Call for Papers for a seminar for the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting
March 19-22, 2020, Chicago
Uljana Wolf Across Languages
Seminar organizers: Brigitte Rath (Innsbruck) & Kasia Szymanska (Oxford)
Texts that do not fit comfortably into the literature of any one language prove to be especially productive for genuinely comparative lines of inquiry. Labelled with terms such as multilingual, translingual or postlingual, non-monolingual texts require approaches that deal with their disregard for clear linguistic boundaries and their resistance to contextualisation within the borders of a specific literary tradition. Situated between languages, genres and modes of writing, the work of Uljana Wolf provides an excellent case study for the theoretical and critical challenges involved in reading texts written and read across languages.
All three of Wolf's hitherto published collections of poetry are explicitly written across languages: her first collection, entitled kochanie ich habe brot gekauft (kookbooks, 2005), blends a physical border crossing—travelling from Germany to Poland—with a linguistic one, as signalled by the title which moves seamlessly from the Polish term of endearment "kochanie" to the mundane German announcement "I've bought bread"; her second collection, falsche freunde (kookbooks, 2009) contains a "German-English DICHTionary" of 26 alphabetical entries, each starting from a cluster of "false friends", words that look identical German and English, but have different meanings (such as "art—apart"); and the title of her third collection meine schönste lengevitch (kookbooks, 2013) valorizes linguistic hybridity by borrowing its title from Kurt M. Stein’s 1925 parody of German-English codeswitching and accented pronunciation, calling this "lengevitch" "my most beautiful one."
Uljana Wolf's work comprises translations of texts which themselves cannot be said to be "English" or "Belarusian", although they are often classified as such. Wolf has translated poems by Eugene Ostashevsky, Valzhyna Mort, Matthea Harvey, Christian Hawkey, and together with Michael Zgodzay, she co-translated a poetry collection of Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki, a Polish poet exploring the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. Wolf also provided a complete translation of a multilingual book of poetry by Canadian author Erín Moure, O Cadoiro, which rewrites Galician troubadour poetry from the 13th century. Complementarily, Uljana Wolf's own work has been rewritten in English by Susan Bernofsky and, more recently, in Sophie Seita's substantial volume Subsisters. Selected Poems (Belladonna, 2017) Uljana Wolf's essays reflect on her own writings across languages and on her work being re-written in other languages, but also engage, for example, with the translingual poetry of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee (wandernde errands, Lyrikkabinett 2016), with "bad words" which will not fit into a language in Ilse Aichinger's texts, or with the genre of prose poetry (box office, Lyrikkabinett 2009).
We invite comparative papers that address any aspect of Uljana Wolf's work across languages, including (but not limited to):
- Reading/writing across languages as "writing with" (e.g. Uljana Wolf's attributions of "writing with" Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and others in "subsisters", with Hélène Cixous, Gertrude Stein, Lewis Caroll, Kurt Stein and others in meine schönste lengevitch)
- Reading/writing across languages in the translations of multilingual texts (such as Erín Moure's O Cadoiro)
- "Reading/writing across languages" as combining poetry, translations and critical writing (such as in Wolf's long essay on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee)
- "Reading/writing across languages" to establish lines of connection with female poets across languages
Please submit your proposal via https://www.acla.org/uljana-wolf-across-languages and click register/submit.
Deadline for submissions is September 23, 2019, 9am EST.
Brigitte Rath (Innsbruck) and Kasia Szymanska (Oxford)