Bilingualism and Translation Panel. Submission Deadline: April 14, 2010
As early as 1969, George Steiner 's essay "Extraterritorial" challenged Nabokov scholars to define how subcurrents of Nabokov's Russian affect his English: "We need really detailed study of the quality and degree of pressure which Russian puts on Nabokov's Anglo-American. How often are his English sentences "metatranslations" of Russian? To what extent do Russian semantic associations initiate the images and contour of the English phrase?"
This question raises other questions both in relation to contemporary writers who have complex backgrounds and who write into an increasingly globalized context, as well as in relation to writers from older generations and previous centuries who, though bilingual, were perceived as monolingual because they chose to write in just one language. Such writers include the nineteenth-century Russian greats who all happened to be bilingual Francophones; the Anglophone and Francophone writers of various diasporas; writers like James Joyce who translated his Finnegan's Wake into Italian, or Salman Rushdie who speaks several languages; Russian writers of the Silver Age – Pasternak, Tsvetaeva, Khodasevich, Mandelstam – all fluent in other languages and all practicing literary translators; Native American writers; and the immigrant writers who have become such a feature of Germany's literary life over the past thirty years. In short, writers who know or work with more than one language or come from more than one culture and whose writing is affected by this "other" presence. Should we revise our reading and translation of these authors to take into account this multicultural, multilingual presence?
This panel attempts to bridge creative writing and literary translation as creative practices by asking a number of questions about the works and self-translation of bilingual authors. ("Bilingual" here is understood broadly as fluency, not necessarily native, in more than one language.)
• Are bilingual authors' texts in any way different from those written by monolingual authors?
• How is translation of a bilingual author's texts different from translation of texts written by monolingual authors?
• How does such difference, if proven to be significant, affect the readership of bilingual writers?
• Which challenges does the translator face when translating texts written in more than one language and which solutions might present themselves?
• What might bilingual writers' works and their translation of their own works imply for practitioners of literary translation?
Please send abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org and include:
* your name(s), title(s), and academic or institutional affiliation
* presentation title
* an abstract (maximum 300 words)
Abstracts submission deadline: April 15, 2010