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.