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18:00 - 19:30 23 October 2014

Translating the poem: Henri Meschonnic’s poetics of translating


Lecture Theatre G6 | UCL Institute of Archaeology (link Map)
31–34 Gordon Square | London | WC1 | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: FREE
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Dr Marko Pajević, Senior Lecturer, German and Comparative Literature, Royal Holloway, University of London

Translating poetry is a notoriously difficult task, to the point that it is often considered impossible. But what exactly does that mean? Which role does this give to translation? What conception of language is such an assertion based on? Henri Meschonnic’s historical anthropology of language and his theory of translation represent a very original and enriching position concerning such questions. There cannot be a theory of translation without a theory of language. Meschonnic’s key notions of rhythm and the continuum are opposed to the mainstream conception of language as sign. They are directed against hermeneutics, structuralism and post-structuralism and are at the core of what he calls poetics. This paper presents Meschonnic’s particular way of thinking language and translation, stressing the signifying functions of the physicality of language, its prosodic, consonantal and vocalic patterns, to demonstrate the wide-ranging consequences of this conception of poetics for translation.


Dr Geraldine Brodie
+44 (0)20 3108 1317 | g.brodie@ucl.ac.uk


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