In this talk I will discuss my recently published monograph, Ethics and Aesthetics of Translation (UCL Press, 2018). Ethics and Aesthetics of Translation engages with translation, in both theory and practice, as part of an interrogation of ethical as well as political thought in the work of three bilingual European authors: Bernardo Atxaga, Milan Kundera and Jorge Semprún. In approaching the work of these authors, I draw upon the approaches to translation offered by Benjamin, Derrida, Ricœur and Deleuze to highlight a broad set of ethical questions, focused upon the limitations of the monolingual and the democratic possibilities of linguistic plurality; upon our innate desire to translate difference into similarity; and upon the ways in which translation responds to the challenges of individual and collective remembrance.
In the book, I explore these interlingual but also intercultural, interrelational and interdisciplinary issues. I map a journey of translation that begins in the impact of translation upon the work of each author, continues into moments of linguistic translation, untranslatability and mistranslation within their texts and ultimately becomes an exploration of social, political and affective (un)translatability. In these journeys, the creative and critical potential of translation emerges as a powerful and productive model for the experience of cultural appropriation, historical trauma and interpersonal relation.
About the Speaker:
Harriet Hulme is a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at HKU. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature (2016) from UCL. At HKU, Harriet is working on her second book project, provisionally entitled On the Threshold: Locating an Ethics of Hospitality Between Home and Homelessness. The project draws on her 16,500 km cycle journey across Europe and Asia and on examples from contemporary literature to explore the interrelation of translation, storytelling and hospitality.