CFP: Literary Back-Translations

Over time, some translations of literary works are returned to their original languages. For example, Antonin Artaud’s 1931 French translation of Matthew Gregory Lewis’ gothic novel The Monk was back-translated into English in 2003. Such back-translations challenge the assumption that an original can only be superior to its translation and raise questions about what an ‘original’ actually is. They also resist generic classification: should we consider them as ‘adaptations’, ‘versions’, ‘refractions’, or literary works in their own right? By asking these and other questions, this special issue of Translation and Literature on ‘literary back-translations’ responds to the call of several scholars, such as André Lefevere, Katja Krebs, and Laurence Raw, for new approaches drawing on both adaptation and translation studies, rather than conceiving them as autonomous and competing disciplines.

Contributors are invited to reflect on translation as a creative process as well as a cultural product, and to consider the phenomenon of back-translation, in terms not limited to but including: ideology (such as back-translations motivated by feminist or postcolonial agendas), creativity (back-translations spotlighting the notion of authorship), or material history (back-translations restoring lost texts for their original audiences). Either the source or the target language of the translations discussed will be English; studies of literary texts translated from or back into any modern language are welcome.

Abstracts (c.250 words) and a paragraph-long biography
(for information not publication) are invited by 15 November 2018.
Please submit to
Complete essays (c.7,500 words) will be required by 15 November 2019.