ONLINE [University of Reading]
24, 25 and 26 June 2021
Call for papers
Eighteen years have passed since the publication of the volume The Reception of Virginia Woolf in Europe, edited by Mary Ann Caws and Nicola Luckhurst as part of the project ‘The reception of British authors in Continental Europe’. This landmark project proved how the study of the reception of authors in Europe is “part of the grander task of considering the history and culture of Europe as a whole, rather than isolated national histories with a narrow national perspective” (Caws and Luckhurst 2002). The study of literary reception across languages and cultures stimulates new responses in wider disciplinary fields. The European context, characterized by a variety of historical, political and socio-cultural circumstances, can offer enriching insights both into the study of a single author and into a comparative analysis of the translation and reception processes in the different language zones.
Bearing in mind the theoretical and critical approaches of reader response theory, reception studies, and of literary translation and cultural mediation studies, this conference aims to explore how the way in which Virginia Woolf’s work has been translated, published, distributed, reviewed and discussed has influenced how she was read by the ‘common readers’ in Europe. Moving from Jauss’s lesson that “literature and art only obtain a history that has the character of a process when the succession of works is mediated not only through the producing subject but also through the consuming subject–through the interaction of author and public” (Jauss 1982), the aim is to delineate the cultural and literary mediation around Woolf’s works in Europe also in order to identify and characterize her European readers through.
Following more recent lines of inquiry that look at translated literature as “part of the target literature’s literary corpus” (Even-Zohar 1990 and Sisto 2019), it is now timely to investigate how the translations of Virginia Woolf’s works have become part of the literary poly-systems (Even-Zohar 1990) across various language zones, and to assess the extent to which these translations had a role in the creation of a foreign canon in the country of arrival (La Penna 2008). To understand how Woolf’s works were – or were not – available in particular marketplaces, text materiality studies (Wilson and Battershill 2018) and the study of censorship can provide relevant lines of investigation which may provide answers to Billiani’s question “to what extent does censorship, when applied to translation, succeed in producing new textual spaces and generating new sites of meaning?” (Billiani 2007)
The main aim of the conference is to foster a critical discussion on the cultural mediation of Woolf in European countries with specific focus on how literary institutions (publishing houses and book series, literary periodicals), literary agents (translators, literary agents, editors), and the composite sociocultural factors driving the selection, production, and publication of Woolf’s works “socially framed” (Long 1992) the reading of her works and shaped her readers through processes of popularization and canonization in the literary systems in Europe. We welcome contributions focussing on microhistories of translations and re-translations, specific trends of scholarly reception, Woolf’s reception in literary periodicals and her role in the intellectual debate of European countries. In addition, we would like to explore the importance of digital humanities, of the web and of social media in creating “communities of practice” (Wenger et al. 2002) around Woolf’s works and thought.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- translations and re-translations of Virginia Woolf in European languages
- publishing houses
- book series
- literary periodicals and journals
- materiality of texts
- feminisms and feminist reading and reception of Woolf
- archival studies
- biographies and microhistory of translators, editors, mediators and literary agents
- microsociology and history of cultural mediation
- intellectual networks
- presence of Woolf’s work in television and radio
- presence and impact of Woolf in the web and social media
- presence of Woolf in reading groups and book clubs
- multimedia artistic adaptations (from rewritings to artistic exhibitions inspired by Woolf)
- legacy and influence of Woolf in European literatures
Keynote speakers at the conference will be Claire Davison (Professor of Modernist Studies at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Nadia Fusini (Professor of Comparative Literature at Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa), Daniel Göske (Professor for American Literature at Universität Kassel), and Laura Lojo-Rodríguez (Senior lecturer at the University of Santiago de Compostela).
The conference is part of the project Virginia Woolf and Italian Readers, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 838658.
The conference will take the form of panels of thematically linked papers. Each panel will consist of 20-minute paper presentations in English to leave room for discussion. Those wishing to present papers in languages other than English can discuss the possibility before submitting the proposal.
Selected papers will be considered for publication in an edited volume.
The conference is meant to take place at the University of Reading, UK, but we are considering the possibility to organise some session of the conference on-line. Given the extraordinary circumstances we are currently experiencing, we are also setting up a contingency plan that will allow us to hold the entire conference on-line, should the Covid-19 situation not be resolved by March next year.
Abstract submission deadline: 10 January 2021
Notification of acceptance: 1 February 2021
Proposals of no more than 500 words accompanied by a short bio (up to 300 words), contact details and indication of preference between remote or in person participation should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Billiani, F. (2007) Modes of Censorship and Translation: National Contexts and Diverse Media. St. Jerome Publishing, Manchester.
Caws, M.A. and Luckhurst, N., eds. (2002) The Reception of Virginia Woolf in Europe. Continuum, London.
Even-Zohar, I. (1990) “The position of translated literature within the literary polysystem”, Poetics Today, 11, 1, pp. 45-51.
Jauss, H.R. (1982) Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. by Timothy Bahti. Univ of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
La Penna, D. (2008) “Historicizing value, negotiating visibility: English and Italian poetic canons in translation”. In: La Penna, D. and Caselli, D. (eds.) Twentieth-century poetic translation: literary cultures in Italian and English. Continuum, London, pp. 1-22.
Long, E. (1992) “Textual Interpretation as Collective Action”, Discourse, 14: 3, pp. 104-130.
Sisto, M. (2019) Traiettorie. Studi sulla letteratura tradotta in Italia. Quodlibet, Macerata.
Wenger, E., McDermott, R. and Snyder, W. M. (2002) Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge. Harvard Business School Press, Boston MA.
Wilson, N. and Battershill, C., eds. (2018) Virginia Woolf and 'The World of Books': Woolf Selected Papers. Clemson University Press, Clemson.
Nadia Fusini is Professor of Comparative Literature at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.
She translated and edited several English speaking authors, among whom Virginia Woolf, John Keats, Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Mary Shelley. In 1998 she edited the two volumes of Woolf's works for Mondadori's canonizing series 'Meridiani'. She was awarded several prizes for her translations, among which the Premio Mondello for the translation of The Waves in the prestigious series 'Writers translated by writers' founded by Italo Calvino. In 2006 she published Possiedo la mia anima. Il segreto di Virginia Woolf (Mondadori), a biography of Virginia Woolf and in 2017 she was awarded the 'Europe Prize' for her literary activity.
She is the Director of the series publishing Shakespeare's translations for Feltrinelli, for which she translated and edited A Midsummer's Night Dream; The Comedy of Errors; All's Well that Ends Well; Much Ado About Nothing and The Merry Wifes of Windsor.
She is also the founder and president of the Italian Virginia Woolf Society.
Claire Davison is Professor of Modernist Studies at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris. She was born in Great Britain, and grew up between France and England. She studied French and Russian at Leeds University, and comparative literature in Paris, before completing a PhD in Franco-Russian post-revolutionary literatures of exile. She has taught at universities in England, Scotland and France. Her teaching and research focus on the borders and boundaries of modernism; this includes the translation and reception of Russian literature in the 1910s-20s; cross-Channel modernist dialogues, and literary and musical modernism. Her current research bears on modernist soundscapes and broadcasting in the 1920s-30s.
She has been Chair of the French Virginia Woolf Society, she participates in a broad network of European Modernist Studies extending from Russia to the British Isles.
In 2014 she published Translation as Collaboration: Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield and S. S. Koteliansky (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press) and she co-edited the volume Trans-Woolf (Perugia: Morlacchi) with Anne-Marie Di Biasio.
Daniel Goeske is Professor of American and English Literature at the University of Kassel, Germany.
He was educated at the universities of Göttingen (Germany), Canterbury (UK) and Penn State (U.S.A.) and was Visiting Fellow at Princeton University (1992-93).
Prof. Göske has studies the early translations of Virginia Woolf in German and his academic publications include books on American poetry anthologies (1750-1950) and on the German reception of Herman Melville as well as articles on 19th and 20th century American and British poetry and fiction, American literary periodicals, the reception of American writers in Europe (Poe, Melville, Faulkner) and German writers in America (Heine, Schnitzler).
His other interests concern literary translation and the interplay of literature and religion. Göske is the editor of an annotated edition of Melville’s works in German and has himself translated books by R. A. Ackerley, Joseph Conrad, Melville, and Derek Walcott.
Laura Lojo-Rodríguez is Senior Lecturer in English at the Department of English and German Studies (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain), where she teaches Literature(s) in English, Critical Theory and Gender Studies. Dr Lojo is the supervisor of the Research Group of Competitiveness Reference Discourse and Identity (GRC2015/002 GI- 1924, Xunta de Galicia), member of the research project Women’s Tales: The Short Fiction of Contemporary British Writers 1974-2013 (Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, FEM2013-41977-P) and convenor of the Short Story Panel at AEDEAN (Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies) .
She has worked on Virginia Woolf in Spanish-Speaking Countries for The Blackwell Companion to Virginia Woolf , ed. by Jessica Berman (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016).
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 838658.