Shakespearean Translations – Translating Shakespeare

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Shakespeare Seminar 2019

It is a critical commonplace that Shakespeare in many ways relied on and produced various forms of translations – translations of foreign words, translations of literary texts, translations from one medium into another, to name but a few. Over time, Shakespeare’s works themselves have become some of the most widely translated texts in world literature. As of today, his works have been translated into more than 100 languages. Moreover, his plays and poems have travelled across time and space, and they have been re-translated time and again in order to adapt them for contemporary audiences. More often than not, such translations also raise questions about the original works and their socio-cultural as well as literary contexts. Increasingly, translation is regarded not so much as a simple process of linguistic transfer but rather as a form of rewriting. Heinrich Heine once claimed that Shakespeare was a German author. Of course, Heine knew about Shakespeare’s birthplace, but his contention was that the true greatness of Shakespeare only fully emerges in translation. Such views, whether one approves of them or not, have also led to a revaluation of the work of the translator. Instead of celebrating Shakespeare’s originality it has become possible to value him as an ingenious translator (or condemn him as a plagiarist) of well-known materials.

This year’s Shakespeare-Seminar seeks to address the manifold questions that are raised by intercultural and transhistorical translations as well as by Shakespeare’s own role as translator. Topics may include, but are not restricted to

  • The significance of translation, adaptation, and appropriation for and in Shakespeare
  • Adaptations and appropriations of Shakespeare's works in different times and places
  • Shakespeare and his sources
  • Shakespeare and his audiences
  • (Inter-)Medial translations
  • Transnational Shakespeare
  • Travelling players
  • Comparative approaches to Shakespeare translations
  • The role of the translator(s)

Our seminar plans to address these issues with a panel of six papers during the annual conference of the German Shakespeare Association, Shakespeare-Tage (26.–28. April 2019 in Weimar, Germany). As critical input for the discussion and provocation for debate, we invite papers of no more than 15 minutes that present concrete case studies, concise examples and strong views on the topic. Please send your proposals (abstracts of 300 words) by 30 November 2018 to the seminar convenors:

Lukas Lammers, Free University Berlin:  

Kirsten Sandrock, University of Göttingen:

The Seminar provides a forum for established as well as young scholars to discuss texts and contexts. Participants of the seminar will subsequently be invited to submit (extended versions of) their papers for publication in Shakespeare Seminar Online (SSO). While we cannot offer travel bursaries, the association will arrange for the accommodation of all participants in a hotel close to the main venues. For more information please contact Kirsten Sandrock and Lukas Lammers. For more information about the events and publications also see: