Current projects

An example of research currently being undertaken by our members is Angela Kershaw's project on 'Translation in and of French literature of the Second World War', which was awarded a two-year Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2013-15).

The Second World War involved many nations and therefore many languages. Although our knowledge of the Second World War and the Holocaust is therefore mediated through translated texts, no sustained attempt has been made to read the literature of the war from the point of view of translation. In this project, analysis of key French literary works and their translation into English will shed light on the epistemological and representational problems of writing fiction about the trauma of war. It will address crucial ethical and political questions about cultural memory and cultural transfer.

This project is an exercise in what Bella Brodzky (2007) calls ‘reading translationally': using translation as a method of literary and cultural critique. The project will analyse a range of significant French war novels and their English translations, focusing on aspects of war and its memorialisation in which multilingualism and translation are strongly implicated. Reading translationally also implies paying attention to the material conditions of translation. The research will therefore pose sociological questions as well as poetic ones, considering circuits of transnational cultural exchange (such as publishing houses and literary critics) and the socio-historical contexts of writing and publication.

Previous projects

Dr Emma Wagstaff has recently organised an AHRC-funded research network 'Contemporary French Poetic Practice: An Interdisciplinary Approach' which was associated with the AHRC's 'Translating Cultures' theme. Members of the network are drawn from across Europe, North America and Australia. As part of the network, she organised an international research workshop in September 2013 on connections between contemporary French poetic practice and translation, including academic papers, a round table discussion and a practical translation workshop led by professional translators Stephen Romer and Jennie Feldman. It took place at the Centre international de la poésie in Marseille.