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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: October ::
Shakespeare's Sonnets Global
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0653  Tuesday, 2 October 2007

From: 		Jurgen Gutsch <
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Date: 		Saturday, 29 Sep 2007 12:35:13 +0200
Subject: 	Shakespeare's Sonnets Global

Berlin, July 2007

Global Call for Contributions: Shakespeare's Sonnets Global An Anthology 
Celebrating the Quatercentenary of "SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS (1609)"

Dear friends and colleagues,

In two years, the literary and academic world is bound to miss out on 
the jubilee of an event of global import if nobody reminds them of it: 
SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS Neuer before Im-printed will then have been around 
for four centuries. The initial impact of this modest and enigmatic 
quarto and its 154 sonnets was not overwhelming and also for the 
following almost two centuries Shakespeare's sonnets slept in the limbo 
of cultural forgetfulness. But then, towards the end of the eighteenth 
century, they exploded on the world with an extraordinary sleeper 
effect, the shockwaves reaching out from England to the Continent and 
from Europe on to the rest of the world. Now, after another two 
centuries, we think it is time to celebrate this extraordinary canonical 
career. It is time to build a global monument to remind the world of 
this quatercentenary and to celebrate the power of these sonnets to move 
their readers across the centuries and continents, in states unborn and 
accents yet unknown.

Following Shakespeare's own instructions, a book shall be this monument 
- a mighty tome, an an-thology of translations of his sonnets in as many 
languages and national cultures of the world as we can find contributors 
from. What we - that is Jurgen Gutsch, a freelance Shakespearean scholar 
from Munich and the only begetter of this project, and myself, teaching 
English literature at the Freie Universitat Berlin - have in mind is a 
literary rather than an academic book. We do not aim at systematic all 
comprehensiveness nor do we want the book cluttered with all the 
paratexts of full philological and bibliographical documentation. At the 
centre will be the translations themselves - without the English 
originals, which our readers will have at hand anyway, and only where 
the translation is a free adaptation should we help out with a 
'retro-translation' into English. None of us, and none of our readers 
will therefore be in the linguistic position to enjoy all or even most 
of them - with the possible exception of Shakespeare himself from his 
transcendental, translinguistic beyond - or of the "liebe Gott", to whom 
Anton Bruckner dedicated his symphonies in the devout belief that only 
God would fully appreciate all their beauties.

The languages we have been thinking of so far are
Afrikaans
Greek
Lithuanian
Turkish
African Languages
Dutch
Low German
Ukrainian
Arabic
French
Norwegian
Yiddish
Armenian
German
Polish
Artificial Languages
Greek
Portuguese
Basque
Hebrew
Rumanian
Bulgarian
Hungarian
Russian
Korean
Indian Languages
Serbian
Croatian
Iranian
Sign Languages
Chinese
Italian
Slovenian
Czech
Japanese
Spanish
Danish
Korean
Swedish
Finnish
Latin
Swiss German

The list is still provisional: some of the languages may not have a 
notable track record in sonnet translations; on the other hand, there 
are bound to be oversights. Further suggestions both of lan-guages and 
likely contributors are, therefore, more than welcome.

We are particularly interested in what is marginal and non-canonical. So 
do not let us disregard what is beyond or beneath the official 
languages, dialect, for instance, or other vernacular varieties, nor shy 
back from the wilder shores of palinode, parody, deconstruction, 
meaning-bending appro-priation and other forms of 'radical translation' 
beyond the fringe of philological faithfulness to, and respect for, the 
great classic of world literature the sonnets have become.

We hope you share our enthusiasm for this rather unusual project and 
join us in this truly global endeavour. The rules of the game are as 
follows:

Each contribution consists of an introduction of not more than 10.000 
signs on the history and pres-ence of Shakespeare's sonnets in the 
respective language and culture and of a choice of up to twelve 
translations representing this history from the beginnings to today. Of 
which Shakespearean sonnets you offer translations is entirely up to 
you, as different cultures will have highlighted different sonnets.

As to formatting and lay-outing your contribution, you will receive 
further instructions later on.

To get the book ready for the jubilee year, we will need your 
contribution by the end of September 2008.

The book will be published in Switzerland with "Edition SIGNAThUR", a 
publishing firm dedicated among other things to Shakespeare's sonnets in 
translation.

Finally, and of course, there is no money in such a labour of love.

All we need from you for the time being is a brief note telling us as 
soon as possible - and by the end of September 2007 at the latest - 
whether you will join us or not. Please mail this note and possible 
suggestions as to the scope, structure and further likely contributors 
to both.

Jurgen Gutsch 
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  and Manfred Pfister 

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Looking forward to your responses,
THE.WELL-WISHING.ADVENTURERS.IN.SETTING.FORTH. J.G.AND.M.P.

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Hardy M. Cook, 
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