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Call for Papers: “Nabokov’s Idioms: Translating Foreignness”

Call for Papers:
“Nabokov’s Idioms: Translating Foreignness”

Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara
Friday, February 19, 2016

Entitled “Nabokov’s Idioms: Translating Foreignness,” this one-day symposium will investigate Vladimir Nabokov’s writerly practice as a broadly conceived effort of translation. An émigré writer whose works were translated into many languages, Nabokov was himself a notorious translator. Yet translation, in his work, is much more than the mere transposition of a literary text from one language into another – it is a creative principle. In this symposium we propose to investigate what we see as Nabokov’s translational poetics – a comprehensive effort to relate to foreignness and the ‘Other’ that is, as such, also a powerful contribution to literary modernism, its media, and its critique. The symposium, which will be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara on Friday, February 19, 2016, is held in honor of professor emeritus Don Barton Johnson in recognition of his extensive contributions to the field of Nabokov studies.

We invite papers related to the overall theme of the symposium. Of particular interest are papers on:

-Nabokov’s poetics of translation in a broad sense
-Nabokov’s works in translation by himself or others
-Foreignness, emigration and the ‘Other’ in their relation to translation in Nabokov’s works
-Nabokov as a translator (e.g. Ania v strane chudes, Song of Igor’s Campaign, and Eugene Onegin)
-Nabokov as a polemicist and theorist of translation

Please send an abstract of 300 words maximum and a brief biography of 100 words to: Sara Pankenier Weld at or Sven Spieker

Deadline for abstract submission: November 6, 2015.
Selected participants will be notified by December 11, 2015.

The symposium is sponsored by the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, Comparative Literature Program, Graduate Center for Literary Research (GCLR), Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC), Department of English, Department of Linguistics, and Translation Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.


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