Translation and Relocation: Literary Encounters East and West

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Michael Bryson / California State University, Northridge
contact email: 

Call for Papers

In Comparative Literature, the increasingly contested field of “World Literature”, and Translation Studies, the notion of the “untranslatability” of literature has gained purchase in recent years, due in part to the work of Emily Apter and the continual rediscoveries of the work of Walter Benjamin. Literary translation is conceived of, in one view, as impossible, and in another view as an activity (even an art form) with infinite possibilities for the translator but minimal responsibilities toward that which is being translated.

In a larger sense, to “translate” a text (after the sense of the Latin translatio) is to relocate it, to move it from one context to another, almost in the sense of the German Aufheben—to leave behind and bring along. In this sense, scholarly translations of poetry and prose from one language into another are analogous (though not identical) to artistic projects in which authors who work in different languages, times, and contexts, relocate and rewrite/rework/reform/reinhabit each other’s texts.

But in the final analysis, translatio exists in two forms which are, though related, crucially different. The translator and the relocator have two different purviews: one to (re)present a text as best as one can in a different language, time, and context; the other to (re)turn to the themes, images, aspirations, conflicts, desires, and expressions of a different language, time, and place, and render them new again. The scholar who translates Chinese poetry into English, and the poet who relocates Latin poetry into Arabic are each pursuing important, though crucially different tasks.

This Special Issue of the journal Humanities invites contributions that address one, or the other, or both of these fundamental forms of translatio: the translation and the relocation of poetry and prose from one context to another, including contexts of language, time, culture, and issues of identity and embodiment.

Deadline for completed papers (5000–10,000 words): 1 July 2020

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form and select the special issue "Translation and Relocation: Literary Encounters East and West," from the drop-down menu, then choose "article" from the next drop-down menu. Submit your title and abstract in the spaces made avaiable below the drop-down menus. Then provide keywords, the number of pages, and the number of authors, check the required checkbox below, and then click the button to proceed to the next step, where you will upload your manuscript. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. 

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


The editor of this special issue, Michael Bryson, is Professor of English at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of four books to date:

The Humanist (Re)Turn: Reclaiming the Self in Literature (New York: Routledge, 2019)
Love and its Critics: From the Song of Songs to Shakespeare and Milton’s Eden (Cambridge: Open Book, 2017)
The Atheist Milton (Ashgate Press, 2012, Reprinted by Routledge, 2016)
The Tyranny of Heaven: Milton’s Rejection of God as King (U. Delaware Press, 2004)

More information about the editor can be found here: