Modernism and Non-Translation

Lakhovsky_ConversationA workshop on 4th to 5th July will explore the topic of “modernism and non-translation.” The event will see a series of interdisciplinary position papers from leading scholars.

The remit of the workshop is to explore the incorporation of untranslated words, phrases, or textual fragments in modernist writing. The workshop aims to develop a series of inter-connecting test-cases that explore modernists’ use of non-translation in order address the shared themes outlined below.

  • The relationship between modernism and practices of translation. How did writers respond to their lack of knowledge of languages they also worked with (Woolf and Greek; Pound and Chinese; Joyce and Norwegian)? How integral is non-translation to modernism? Is there an implicit theory of translation in modernism? The epistemology of translation: how is “linguistic knowledge” itself raised as a question or problem through practices of non-translation?
  • The political and cultural implications of non-translation: what are the implied relations of “host” and “guest” language? How are different forms and traditions changed in the process of incorporation?
  • English as a “world language.” How did the rise of English as a world language aid and hinder “non-translation”? Does modernism display and problematise English as a “world language”? How did educational practices regarding languages (Classical; European ‘modern languages’) impact on the development of modernism?

There will be talks by, among others, Rebecca Beasley (Oxford) Daniel Karlin (Bristol), Barry McCrea (Notre Dame), Scarlett Baron (UCL), Stephen Romer (Tours) and Peter Robinson (Reading). There will be additional speakers from Durham and elsewhere, by an interdisciplinary panel of researchers in Classics and Modern Languages as well as English Studies.

There is space for additional speakers on Thursday 4 July. Please contact John Nash ( and Jason Harding ( with a one page abstract, or to register to attend this event.

Immediately following this workshop, the Maverick Voices and Modernity conference runs from 5th to 6th July.


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