuguese and Spanish to English. She is the recipient of several awards.
Is ekphrasis a kind of translation? What kind of ekphrasis? Which sort of translation? What does a given writer’s approach to one tell us about the other? And why should we care? American poet and translator Peter Cole will talk about the complex dynamics at play behind these and related questions, as he reads from his recent work that takes up this subject directly.
Peter Cole is the author of five books of poems—most recently Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017)—and numerous volumes of translation from Hebrew and Arabic, medieval and modern. His many honors include an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Jewish National Book Award, PEN and TLS Prizes in Translation, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven, where he teaches at Yale each spring.
Special Session of the OCCT Discussion Group
Kyoko Yoshida discusses the translation and re-translation of Yoshimasu Gozo’s Alice Iris Red Horse (New Directions, 2016).
Bio: Kyoko Yoshida was born in Fukuoka in 1969, studied in Kyoto, and acquired her Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She writes fiction in English, translates contemporary experimental Japanese poetry and drama into English, and contemporary American fiction into Japanese, and teaches American Literature at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. Spectacle & Pigsty: Poetry by Kiwao Nomura (OmniDawn, 2011, with Forrest Gander) won the 2012 Best Translated Book Award in Poetry in the US and the 2012 Toson Memorial Rekitei Award in Japan.
Special Session of the Discussion Group
Conversation on Julia Caterina Hartley's Reading Dante and Proust by Analogy and Xiaofan Amy Lin's Comparative Encounters between Artaud, Michaux and the Zhuangzi: Rationality, Cosmology and Ethics.
Bios: Dr Xiaofan Amy Li is Lecturer in Comparative Cultural Studies at University College London. Prior to joining UCL, Amy was Junior Research Fellow in Comparative Literature & Translation at St Anne's College, Oxford, and then Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Kent. Amy's research spans comparisons and literary exchanges between France, China, and East Asia broadly speaking. Her publications include the monograph Comparative Encounters between Artaud, Michaux and the Zhuangzi (Legenda, 2015), and a co-authored book entitled Translation and Literature in East Asia: Between visibility and invisibility (Routledge, 2019).
Dr Julia Caterina Hartley completed her doctorate in Medieval & Modern Languages at the University of Oxford (2016). She is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick. Her latest book project analyses the representation of Iran and the reception of Persian literature in French-language poetry, essays, novels, travelogues, and performing arts in the long nineteenth century.