Workshop ‘The imaginaries of translation’ [Call for papers]


With the support of Campus Condorcet (Paris XIII, Paris III, in partnership with Ghent University)

March 4, 2017, 9h00-18h00, Sorbonne University, Auditorium Bourjac, 17 rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris


This workshop is part of the Campus Condorcet initiative and wishes to introduce new ideas concerning the theory and practice of literary translation. The first half of the workshop will be devoted to translation theory. International experts such as: Astrid Guillaume, Charles Le Blanc, Christine Lombez, Jean-Yves Masson, Carole Birkan, Guillaume Coatalen and Philippe Guérin, will have the chance to present their research paying special attention to the current state of the art. The second half of the workshop is open to young PhD students and international researchers who wish to share their thoughts concerning the correlations between comparative literature and translation theory.



After describing the dynamics that led to the current crisis of comparative studies and discussing the issues at stake that will be dealt with by a new comparatism(Gayatri Spivak: 2003), Gillian Lane-Mercier emphasized “The urgency to question the benefits -or the objectives- of an uncontrolled and uncontrollable interdisciplinarity. Due to the fact that it has been bridging too many gaps in the past few years, interdisciplinarity now runs the risk of an imminent and self-destructive breakdown” (Gillian Lane-Mercier: 2009).

Nevertheless, both comparative literature and translation studies are disciplines that are based on hybridity and the crossing-over of networks. In that sense, both of them are seen through the prism of cultural and linguistic interactions or through the lenses of a “theory of mobility” (Tiphaine Samoyault: 2011). More specifically, the relationship between translation studies and comparative literature reveals the complexity and risks of such hybrid disciplines while emphasizing the importance of rethinking their identity and their specific features. This was the main subject of the 11th Congress organized by the International Association of Comparative Literature(1985). In his introduction, José Lambert stressed the importance of translation as a specific field and underlined the need of an interaction taking place between the theory and history of translation and the other disciplines. It is therefore desirable to grasp translation, not only from the viewpoint of literature, but also from the viewpoint of the history of knowledge and social practices (F. Rastier: 2011; A. Guillaume: 2015; Y. Chevrel, J.-Y. Masson: 2015). It also seems necessary to rethink translation through the prism of philosophy, poetics, studies on the imaginary, and finally, to consider it as an art and not as a branch of applied linguistics.

Indeed, as argued by G. Lane-Mercier, comparative literature and translation studies are intrinsically linked because of their common centrifugal, nomadic or “cartographic” aims as well as the common logic of the intersection, the realignment and the crossing of borders. It is through such processes that these two disciplines become fields of major conflicts, but also fields of major synthesis.

In this context, we would like to try a quite simple but much needed experiment by introducing new considerations concerning the theory and practice of translation. This experiment will inaugurate a new way to “meditate on translation” as stated by Jean-Yves Masson (1999, 2013). By adopting a “cartographic” approach, we will attempt to develop new critical reflections on how to compare language practices and imaginaries. In this attempt, it is crucial to take into consideration the ways in which the imagination is involved in the “socio-symbolic elaboration of translation practices” (Antonio Lavieri: 2010). We will thus treat translation studies from the standpoint of a “genetic translation” (Charles Le Blanc: 2009), while rethinking its identity in the light of comparative studies.

Translation can also be examined through the prism of the so-called “circumstances of the imaginary production” (Laurent Van Eynde: 2005). Indeed, we can notice that in a translated text many choices derive from the translator’s creative imagination. As a consequence, the “active imagination” (Carl Gustav Jung: 1970) of the translator is, consciously or unconsciously, embodied in his linguistic, stylistic or even poetic choices.

This conception of the imagination largely echoes the doctrine of “fantastic universals” exposed by Giambattista Vico in his work the Scienza nova (1744). According to Vico, imagination is considered in relation to its link with the poetic. This doesn’t have to do with reinventing a “theory of the imagination” in the way that Paul Ricœur has shown (1986). What is important here is to examine Ricœur’s “poetics of will” (P. Ricœur: 1986) by observing a number of phenomena and experiences that are situated “between theory and practice” (P. Ricœur: 1986). Such a posture will enable us to overcome the intricacies of literary translation and will lead us to a more thorough comprehension of a new linguistic and socio-cultural reality, as described by Susan Bassnett (1998). Indeed, translation is a discipline that invites us all to work on our imagination and to make use of the possibility to go beyond language’s restrictive dimensions. As shown by François Vezin, when it comes to translation, language skills alone are not enough “because, as Kant argued, it takes a great deal of productive imagination and in the case of translation we can go as far as to speak of a translinguistic function of the imagination” (F. Vezin: 2005).

To conclude, in the wake of Christine Lombez (2016), we intend to take a closer look at the paratexts, the essays, the influences as well as the intertextual alliances that enrich the work and the imaginary of translators. This theoretical inspiration could eventually lead to a wide variety of analyses, methods and interpretations, which aim to create new critical tools for Translation Studies.


Submission Guidelines

We therefore invite young researchers to submit their abstracts. Some of the papers presented during the workshop might also be selected for an eventual publication. More information will be given to the selected candidates after the conclusion of the workshop.

Please submit an abstract of 300-400 words to one of the following addresses before the 30st of November, 2016. Proposals should include a title, a short bibliography and a bionote.


Christina BEZARI (Ghent University):

Riccardo RAIMONDO (Paris-Diderot/Sorbonne-Nouvelle):

Thomas VUONG (Paris-Nord):


Campus Condorcet supports this initiative



Yves CHEVREL, Jean-Yves MASSON, « Avant-propos », in Véronique DUCHÉ (dir.). Histoire des traductions en langue française, XVe et XVIe siècles (1470-1610), Lagrasse, Verdier, 2015, p. 7-14.

COLLINGE, Linda, Beckett traduit Beckett : de « Malone meurt » à « Malone Dies », l’imaginaire en traduction. Génève, Droz, 2000.

BASSNETT, Susan, LEFEVERE, André. Constructing cultures: Essays on Literary Translation. Clevedon, Multilingual Matters, 1998.

GENTZLER, Edwin. Contemporary Translation Theories. Londres/New York, Routledge, 2001.

Astrid GUILLAUME, « Vers une sémiotique diachronique et contrastive des cultures », in Driss ABLALI, Sémir BADIR, Dominique DUCARD (dir.), Documents, textes, œuvres. Perspectives sémiotiques, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014, p. 381-406.

Antonio LAVIERI. « Translatio in fabula, enjeux d’une rencontre entre fictions et traductions », in Sophie KLIMIS, Isabelle OST et Stéphanie VANASTEN (dir.). Translatio in fabula, Publications des Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, 2010, n°130, p. 117-127.

LE BLANC, Charles. Le complexe d’Hermès, Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa, 2009

LOMBEZ, Christine. La Seconde Profondeur : la traduction poétique et les poètes traducteurs en Europe au XXe siècle. Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 2016.

Jean-Yves MASSON, « Territoire de Babel (notes sur la théorie de la traduction) », Corps Ecrit, n°36, Babel ou la diversité des langues, PUF, 1990, pp. 157-160.

JUNG, Carl Gustav. Mysterium conjunctionis, Princeton University Press, 1970 ; rééd 2 vol., trad. par Etienne Perrot, Paris, Albin Michel, 1982, t. II ; rééd. « Réflexions théoriques sur la nature du psychisme », in La réalité de l’âme, 2 vol., éd. de Michel Cazenave, Paris, Librairies Générale Française, 1998, t. 1.

MILTON, John, BANDIA, Paul. Agents of Translation. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins, 2009.

ORTEGA Y GASSET, José. Misère et splendeur de la traduction, trad. sous la dir. de François Géal, post-face de Jean Yves Masson, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 2013.

François RASTIER. La mesure et le grain. Sémantique de corpus, Paris, Champion, 2011.

Tiphaine SAMOYAULT, « Morts récentes & vies nouvelles de la littérature comparée », Acta fabula, vol. 12, n° 5, « Le partage des disciplines », Mai 2011. [en ligne :]

SNELL-HORNBY, Mary. The Turns of Translation Studies. New paradigms or shifting viewpoints?. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins, 2006.

SPIVAK, Gayatri Chakravorty. Death of a Discipline. New York, Columbia University Press, 2003.

STEINER George. After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1975.

ST-PIERRE, Paul and Prafulla C. KAR, eds. In Translation: Reflections, Refractions, Transformations, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins, 2007.

TOURY Gideon. Translation Theory and Intercultural Relations. Tel Aviv, The Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics, 1981.

Laurent VAN EYNDE. « Avant-propos », in Éléonore Faivre D’ARCIER, Jean-Pol MADOU et Laurent VAN EYNDE (dir.). Mythe et création. Théorie et figures, 2 vol., t. I, Publications des Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, Bruxelles, 2005.

Mathias VERGER. « Antonin Artaud et l’imaginaire de la traduction », Carnets de Chaminadour, n° 4, p. 61-85.

François VEZIN. « Philosophie et pédagogie de la traduction », Revue philosophique de la France et de l’étranger, Tome 130 (2005/4).

Vico, Giambattista. La scienza nuova (le tre edizioni del 1725, 1730 e 1744), a cura di Manuela Sanna e Vincenzo Vitiello. Milano, Bompiani, 2012.


Vous aimerez aussi...

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur comment les données de vos commentaires sont utilisées.

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search