Jelinek in the Arena
Sport, Cultural Understanding and Translation to Page and Stage
This is the first ‘Call for Papers’ for a conference to be held at Lancaster University 11-13 July 2012. Co-organised by the Depts of European Languages and Cultures (DELC) and the Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts (LICA), the conference is supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum, London.
A final Call for Papers will detail keynote speakers as well as the costs of accommodation and conference registration.
On your marks, get set, write!... If the sporting Olympics, coming to London in 2012, are all about showcasing a diversity of disciplines, actively reaching out to the general public, and providing a stage to promote international cultural understanding, then the work of Elfriede Jelinek, Austria’s foremost contemporary writer and Nobel laureate, could be read as a model cultural Olympics all of its own. Jelinek’s intersections with a multiplicity of different artistic forms are legend. Not only has the author penned novels, plays, poetry, screenplays, and essays, but she can also point to libretti, to numerous of her own translations of other writers, and to collaborations with a wide variety of artists, composers and intellectuals. Furthermore, her efforts to speak to both highly specialized audiences and to ordinary individuals provide us with a model for understanding how elite performances are valued by multiple audiences and evolve in collaboration with them. Bearing all this in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that sport and the mass public consumption of cultural events has been a recurrent point of criticism and a frequent theme within Jelinek’s work to date.
With the impetus of cultural understanding and public engagement afforded by the London 2012 Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad that accompanies them, this conference seeks to explore a number of issues relating to cultural impact and to a writer’s multiple publics through the compelling case study of Elfriede Jelinek. In so doing, it picks up on recent explorations of Jelinek’s interdisciplinarity and intermediality (for instance by the Elfriede Jelinek Research Centre in Vienna), and it continues the discussion with regard to the question of Jelinek’s presence outside the German-language ‘arena’.
The organisers thus invite papers on questions such as those suggested below and wish to highlight three ‘spheres’ of interest in particular:
a) Jelinek’s engagement with the theme and discourse of sport in many of her works, as well as the utilisation of sport in the performances of her work;
b) performing Jelinek as a mode of translating her written work onto the stage or into the community;
c) Jelinek in translation.
Please note that we also welcome papers where Jelinek might be one of several authors/ playwrights/ cultural theorists considered.
• Sporting significance – how does Jelinek’s work engage with sport? Jelinek’s work shows a clear fascination for popular genres, and sport might be seen to be a primary example of this engagement. How does her treatment of sport reflect what she might have to say about the public as a mass phenomenon or about mass-media interactions with the public? How do questions of gender intersect with Jelinek’s reflections on sport and society?
• Translating Jelinek – into English or into other languages. What are the pitfalls and the ‘solutions’. Are there different issues when translating text for the theatre?
• Cultural transfer – does Jelinek work better in French, say, than in English? Do her themes adapt better to a continental public? Do they come across in Belgium or Poland, in the U.S. or in Australia?
• Celebrating Jelinek – how has Jelinek’s reputation and cultural standing ‘translated’ beyond Austria and Germany? What is the state of play regarding foreign-language publications of her work? How is Jelinek’s work valued abroad and what are the processes involved in engendering this value?
• Playing Jelinek – what foreign or foreign-language productions of Jelinek have succeeded, either as productions or as attempts to distil and translate something of Jelinek’s performative power? What insights do other theatrical traditions bring to bear when contemplating Jelinek?
The conference will include a workshop on literary translation, and it is envisaged that the workshop can stand alone for postgraduate or final-year u/g students and anyone else interested in the nuts and bolts of how on earth to set about translating an author like Jelinek.
Please email offers of papers, including an abstract of max. 250 words to: [log in to unmask] by 1 October 2011.
Please direct any inquiries to the conference organizers listed on the CfP and/or Karen Juers-Munby at Lancaster University in the UK; her e-mail address is [log in to unmask]
Associate Professor of German
Department of German
Brunswick, ME 04101
(on sabbatical 2011-12)
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