Call for Papers Translating Travel Writing in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries French/British Connections/Continuums

Sandhya Patel's picture
Call for Papers
October 19, 2023 to October 20, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Languages, Literature, Modern European History / Studies, Political History / Studies

Translating Travel Writing in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

French/British Connections/Continuums


Centre de Recherches sur les Littératures et la Sociopoétique (CELIS)

Institut d’Histoire des Représentations et des Idées dans les Modernités (IHRIM)

Société d’étude de da Littérature de Voyage du Monde Anglophone (SELVA


19th-20th October, 2023

Maison de Sciences de l’Homme 




Translators and travellers have largely been understood as similarly negotiating interstitial textual and geographic spaces and places. Tim Youngs’s conception of travellers and translators as “figures moving between cultures, not quite or wholly belonging to any one exclusively[1]”is particularly pertinent from this standpoint, as is Susan Pickford’s identification of both translation and travel writing as prime sites for “ideologically motivated textual manipulation”.[2] Thus, the study of the translation of travel texts may not be understood in what Jeff Morrison describes as “narrow, linear, national terms”.[3]

In histories of translation, theoretical and transnational stances have of course received sustained attention over the years (see Michael Cronin for example). Building on perspectives which Martin and Pickford have developed in their work[4], this conference will seek to consolidate their partial focus on cross-channel, British and French theoretical and operational approaches to the translation of travel texts relating to real or fictional journeying but also to treatises/pamphlets on the necessity, act and/or nature of travel itself.

How these travel text translations contributed to shaping international relations between the two countries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and how they participated in the linkages and connections forged by cultural transfers will be the focus of this conference. The relationships established between the travellers and their translators, if any; the identities and literary, scientific or professional credentials of each; how they approach their “translatorship”; how “translation flows”[5] speak to the equilibrium of cultural relations, are just some areas of interest. Other fruitful approaches might engage with how women progressively took up translation tasks. Alison E. Martin’s 2010 study of European women who “cast themselves as intellectually enquiring, knowledgeable and authoritative figures in their translations”[6] of scientific travel writing at the end of the eighteenth century is just one extremely useful starting point for further enquiry into diverse types of travel writing, fictional, philological, exploration and/or mercantilist narrative, etc.

Book and reception history perspectives are also welcome, addressing the problematics of who published these translations, of how they were made available (circulating libraries, shilling parts, subscriptions), of who read them, and of how “Belles infidèles” traditions fared in terms of circulation and reception as reactions to them became rather more guarded.

Proposals from modern-day translators of eighteenth and nineteenth-century travel texts would also be very welcome.


Plenary speakers: Ruth Menzies (Aix-Marseille Université) and Marius Warholm Haugen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology).


Deadline for submission of 250-word proposals for 25-minute papers: April 30th, 2023. Please send your proposals as well as a short biographical notice to the two conference organisers below.

Notification of acceptance: 31st May, 2023



Conference organisers


Sandhya Patel (UCA, IHRIM) :

Anne Rouhette (UCA, CELIS) :


Scientific committee


Gabor Gelleri, University of Aberystwyth

Pierre Lurbe, Université Paris Sorbonne

Susan Pickford, University of Geneva

Jean Viviès, Université Aix-Marseille



[1] Tim Youngs, The Cambridge Introduction to Travel Writing, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013, p.10.

[2] Susan Pickford, “Travel Writing in Translation” in Barbara Schaff, Handbook of British Travel Writing, De Gruyter, 2020.

[3] Alison Martin and Susan Pickford, Travel Narratives in Translation, 1750-1830: Nationalism, Ideology, Gender, Routledge, 2012, p.51.

[4] See Travel Narratives in Translation, 1750-1830, op. cit.; “Translating 18th and 19th-Century European Travel Writing,” InTRAlinea, 2013.

[5] See Christopher Rundle, The Routledge Handbook of Translation History, 2021.

[6] Alison E. Martin, “Outward bound: women translators and scientific travel writing, 1780–1800, Annals of Science, 73, 2, 2016, p.1.

Contact Info: 

Conference organisers

Sandhya Patel  :

Anne Rouhette :

Contact Email: