The Media of Translation / Translation between Media

20 March 2009 - 21 March 2009

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Seminar room


Online Registration for this Conference is now closed. 


British Comparative Literature Association Graduate Conference in association with the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities


Keynote speakers:

Prof Clive Scott        (University of East Anglia)
Prof Mary Jacobus (CRASSH, University of Cambridge)


This conference will bring together two ways of thinking about translation: translation between languages, and intermedial ‘translations’ across music, visual arts, literature, live performance and screen media. The commonplace attitude is that, while not perfect, acts of translation attempt to convey the meaning of a work in its original language. By bringing translation studies alongside intermedia research, which is primarily concerned with the capacity (or incapacity) of expression to transcend its materials, we hope to bring the assumptions that underpin this attitude to the surface. At the same time, by bringing the concept of translation to bear on intermedia research, we hope to move beyond the notion that intermedia transference is, at best, a far-fetched ‘analogy’, and ask whether the idealist dimension of translation is part of a more universal condition for thinking about the relationship between different cultural-material practices.

We will consider two parallel sets of questions:   

1       Do (or should) we treat different languages as separate mediums? Should we think of translation as a coming to terms with, rather than the transcendence of the material conditions of languages? To what extent can we conceive of translation as an intermedial pursuit? 


2         When one medium aspires to the condition of another or when it adapts a specific instance of another, do we call this ‘translation’? If so, what is it that gets translated? Could we call it a ‘meaning’, or is it perhaps an ‘affect’?




This leads to the overarching question: do translation studies and intermedia research share a common hermeneutical predicament?


Keywords:  comparative literature, translation studies, the theory of intermediality, materiality, hermeneutics, semantics, affect, fidelity.


Free event.  All welcome however Registration is required.  To book a place, please click the link Online Registration (right hand of this page)
Deadline for Registration: Monday 16 March 09, 12.00 noon 


All inquiries and abstracts to:


For administrative  inquiries  please contact








Friday 20 March  

12.00 - 12.45


12.45 - 13.00

Welcome and Introduction
Dame Gillian Beer and Conveners 

13.00 - 15.00

Visual Arts and Literature
Chair: Sylvia Karastathi  (University of Cambridge)

Is Photography an Art?’: Virginia Woolf on painting, photography and Russian writers
Darya Protopopova (New College, University of Oxford)

The Art of Doodle
Mariya Ustymenko  (Dept of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex)

Dino Buzzati and Arthur Rackham: an intermedial and intercultural relationship
Valentina Polcini (Dept of Modern Languages, University of Exeter)

Samuel Beckett: identity as art object
Georgina Guy (English Dept, King’s College London)  

15.00 - 15.20 

Tea & Coffee Break

15.20 - 16.50

Poetry and Music
Chair: Michael Hurley  (University of Cambridge)

Rhythm as medium: a psychosomatic approach to the translation of formal poetry
Antoinette Fawcett (School of Literature and Creative Writing, University of East Anglia)

'Rather like, or unlike... a fugue': analogy or translation for The Music of Poetry
Katherine Firth (English, Oxford Brookes University)

Revealing the Secrets of the Ayan: drum poems from the Akyem Kingdom of Ghana
Nana Oforiatta-Ayim (Dept of African Languages & Cultures, School of Oriental & African Studies) 

16.50 - 17.00


17.00 - 18.20

Plenary I

Intermediality and Synaesthesia: literary translation as centrifugal Practice
Prof. Clive Scott
  (University of East Anglia)






Saturday 21 March  

9.30 - 11.00

Performance and Translation
Chair: Julian Daniel Gutierrez-Albilla (Newcastle)

Poetic Gestures, Modernist Choreographies
Cecile Guédon (London Consortium, Birkbeck College)  

Translating Performance: Electra cha-cha-cha?
Kate Eaton (School of English and Drama, Queen Mary)

Translation in performance: meaning and theatrical shift in Tony Harrison’s translation of Hecuba by Euripides
Geraldine Brodie (Centre for Intercultural Studies, University College London)

11.00 - 11.15

Tea & Coffee Break 

11.15 - 12.30

Plenary II

Pastoral After History: The Apple Orchard (Sebald, Hamburger, Richter)
Prof. Mary Jacobus (University of Cambridge) 

12.30 - 13.30 


13.30 - 15.30 

Translation / Theory
Chair:  Dr Karen Seago

Language as Media: Belarusian-English Literary Translation
Svetlana Skomorokhova (Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Warwick)

A Metamorphosis? Translation as rewriting in Kafka and Borges
Sarah Roger  (St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford)

This language I speak, it's haunted’. Reading and Translation in Patchwork Girl
Rose Hepworth (Screen Media and Cultures, University of Cambridge)

Plato's Play-dough, or For Cheerful Spirits Find a Happy Medium: The Origins and Significance of the Materialist Conceptualisation of Translation
Miles Layram (English and Related Literature, York University) 


Closing remarks