9th Annual
Graduate Student Conference
German and Dutch
Graduate Student Association
(GDGSA)

Department of German
University of Wisconsin, Madison

March 23-24, 2007

Keynote Speaker: Michael Hofmann

Author and Translator, London / Gainesville

"'Jenseits von Worten'?:

Translation, Transfer, Transformation"

 

Chandrani Chatterjee (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India)
“Cultural Translation: From Orality to Print”

This paper proposes to discuss a few aspects of ‘Cultural Translation’, addressing the need for incorporating culture as part of Translation Studies. In thus widening the scope of translation we propose to discuss – a) The emergence of print culture and understand print as translation – translation of a technology from the West to the East which  necessitated a shift from the prevalent oral performative forms to those of the more rigid printed forms bound by certain generic rules in Bengal. b) This also led to the emergence of genres that tried to incorporate certain traits of the oral within the domain of the printed, thus violating the very idea of strict generic boundaries in Bengal.

Kyle Conway (Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
“When a ‘Société distincte’ Is Not a ‘Distinct Society’: Canada, News Translation, and Semantic Instability”

This paper describes the semantic instability that characterizes news translation by examining coverage of Canada’s failed Meech Lake Accord debates in 1990 by the English- and French-language television networks of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. As part of this accord, Canada’s Anglophone provinces agreed to recognize Québec as a “distinct society” or “société distincte.” Politicians worked to legitimate certain interpretations of these terms at the expense of others; journalists, by choosing how to cover the debates, shaped the terms’ meanings for their viewers so that, despite their apparent equivalence, they did not mean the same thing to Canada’s two principal linguistic groups.

Claire Doughty (Department of German, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
“The Literary Film: Language, Narrative, and History in Alexander Kluge’s ‘Die Patriotin’”

In Alexander Kluge’s film Die Patriotin, one must speak not of literary adaptation, or the “translation” of a literary to a cinematic text, but rather of a filmic practice built on literary principles. Dissatisfied with the image’s illusory and overly concrete reflection of reality, Kluge combines the visual concreteness of film with the conceptual abstraction of language in order to arrive at new means of representing the human experience of historical reality.  Aided by voice-over commentary, titles, and quotations, Kluge attempts to trigger the audience’s imaginative participation in the creation of meaning: the main goal, therefore, of the “translation” of literary principles into cinema is a further “translation” of those principles into the audience’s imaginative and critical faculties in a meditation on language, narrative, and history.

Andrew Erwin (Department of Germanic Studies, University of Chicago)
“‘Das Romantische selbst ist eine Ubersetzung’: The Poetics of Translation in Brentano’s
Godwi

The paper explores the way in which Brentano develops a poetics of translation in Godwi that theorizes the novel in relation to the Romantic. Brentano’s concept of the Romantic as translation will be related to Schlegel’s theory of the novel and Novalis’ philosophical fragments.

Elizabeth Hebbard (Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages, University of Georgia)
“A Universal Language? Translation and Cultural Imperialism in the Writings of Karl Vossler and Alphonse Daudet”

Early 20th century philologist Karl Vossler considered the art of translation to be a form of cultural imperialism, where the work of art is forcefully annexed by the target language community and occupied by an army of its own readers and scholars. Addressing Vossler’s views on the relationship between national-cultural identity and language, and considering the concepts of intertextuality, originality, and authorship, I will demonstrate that translation is instead a means of freeing ideas into the realm of universal knowledge.

Kris Imbrigotta (Department of German, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
“Brecht’s Fischweiber: Crossroads of Criticism and Transformation”

Bertolt Brecht transforms Friedrich Schiller’s Maria Stuart with his satirical adaptation of the Fischweiberszene (Scene of the Fishwives), forcing a link between two seemingly different worlds with one dramatic scene. It is with this transformation that two “canonical” authors in the German context take aim at one another in a dialogue of textual interplay and literary criticism. The Fischweiber adaptation recalls the crucial scene in Schiller’s play of power struggle and tragic recognition. This paper explores how the Brechtian adaptation re-situates this particular literary moment in history, and questions, in this case, the re-engagement of a text through the act of criticism as part of the process of translation and transfer.

Friederike Kaufel (Department of German, University of California, Irvine)
“Paradigmatic Mistranslations: Reclaiming the Oriental Fairytale in Rafik Schami’s
Erzähler der Nacht

This paper will explore in how far Schami’s novel Erzähler der Nacht can be read as an attempt to re-translate the Arab fairytale and thereby challenge the Orientalist paradigm from within.  Schami – who has repeatedly been criticized for feeding his into audiences’ expectation of the exotic – doubtlessly makes use of the Arab fairytale, yet his text includes certain stylistic inconsistencies and narrative ruptures that break with this form, introduces new associations while jarring the old ones and thereby invites his audience to rethink their Orientalist fantasies.

Joana Konova (Germanic Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago):
“‘Invisible Theatre’: Ekphrasis in Heinrich von Kleist’s The Broken Jug

Heinrich von Kleist’s comedy “The Broken Jug” recalls the original context and function of ekphrasis within the forensic tradition of Antiquity as it translates the past of a dubious event into the present of the theater, the invisible into the visible. I propose a reading of the play and in particular of the jug’s description that examines these processes of translation.

Yingjun Li (Department of Translation, Lingnan University, Hong Kong)
“Translation in Context. A Case Study of Evan King’s Translation of Lao She’s Luotuo Xiangzi (Camel Xiangzi)”

This paper focuses on an unfaithful translation of a famous Chinese novelist Lao She¡¯s novel Luotuo Xiangzi (Camel Xiangzi) by Evan King, a best-seller in 1946. It intends to clarify the social and cultural backgrounds that have influenced the translation and the acceptance of this novel among the general readership. This detailed examination of Evan King¡¯s translation provides a tool to dig into the intricacies of cultural receptions which are conditioned by historic tradition, ideology and immediate political environment, among many others.

Ian E. Morgan (Department of German Studies, Stanford University)
“Translating the Poetry of Gottfried Benn”

Translating the Poetry of Gottfried Benn: Does the particularity of the cultural, linguistic, historical and poetic framework surrounding Gottfried Benn’s poetry make it perhaps untranslatable? This paper will take a closer look at Benn’s poetry – in original and translation – in light of some translation theories.

Stephen P. Naumann (Department of German Studies, Michigan State University)
“The Term
Deutsch: Historical Background, Translations and Perspectives”

Have you ever wondered why the English, French, and Spanish are known across dozens of European languages by essentially the same name, while the translations of ‘deutsch’ are anything but uniform? By examining the origins of the Germans' name and then contrasting the various names among their current European neighbors, this discussion will treat the German identity from a linguistic angle.

Andrea Rota (Università degli Studie di Trento and Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Italy)
“‘Mein Standort ist in dieser “neuen” Zeit zu unbestimmt, um ihn in Worte fassen zu können.’ Sprachkrise, Sprachlosigkeit und Wendeliteratur”

Schwerpunkt des Vortrags ist die Korrelation zwischen dem Zusammenbruch der DDR und der erzählerischen Ausdruckskrise, die einige in der DDR aufgewachsene u. dort schon tätige Autoren nach der Wende thematisieren.
Ab 1990 wird die literarische Beziehung zwischen Wörtern, Begriffen und Alltagswahrnehmungen problematischer als sonst: bei manchen Ost-Schriftstellern scheint die Sprache des wiedervereinigten Deutschlands, keine Adhärenz mehr in Bezug auf ihre Lebenserfahrungen und -auffassungen zu besitzen.
Am Beispiel von Christa Wolfs u. Kurt Drawerts Sprachreflexion wird die Problematisierung des Wort- und Erzählvermögens als eine Phase vom literarischen Aufarbeitungsprozess des Heimatverlusts interpretiert.

Shafiq Shamel (Department of German Studies, Stanford University)
“Persian Ear Rings: Transformation and Fidelity in Hammer-Purgstall’s Translation of a Ghazal by Hafiz”

This paper shows how the analysis of works of literary translation could go beyond the conventional notion of ‘fidelity’.  It discusses the translation of a Persian poem into German against the backdrop of the notions or concepts of ‘transformation’, ‘fidelity’, and the ‘mode of signification’.  It argues that translation involves not only the transfer but also the transformation of the ‘original’.  In addition, this paper elucidates how the practice of translation affects the language and literary conventions of the translator and increases the expressivity of his language.

Christian Weber (Freie Universität Berlin)
“‘Die Übersetzung ist durchaus individuell, das heißt in meinem Sinn: sie lebt.’ Die literarische Übersetzung bei Max Kommerell”

Der Literaturwissenschaftler und Schriftsteller Max Kommerell (1902-1944) nimmt eine programmatische Rolle in der Geschichte der literarischen Übersetzungen in Deutschland ein, da er mit den Übertragungen von Calderón de la Barcas 'El mágico prodigioso' (Der wundertätige Magus, 1936), 'La vida es sueño' (Das Leben ist Traum, 1944) und 'La hija del aire' (Die Tochter der Luft, 1944) eine Erneuerung des symbolischen Theaters im Medium des Verses fordert und damit einen Gegenentwurf zur NS-Germanistik vorlegt. Die Hinwendung zum Spanien des 17. Jahrhunderts belegt sein künstlerisches Selbstverständnis der Aneignung aller Fremdartigkeit im Zeichen der literarischen Transformation.

Tessa Wegener, (Department of German, Georgetown University)
“Translating Narration, Language and Perception:  Volker Schlöndorff’s
Young Törleß and Robert Musil’s The Confusions of Young Törleß

In his 1906 modernist novel, The Confusions of Young Törleß, Robert Musil implements metaphoric language and shifts between external and internal narrative focalization to create a gap between language and perception within his young protagonist, Törleß.  My paper explores how this narrative structure, these shifts in focalization and the metaphoric language are ‘translated’ in Volker Schlöndorff’s 1966 filmic adaptation of Young Törleß.  I intend to show how Schlöndorff transfers the novelistic form of metaphoric vision into the filmic form of vision by implementing mise-en-scene, diegetic sound and montage, thus maintaining the tension between language and perception found in Musil’s novel.

Lynn Wolff (Department of German, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
“‘The Solitary Mallard’: Translating and Creating W.G. Sebald’s Melancholy”

This paper delineates the multiple levels of translation—metaphorical, inter- and intratextual—in the works of W.G. Sebald. Specific examples from the English and French translations of his works will demonstrate the challenges of translating Sebald’s particular “melancholic” tone, raising questions of imitation and creation, fidelity and license.

 

Questions about the conference, or problems with this website should be addressed to: Lynn Wolff llwolff@wisc.edu

Questions regarding travel and accommodation should be addressed to: Helena Ruf htrahder@wisc.edu

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Confirmed Participants (Alphabetically) and Paper Summaries

Conference Program

Friday March 23, 2007

Welcome and Registration, 3 pm, followed by the Keynote Lecture at 3:30 pm
L150 in the Chazen Museum of Art/Elvejhem Building
800 University Ave

3:45-5:00          Keynote Lecture

Michael Hofmann (London/University of Florida)
“Translating Franz Kafka: One Way to Skin a Cat”

 

Coffee break and first panel of conference to follow at 5 pm
Memorial Union "Old Madison" Room
800 Langdon St.

5:30-7:30          Panel I. Theory, Practice, and Poetics of Translation
                       Moderator: Steve Krause

Elizabeth Hebbard (Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages, University of Georgia)
A Universal Language? Translation and Cultural Imperialism in the Writings of Karl Vossler and Alphonse Daudet

Ian E. Morgan (Department of German Studies, Stanford University)
Translating the Poetry of Gottfried Benn

Andrew Erwin (Department of Germanic Studies, The University of Chicago)
“Das Romantische selbst ist eine Übersetzung”: The Poetics of Translation in Brentano’s Godwi

Christian Weber (Freie Universität Berlin)
“Die Übersetzung ist durchaus individuell, das heißt in meinem Sinn: sie lebt.” Die literarische Übersetzung bei Max Kommerell

8:00 Conference Dinner at Gino's

 

Saturday March 24, 2007

8:30-9:00          Light Breakfast
9:00-10:30         Panel II. Testing the Limits of Language: Fidelity, (Re)Translation, Creation
                        Moderator: Claire Doughty

Andrea Rota (Università degli Studi di Trento and Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Italy)
“Mein Standort ist in dieser ‘neuen’ Zeit zu unbestimmt, um ihn in Worte fassen zu können.” Literarische Sprachreflexionen nach der Wende, am Beispiel von Christa Wolf und Kurt Drawert

Shafiq Shamel (Department of German Studies, Stanford University)
Persian Ear Rings: Transformation and Fidelity in Hammer-Purgstall’s Translation of a Ghazal by Hafiz

Lynn Wolff (Department of German, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
The “Solitary Mallard”: Translating and Creating W.G. Sebald’s Melancholy

 

10:30-11:00        Coffee break
11:00-12:30        Panel III. Cultural Translation – Translating Culture
                        Moderator: Gideon Stanton

Chandrani Chatterjee (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India)
Cultural Translation: From Orality to Print

Friederike Kaufel (Department of German, University of California, Irvine)
Paradigmatic Mistranslations: Reclaiming the Oriental Fairytale in Rafik Schami’s Erzähler der Nacht

Yingjun Li (Department of Translation, Lingnan University, Hong Kong)
Translation in Context. A Case Study of Evan King’s Translation of Lao She’s Luotuo Xiangzi (Camel Xiangzi)

 
12:30-2:00         Lunch
 2:00-3:30          Panel IV. Transdiscursive / Transmedial Translation
                        Moderator:  Jack Davis

Joana Konova (Department of Germanic Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago)
“Invisible Theatre”: Ekphrasis in Heinrich von Kleist’s The Broken Jug

Tessa Wegener (Department of German, Georgetown University)
Translating Narration, Language and Perception: Volker Schlöndorff’s Young Törleß and Robert Musil’s The Confusions of Young Törleß

Claire Doughty (Department of German, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
The Literary Film: Language, Narrative, and History in Alexander Kluge’s “Die Patriotin”

 

3:30-4:00          Coffee break
 4:00-5:30          Panel V. Metaphorical Translation: Historicization, Interpretation, Transformation
                        Moderator: Helena Ruf

Stephen Naumann (Department of Linguistics and Languages, German Studies Program, Michigan State University)
Names for a Nation: Europe Translates Deutsch

Kyle Conway (Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
When a “Société distincte” Is Not a “Distinct Society”: Canada, News Translation, and Semantic Instability

Kris Imbrigotta (Department of German, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Brecht’s Fischweiber: Crossroads of Criticism and Transformation

5:30                  Closing Remarks, Julie Larson-Guenette
7:00                  Post-Conference Reception

 

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Conference co-sponsored by the Departments of German, Comparative Literature, English, Slavic, and made possible with the generous support of the Global Studies Program, the Center for German and European Studies, the Anonymous Fund, and the Robert Bosch Foundation.