Call for Papers – From eald to new: translating early medieval poetry for the 21st century.

6-7 June 2014, School of English, University College Cork.

getting medievl

In recent years, the shelves of commercial bookshops have been graced with accessible translations of medieval poetry from the Old English, Old Irish and Old Norse traditions, including Heaney’s award-winning rendition of Beowulf. Many of these reworkings give a contemporary flavour and immediacy to medieval texts, and they are increasingly being adopted for introductory courses on medieval literature. But what place do literary translations have in the academy, and should they be taught as creative works in their own right? How are the latest translations adapting to the needs of students and teachers? What exactly do we lose, and gain, in the translation of medieval texts?

This conference will explore the ideology of translation, the subtleties of the translation process, and the teaching of translation in modern university settings in relation to memory, adaptation and remediation. It will examine the cultural and historical inflection of individual translations, the ways in which the student’s experience of medieval literature is affected by the translation adopted for study, and the particular challenges related to the translation and reception of early medieval vernacular poetry.

We invite abstracts for 20 minute papers from both individuals and panels. Abstracts of approx. 250 words should be emailed to Dr Tom Birkett or Dr Kirsty March at The closing date is 15 December 2013.

Topics may include:

  •  Audience, cultural specificity and local idiom
  •     The meeting place of literary and academic translations
  •  Past translations, constraints of precedence, and suppression of difference
  •  Ideas of ownership, authorship and canonicity
  •  Teaching the translation of medieval languages in the academy
  •  Problematic poetry: translating verse forms, metrics, poetic language
  •  The potential of new media to change our relationship to the translated text
  •  Translation theory applied to medieval texts

For more information, see the website.

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