Translating small literatures to the global market
Sofia, Institute for Literature at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 27-28 May 2013
Deadline for submissions: 15 May 2013
Franz Kafka’s reflections on the writing condition of Prague Jews and on his own choice to write in a kind of German (and neither in Yiddish nor in Czech) have been referred to in conceptualisations of “marginal” literatures (Vajda 1983: 9-10) as well as of “minor” ones (Deleuze, Guattari, Brinkley 1983), both conceptualisations implying a dichotomic typology of literatures (marginal vs. core, minor vs. great (or established)). A recent reflection on the way in which literatures like the Bulgarian are portioned to marginality within the system of world literature (political) economy appeals to Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s understanding of hegemony and defines the latter as “any knowledge which is so powerful that it makes the knowing of the opposite indefensible” (T. Hristov 2011). To return to Deleuze and Guattari’s employment of Kafka’s reflections: “A minor literature is not the literature of a minor language but the literature a minority makes in a major language”. Hence we are able to suggest a tri-chotomic typology of literatures, designating the corresponding types as minor, small and hegemonic. In addition, we dare to contest the position of Deleuze and Guattari’s when they invest revolutionary potential in minor literatures (attaching, besides, the concept of minor literature to one of two opposing chains of concepts: de-territorialisation, non-representation, metamorphosis, intensity vs. (re)-territorialisation, representation, metaphor, extensity). We guess that self-constituting as an agent of minor literature inevitably happens in a place, time and in relation to other agents; evading interpretation does not destruct a situation characterised by hegemony but contributes to a new constellation of power and provokes renewal within the agency of hegemony: it is, or at least it could be, an affirmative act. We hope to arrive to a ‘post-postmodern’ understanding of what is called world literature and of its structure.
References: Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Robert Brinkley, “What is a minor literature?”, Mississippi Review, Vol. 11, no. 3, Essays literary criticism (Winter/Spring 1983), pp. 13-33; Todor Hristov, “Literature as gift”, an earlier English-language version of “Литературата като дар” [Literature as gift], Marginality in/of literature (compiler R. Kuncheva), Sofia: Boyan Penev, 2011, pp. 90-108; Györdy M. Vajda, “Einleitung: Marginale Literaturen”, Komparatistische Hefte: “Marginale” Literaturen (Hg. J. Riesz, R. Taylor, T. Bleicher), Bayreuth: Universität Bayreuth, Heft 7, pp. 5-14.
The workshop is purposed as a first step within a long-term research plan, first negotiated with (here and below degrees and titles omitted) Ruta Bruzgienė, Andrius Konickis and Nijole Kašelionienė from Vilnius, Gaga Lomidze and Irine Modebadze from Tbilisi, in March and in September 2012. A subsequent talk with Maya Gorcheva contributed to concretisation of the matter into the agenda below. Besides, the workshop has benefited and benefits from the responsiveness of Plamen Antov, Anna Aleksieva, and Boris Minkov.
We are inviting contributions from scholars, writers, translators, publishers, etc. on the following (and related) themes:
1. Minor, small, and hegemonic literatures
2. Who and why translates from small literatures to “world” languages?
3. Who and why reads (or does not read) these translations?
4. Do translations change the standing and the status of small literatures, a) in public, b) in the academia?
5. Do translations from small literatures affect the small cultures’/countries’ image in the great ones and worldwide? (What does “worldwide” mean?)
6. How do small literatures (not) communicate with each other?
7. Does a “small” literature imply a “small” literary scholarship; does a peripheral history imply a peripheral historiography, and so on?
8. The (re)active ideologies of (non)translatability, modernisation and mutuality
Languages of communication: English, Russian and Bulgarian.
Deadline for submissions: 15th of May.
Submissions should include submitter’s contact information and an extended abstract (at least 300 words) in language other than that of the paper, i.e.: in English, Russian, French or German, if one is going to speak in Bulgarian; in English, French, German or Bulgarian, if one is going to speak in Russian; and in Russian, French, German or Bulgarian, if one is going to speak in English. Submissions containing shorter abstracts take the risk of not being considered.
Submissions should also contain author’s note of permission or non-permission to post his or her abstract on the workshop’s spot (on the website of the Institute for Literature).
Each speaker will be given between 15 and 60 minutes to deliver his or her paper. Submitting the abstract, each speaker is expected to announce how much time does (s)he need for delivering his or her paper.
Notification of acceptance will be sent by e-mail within 48 hours after submission.
Participation fee: 5 Euro, to cover up to two coffee-breaks and to be paid upon arrival.
Publication: we are planning the publication of the papers, yet we are still considering different variants.
Travel and accommodation expenses: unfortunately, we cannot cover any.
Organisers and contacts:
Yordan Lyutskanov (PhD, assistant professor at the Institute for Literature, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Maya Gorcheva (PhD, associate professor at Plovdiv University, Branch Kŭrdzhali)
Boris Minkov (PhD, associate professor at the Institute for Literature, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; Guest lector in Bulgarian, Humboldt University)
Please, submit to all three e-mails listed: