The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0653 Tuesday, 2 October 2007
From: Jurgen Gutsch <
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
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
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
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
and Manfred Pfister
Looking forward to your responses,
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>
DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.