Authorial literary translation / La traduzione letteraria d’autore / La traduction littéraire d’auteur

deadline for submissions: 
October 20, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Poli-Femo Journal

Authorial literary translation 

            The study of any national literary system cannot exclude a comparative approach and an investigation into the function of translations. Our aim in this monographic issue is to study works translated by leading writers in international literary cultures (not exclusively European), and then analyse the role of these translations in the formation of supranational literary canons.

The leading writers of various literary traditions have in fact very often translated foreign works themselves by turning, on occasions, to translation as a fundamental practice for personal enrichment to creative and stylistic ends.

However widespread this practice may be, it has nevertheless been underrated and, despite the importance given to this phenomenon by a variety of scholars, up to now only a few isolated studies have been carried out on the subject.

Research has shown that there is a European (and not only) community of writers who, through the means of translation, now often share certain tones, structures, symbols and images. We will investigate how the practice of translation is echoed in the works of these writers, and we will try to define the network of interferences that have influenced their works and their national literary tradition.

In this sense, authorial translations have also shown themselves to be a useful way of enriching the literary target language, as it often acts as a response to a need for renewal, and this particular confrontation with the foreigner represents a phenomenon of fundamental importance which has led to interaction between literary traditions.

It is therefore our intention to analyse the practice of translation also as an essential step in the creative process.

Why and when does a writer decide to translate? Which authors or works do they choose to translate and why? What are the dynamics that arise between the writer and the translator? And, above all, how much remains of the translation in the writer’s subsequent work? What are its effects on the canon, culture and receiving language?

It is only by finding an answer to these questions that we will be able to explain the real connections between the individual national systems.

The topics that may be presented will take into consideration:

-       Translation of poetry. In order to understand how forms, styles, signs and meanings of one nation’s literature have influenced, through authorial translations, the different national poetical traditions. Studies may take into consideration, amongst others, Baudelaire, Chateaubriand, George, Leopardi, Mallarmé, Fenoglio, Montale, Nerval, Ungaretti, Goethe, Rilke, George.

-       Translations and the avantgarde.  Avantgarde writers have often turned to translating to overcome a technical impasse or to unearth a resource in the foreign work that can be used to renew their own literary tradition. Contributors could study the role that translating played for the authors of some important avantgarde movements (within a European context, but without necessarily being limited to it, we can think of the avantgarde in 1930’s Italy, or the “Generación del 27” in Spain with Guillén, Salinas and Alonso).

-       Translations and minority languages. Contributors could look at the role that the translation of works originally written in minority languages plays for authors of national literatures, as a resource for enriching national literary languages.

-       Translation and migration. A possible area of research could be contemporaneity, with reference to migrant authors, who are now an essential element of international literary culture.

-       Translations and images. Other potential areas of research could be the way some literary images travel from one nation to another through the translations of writer-translators, analysing their work also from the point of view of language reception and the effects of “the merging of horizons” on the receiving culture.

-       Novels translated by novelists. Contributors may wish to analyse the dynamics of interference and influence that the practice of translation has had on the communication of forms and structures typical of the tradition of the European novel (M. Yourcenar, reread in the light of translations by V. Woolf and H. James, as well as the effects Gide’s translations, from Goethe to Conrad, had on the French writer-translator’s own works). It is not expected, however, that contributors will limit their investigation only to the European literary tradition.

-       Theorists, writers, translators. In some cases theoretical reflections on translating have constantly accompanied the translations and “own” works of writer-translators. Contributors could look at the theoretical works of these authors, with the main focus on contemporaneity (Y. Bonnefoy, translator of Shakespeare, Petrarch and Leopardi; J. Risset, translator of Dante) or the past, in order to understand, through these reflections, further aspects inherent in authorial translation.

-       Authorial translations and the publishing market. We will also look at some of the dynamics of the market linked to the translations of writer-translators. We will analyse, for example, the reasons behind the creation of collections such as Poeti stranieri tradotti da poeti italiani (“Foreign poets translated by Italian poets”) (Scheiwiller), and Scrittori tradotti da scrittori (“Writers translated by writers”) (Einaudi). We will also analyse publishing promotions in a context of works translated  by writers.

Other proposals for study on the subject put forward by those intending to collaborate in the publication will be scrupulously examined by the Scientific Committee, in order to widen the field of exploration undertaken in this issue of the Journal. Proposals for contributions will be accepted in Italian, English and French.

To this end, the Editorial Board propose the following deadlines, with an essential preliminary step being the sending, to of an abstract (min. 10/max. 20 lines) and a short curriculum vitae of the proposer, by and absolutely no later than 20th October 2017. Authors will receive confirmation from the Editorial Board of acceptance of their contributions by 10th December 2017. Contributions shall be delivered on 31th March 2018. All contributions will be subject to a double blind peer review. The issue, edited by Prof. Paolo Proietti and Dr. Francesco Laurenti, will be published in June 2018.