Research events play an important role in our active research culture. Academic staff from the University and other institutions come together with students to share and debate the latest ideas and developments.

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3 October 201815:30

Unusual Chinese Film Festivals: Unusual Sites of Translation

In November 2017, I was on the jury of the Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, which are part of the Golden Horse Film Festival. This summer (2018), I am on the jury of the DC Chinese Film Festival. In this talk, I will use these experiences to reflect further on the idea of film festivals as “sites of translation” developed with colleagues in an AHRC-funded research network a couple of years back and which result in the eponymous book co-edited with Luke Robinson. How do these festivals translate foreign cinema into Chinese-language contexts and vice versa? How do they translate the concepts and practices of film festival cultures into their local environment? The Golden Horse is an unusual amalgam of industry awards and film festival – why has this combination worked in the Taiwanese context? And the DC Chinese Film Festival is an independent event not sponsored by the Chinese government – why have the organisers wanted to set it up and been willing to sacrifice so much free labour to sustain it?. Full details
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4 October 201817:30

Portraiture and Risk

Portraiture tends to be regarded as a conservative genre, its purposes being to reinforce the status quo, consolidate power and mitigate absence or death. Conversely this lecture considers ways in which portraits can disrupt social and aesthetic norms even within pre-modern systems of patronage. Risk-taking by sitters and artists is explored through a range of portraits, primarily from eighteenth-century France. At this time of Enlightenment the emergence of capitalist society coincided with new philosophical ideas on human agency. Full details
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17 October 201815:30

The Reception of Oscar Wilde in Spain through Theatre Performances in Spanish Translation

This lecture will focus on the reception of Wilde’s dramatic production in Spain at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – the two periods in which the stage reception of his creative work was at its richest. Wilde’s plays were first introduced through the translations and theatre productions by Ricardo Baeza, an influential figure in the literary and theatrical circles of the time. The reviews of those early performances, together with Baeza’s translations, provide insight into the factors that triggered the performance history of Wilde in Spain and determined his continuous presence in the country’s theatre repertories. The centenary of Wilde’s death in 2000 sparked a renewed interest in the writer’s work in general, which could also be seen in the country’s theatres; so, in the second part of the lecture, we will turn our attention to productions in the 1990s and early twenty-first century. The analysis of those earliest and latest Spanish performances will hopefully throw light on the reception of Wilde in translation and on his contribution to the theatre world in Spain.. Full details
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14 November 201815:30

Bilingual Autobiography

Linguist Ofelia Garcia proposes the term ‘translanguaging’ to refer to a ‘dynamic bilingualism’ that ‘is centred, not on languages as has often been the case, but on the practices of bilinguals that are readily observable in order to make sense of their multilingual worlds’. In this paper, I examine Kim Thúy’s practice of translanguaging in her 2013 text Mãn. In this text, Francophone Vietnamese writer Thúy blends French and Vietnamese to create a dynamic, plurilingual idiom. I focus on three narrative strategies that Thúy develops: her bilingual inscriptions in the margins of each page, her frequent citations of Vietnamese with no accompanying translation and her creation of words and expressions that meld the two languages to create plurilingual neologisms. Taken together, these strategies move her text beyond the blending of two discreet languages to the invention of a new form of communicating subjectivity in transit. Full details
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28 November 201815:30

Translating Research Cultures: the French Social Sciences and Humanities in English

This talk will explore the challenges and broader implications of translating between two academic research cultures, specifically translating the French social sciences and humanities into English. French academics are under increasing pressure to use English as a lingua franca, creating substantial demand for specialist academic translations. In this field, the cultural mediation required of translators is very specific in nature. It involves producing texts for multiple readers — the original authors, but also other audiences such as peer reviewers, funding committees, journal editors, and the national and international academic community. The competing expectations generated by this situation seem to require incompatible degrees of domestication and the translator plays a complex role in this cultural transaction, compounded by a form of “invisibility” partly intrinsic to the academic framework. In this context, it is also interesting to ask what this negotiation process can tell us about the research cultures in question. What can we learn from the points of resistance encountered when navigating between the norms, values, and assumptions of two radically different epistemological traditions and, more broadly, what are the potential consequences and/or losses inherent to the hegemony of the English language in the academic world?. Full details
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29 November 201817:30

Clandestine Correspondence at Court

During over 20 years Marie Antoinette exchanged notes and letters with the Imperial Ambassador to France, count Mercy. Was she a naive puppet of the Habsburgs, betraying French secrets? Is there any foundation to the accusations of political scheming made at her trial? The more than 100 letters and notes, many of them unpublished, which she wrote to the diplomat during her time in Versailles and at the Tuileries give answers to these and to many other questions. Catriona Seth was appointed to the Marshal Foch Chair at Oxford three years ago after a career spent in France. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and a membre associé of the Académie Royale de Belgique. She has worked extensively on French literature, editing Les Liaisons dangereuses and the works of Germaine de Staël for the Pléiade. She has published autobiographical texts by women along with a book-length study of inoculation and an intellectual biography of the poet Parny.. Full details
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12 December 201815:30

Connected Keywords in Early Modern France

This round table brings together four specialists in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century French literature and culture working in the south-west, Rowan Tomlinson (University of Bristol) with Exeter's Helena Taylor, Adam Horsley, and Hugh Roberts. We shall present a methodology of relevance to other time periods and languages, namely word history as a means of exploring contested areas of social and cultural history. We shall pay close attention to keywords that were not fully determined and that could thereby become the focus of ideological debates as various parties sought to define them for their own purposes.. Full details
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23 January 201915:30

ML Work in progress

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6 February 201915:30

Flying Saucers in Italy: The Italian case towards a global history of science fiction

The speaker: Dr Giulia Iannuzzi (Università di Trieste) studies science fiction in a historical and comparative perspective, history of publishing, and new media. Her two latest books – Fantascienza italiana: Riviste, autori, dibattiti, dagli anni Cinquanta agli anni Settanta (Milan: Mimesis, 2014) and Distopie, viaggi spaziali, allucinazioni: Fantascienza italiana contemporanea (Milan: Mimesis, 2015) – are the essential reference for any study of science fiction in Italy. The event: Science fiction as a genre with its easily recognizable repertoire of themes and tropes is a unique vantage point from which to observe the functioning of a trans-national literary production. Building on the increasing attention to non-English traditions as well as to the idea of global or world science fiction that Science Fiction Studies have experienced in recent years, this seminar will offer an overview of the translation phenomenon in Italy. A brief outline of long-term trends, and quantitative evidence in 20th-century series will be the starting point to critically assess the agency of publishers and translators in shaping ideas of genre, brought to light in publication choices, and in the adaptation of original texts by means of paratexts and translation choices. The close reading of a selection of cases will help illustrating a complex series of motives at work behind a vast range of domestication practices: from the adaptation to a readership different from the original one, to issues of cost and seriality that often took precedence over artistic considerations. The history of science fiction translations in Italy aptly emblematizes wider-reaching cultural processes, from changes in segments of readership, to the shifting connections with other linguistic areas.. Full details
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20 February 201915:30

Film-making on the left

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6 March 201915:30

American Poetry and French theory

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20 March 201915:30

Science in the Vernacular: Translating Galileo

The speaker – Mark Davie, formerly Head of Modern Languages at Exeter and Italian editor of the Modern Language Review, is the translator, with William R. Shea, of Galileo’s Selected Writings (Oxford World’s Classics, 2012). An Honorary Fellow at Exeter, he is currently working on a complete translation of Galileo’s Dialogue, his argument in support of the Copernican model of the universe, also for Oxford World’s Classics. The event – Galileo’s reputation as a leading intellectual figure in Europe was established by his short book Sidereus nuncius, describing his observation of the heavens using the newly invented telescope, written in Latin and published in Venice in 1610. In the same year he resigned his university chair at Padua and accepted the patronage of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, moving to Florence where he remained for the rest of his life. From this point onwards all his major works were written in Italian, i.e. Tuscan, vernacular. With his decision to abandon Latin in favour of the vernacular Galileo effectively translated scientific discourse from the academic world to a princely court. Mark’s paper will consider Galileo’s reasons for making this change, its consequences for scientific writing in a modern European language, and the challenges it presents to a translator of Galileo into modern English.. Full details
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8 May 201915:30

Research Groups in ML session

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22 May 201915:30

Revisiting the re-translation hypothesis. Translation defaults, textual time and kairos.

The re-translation hypothesis – the idea that there is teleological improvement from one translation of a source text to the next – has been largely discredited since it was first put forward by Antoine Berman and Paul Bensimon in 1990. But Berman’s own translational practice and reflection in L’Âge de la Traduction, his 180-page commentary on Walter Benjamin’s ‘Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers’, may allow the hypothesis to be recast. Berman’s commentary reflects upon Benjamin’s German text and on Maurice de Gandillac’s French translation thereof. Berman thinks and re-translates Benjamin, to a significant degree, through Gandillac. He acknowledges longstanding criticisms of Gandillac’s translation (then the only existing translation) but argues that French readers should nonetheless acknowledge the ‘gift’ that Gandillac made them in the sixties when he introduced Benjamin’s texts into France. The many revisions to Gandillac’s translation that were made both by the translator himself and by subsequent editors point to the complexity of Benjamin’s text and the humility of the translator in the face of this complexity. It is against this background that Berman’s introduction of the concept of the translational défaillance should be understood, his rendering of the term Versagung, borrowed from Freud, a term that I will render as “default”. Defaults are not errors or failings but point to nodes of textual resistance; they are an inevitable part of the translation process. I will show, via my own English translation of L’Âge de la Traduction, how the concept of the “default”, coupled with Berman’s reflections on textual time and kairos, may help us re-think the re-translation hypothesis, situating re-translation as a dialogic, collaborative process of mothering – in the sense of birthing – a text. Full details
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5 June 201915:30

Work in Progress (2)

ML staff and pgr present work in progress. Full details
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