‘The Translation Memoir’ - CfP for Special Issue of Life Writing (Routledge)

deadline for submissions: 
January 14, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Delphine Grass/Lancaster University, Lily Robert-Foley / Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3

CfP for Special Issue of Life Writing (Routledge)

‘The Translation Memoir’


The translation memoir can be defined as a reflexive writing practice on the personal and political intersection between writing and translation.Translation memoirs use writing to explore the practice of translation and continue translation’s creative and critical work in different forms. Recent years have seen a boom in the publications of translation memoirs and essays, with authors in the genre encompassing translators such as Kate Briggs (2017), Mireille Gansel (2012), Corinna Gepner (2019), Gregory Rabassa (2005) and Jennifer Croft (2019).  These have engaged creative-critical reflections on the affective, political and transcultural work of translating literary texts, questioning the literary conventions which separate reading and writing, writing and translation. The translation memoir has also participated in a wider postmodern philosophical shift in the rethinking of identity and autobiography [Karpinsky 2012], engaging a form of authorial self-retrieval from within the dominant identity discourses of authorship, nationality, gender and the self. By highlighting the fluidity of national and cultural identities [Jhumpa Lahiri 2016], translation memoirs investigate otherness from the perspective of translation, interrogating the limits of national and gender narratives through the practice of rewriting the text and the self in other languages. Outside of the translation memoir as defined above, explorations of the relationship between translation and autobiographical memory, translation and the archive can also be found in works such as Anne Carson’s Nox for example, or in the creative-critical practice of Clive Scott. These engage in a wider reflection on the relationship between translation and memory, translation and the survival of the text. Participants are invited to send proposals for articles which explore any aspect of the translation memoir as a creative and philosophical investigation of translation through life writing. As well as analysing the translation memoir as a form of self-authorization of the translator as writer, participants are invited to reflect more widely on the impact of the translation memoir on the fields of translation and translator studies, philosophy, history and life writing. Does the translation memoir invite us to expand the definitions of what we consider a translation?  What new forms of writing can emerge from rethinking the self in relation to translation? How does the translation memoir bring to the fore and narrate the cultural differences and power differentials with which the work of translation must often contend? What sets the translation memoir apart from other memoirs? What sets the translation memoir apart from translator autobiographies? What translation theories, what forms of literary criticism have paved the way for the boom in translation-memoir writing we are witnessing today?  

Please email your abstracts to Dr. Delphine Grass d.grass@lancaster.ac.uk and Dr. Lily Robert-Foley lily.robert-foley@univ-montp3.fr with ‘Translation Memoir Abstract’ as subject heading. Deadline for Abstracts: January 14th, 2022. Deadline for completed manuscripts: April 15th, 2022.