Gender, Translation and Transnational Reception

Dalarna-på-fäbodvallen-vykort-2596-AB-Grafisk-KonstThe conference Gender, Translation and Transnational Reception was organized at the University of Oslo, November 12-13 2015 was organized by the network Traveling Texts: Translation and Transnational Reception. With gender, translation and transnational reception as a common denominator the conference included perspectives on translation of ancient texts, censorship during the Francoist dictatorship and translations of Simone de Beauvoir, postmodern adaptations

The project was represented by Åsa Arping, Yvonne Leffler and Jenny Bergenmar, who presented in a session about “Swedish women writers abroad”. Åsa Arping and Yvonne Leffler discussed the female novel of the mid and late nineteenth century. By this time, novels by Swedish women writers were among the most translated and disseminated in Europe. Emilie Flygare-Carlén was one of the most bestselling authors, only rivalled by celebrities such as Charles Dickens and Alexander Dumas. Fredrika Bremer was Sweden’s first novelist with an international reputation, especially renowned in North America, where she was launched as ”the MISS AUSTIN of Sweden”.

The paper examined the relationship between gender and literary marketing when these authors were translated and introduced into other cultural contexts. The importance of titles and book covers, prefaces and translators’ introductions were discussed, and the critical reception as well as the consolidation in literary summaries and works on literary history. With translations of Flygare-Carlén’s novels as example, we will demonstrate how different gender strategies were used in different languages and countries. Through the reception of Bremers Hertha (1856) in North America, the significance of the novel’s feminist message and its Scandinavian origin was demonstrated. Concerning both novelists special attention was paid to the importance of gender and nation in the foreign reception.

Jenny Bergenmar discussed different kinds of printed introductions to Swedish authors and literature  with a focus on the time around Selma Lagerlöf’s Nobel Prize 1909. The publication forms span from articles in literary journals to book editions and in some cases include both male and female writers, in others only women writers. These receptions can be described as a consecration of the authors (Casanova 2009), retrospectively positioning Lagerlöf’s forerunners in relation to the current, and her contemporaries in relation to herself or to the Swedish literary tradition generally. The paper focused on the following questions: To what extent is the understanding and opinion of the authors in Swedish literary history and criticism transferred or even translated to the international context? Which authors are made specifically Swedish, how is this “Swedishness” constructed and how does this relate to gender? The questions were examined in relation to texts from different language areas (Spanish, French, German).







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