A seminar at the ESRA conference
Conveners: Lily Kahn (UCL), firstname.lastname@example.org
Márta Minier (University of South Wales), email@example.com
Martin Regal (University of Iceland), firstname.lastname@example.org
The longevity of Shakespearean translations is generally somewhat limited. Although some canonical translations have a relatively long life as literary works and/or in the theatre, it is common for Shakespeare to be retranslated periodically. Within Europe there is a widespread phenomenon of systematic series of (re)translations of Shakespeare’s complete works; in recent years this trend has given rise to the WSOY Finnish Complete Works, completed in 2013, the new Polish Complete Works, the New Romanian Shakespeare series, and others. In addition, specially commissioned individual retranslations designed for specific productions are a common feature of the European theatrical scene. Examination of the rich variety of issues surrounding this phenomenon of retranslation in the European context can provide valuable insights into the theory and practice of Shakespearean interpretation.
This proposed seminar will bring together scholars, editors and practising translators engaged in the production and analysis of Shakespearean translations. It will also be open to dramaturges or directors who would like to comment on working with new or revised (that is, dramaturgically adjusted) translations. Proposals will be welcomed on topics including but not limited to the following:
- factors galvanising the decision to produce new translations, including philological and interpretive shifts, changing conventions of theatre, and the emergence of new performance and directorial styles;
- the collaborative framework behind commissioned translations and the relationship between the translator and other stakeholders;
- societal perceptions of the modern Shakespeare translator; trends in the selection of different translation strategies (e.g. foreignising vs. domesticating);
- comparisons between alternative translations of the ‘same’ play (both synchronically and diachronically);
- different translations of a single play by the same translator; the use of updated and otherwise modified versions of existing translations in new productions instead of commissioning completely original work;
- the critical reception of new translations both in textual format and in theatrical contexts.
We will consider papers focusing on academic translation series not necessarily intended for performance in addition to those specifically commissioned or designed for theatrical use that may not be as suitable for employment in educational contexts.
Please submit an abstract (200-300 words) and a brief biography (150 words) by 1 December 2014 to all seminar conveners. All participants will be notified about the acceptance of their proposals by 1 March 2015. The deadline for submitting the completed seminar papers (3,000 words) is 1 May 2015.
The traffic of Shakespeare’s stage invites spectators and readers to travel to different places, imagined and real. Italian and French cities – Verona, Venice, Mantua, Padua, Florence, Milan, Rome, Navarre, Roussillon, Paris, Marseilles – set the scenes of his plays. Rome, Athens, Ephesus and Troy occasion travels in time. On Britain’s map – divided in King Lear – other places are mapped: Scotland, England, Windsor, the Forest of Arden, York. Viola arrives on ‘the shore’ of Illyria while, in The Winter’s Tale, the action shifts between Bohemia and Sicilia. Othello sets up camp in Cyprus and Don Pedro returns, victorious, to Messina. Within the confines of one play, Hamlet, too, maps Europe: from Elsinore, Laertes requests permission to return to France; the Mousetrap is set in Vienna, which will become the setting for Measure for Measure; Hamlet is sent to England, and on his way encounters the Norwegian army marching across Denmark on its way to Poland.
Time and geographical travels map a whole continent and its social, political and cultural exchanges – a feature that Shakespeare’s plays shared with his early modern contemporaries as much as they have with his readers, editors, translators, spectators, film adaptors and critical commentators since.
The 2015 ESRA conference continues the long-standing dialogue between Shakespeare’s Europe and Europe’s Shakespeare(s). It asks scholars to take a look at the wider playwriting context of the early modern period and the European reception of Shakespeare as a subject that has been continuously developing, not least due to Europe’s several recent remappings. Twenty-five years since the first events that focused exclusively on European Shakespeares (Antwerp 1990) and Shakespeare in the New Europe (Sofia 1992), ESRA 2015 invites a look back at 425 years of European Shakespeare and towards a vigorous debate on what Shakespeare means for Europe today, as well as on ESRA’s place in Shakespeare Studies, European and beyond.