On Wednesday 22 May, UCL-SSEES is hosting a one-day knowledge exchange workshop to mark the centenary of Sándor Weöres’s birth, entitled Translation in the light (or shadow?) of language, culture and politics [poster pdf]. The event is co-organised by the Centre for Language-Based Area Studies at UCL-SSEES, the Balassi Institute Hungarian Cultural Centre London, and the University of Glasgow Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies.
Time: 10 am – 5 pm (registration from 9.30 am)
The work and legacy of Sándor Weöres (1913-1989), one of Hungary’s most influential twentieth-century poets, provide an exceptionally intriguing starting point for discussing the possibilities of translation in its most challenging form, the translation of poetic texts, which, in turn, also challenges the notion and the possibility of translation itself.
Labelled ‘formalist’ in Socialist Hungary, Weöres was banned from publication in the 1950s. Like many similarly sidelined poets, the only way he could see his work appear in print was through translations of literary works during these years of relative silence. He not only translated from Russian, French, Italian, English, and Chinese – often taking a rough translation of the source text as a starting point – but in his poetry he also explored such diverse areas as Eastern philosophy, Polynesian and classical European myths, early modern Hungarian literature, and children’s nursery rhymes. Following his Europe-wide recognition, which included two public readings in London (1966 and 1980) and in New York and Washington, D.C. in 1977, his works have been translated into a variety of languages, including English, French, and Russian.
The first part of the workshop will address Weöres’s work and legacy, as well as broader issues related to the difficulty of translating poetry.
10.15-11.45 Discussing Weöres in translation: George Gömöri, Zsuzsa Varga and Eszter Tarsoly.
12.00-13.30 Discussing translation in Weöres: Ádám Nádasdy, Daniel Abondolo, Philip Barker and Ágnes Lehóczky.
The afternoon will feature a panel discussion between publishers on the commercial, cultural and political considerations that play a part in the commissioning of translations, followed by a translation workshop.
14.30-16.00 Joana Zgadzaj (Stork Press), Susan Kojakovic-Curtis (Istros Books), Clive Boutle (Francis Boutle), and Mike Tate (Jantar Publishing).
16.15-16.45 Hands-on translation workshop