[CFP] Unexpected Intersections: Translation Studies and Genetic Criticism

International Conference Unexpected Intersections: Translation Studies and Genetic Criticism


Date: November 8 – 9, 2017
Deadline for submission of proposals: June 15, 2017
Venue: University of Lisbon | School of Arts and Humanities (Anf III)
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CHIARA MONTINI (Institut des textes et manuscrits modernes/ENS-CNRS)
JEREMY MUNDAY (Centre for Translation Studies/University of Leeds)
JOÃO DIONÍSIO (Faculdade de Letras/Universidade de Lisboa)


In 2015, Chiara Montini and Anthony Cordingley announced the emergence of a new field of research located at the intersection between Translation Studies and Genetic Criticism, which they proposed to call Genetic Translation Studies. The genetic approach analyses the practices of the “working translator and the evolution, or genesis, of the translated text by studying translators’ manuscripts, drafts and other working documents” (Montini & Cordingley 2015: 1). In an attempt to expand this field of study, this conference presents itself as a forum for discussing the liminal space of translation, that is, “the text outside/inside the text which discusses the text” (Lopes 2012: 130). A liminal space whose materiality lies in the texts produced by moving bodies (agents) – authors, translators, revisers, editors, publishers, archivists, etc.

With the proliferation of digital editions and archives the materiality of texts has become more visible and accessible to scholars. For example, Angolan writer Luandino Vieira was first translated into French by his fellow countryman and political activist Mário Pinto de Andrade. The Archive Mário Pinto de Andrade, made available online at Casa Comum database, provides documentation about the history of Vieira’s translations in France at a time when negritude and anti-negritude movements were emerging. This digital collection includes personal correspondence between author and translator revealing the author’s anxiety about the reception of his work in Europe and concerning the difficulties in translating his wor k, translator’s notes about the author and his work, reading traces, etc. The analysis of this material, i.e. the text outside/inside the translated text, can serve as the basis for the study of both the exogenesis and the endogenesis (Genette 1979) of Vieira’s French translations, and is part of a microhistory of translation (Munday 2014).

Microhistories of translation deal with translators’ material imprints, from personal papers, manuscripts, typescripts, proofs, handwritten marginalia, private library, letters, interviews to other related textual testimonies (avant-texte) that provide insight into their competence and performance. Like translators, editors are important mediators between a text and its potential readers. Editors exercise their agency every time they emend a text, which eventually comes to embody, to different extents, that very act of mediation. Studying the agency of the several actors involved in the edition of a text can shed light on the multiple constraints affecting the text, the sociocultural context agents operate in, agents’ different roles in processes of textual composition, conscious and unconscious decision-making that may reveal translation norms or power relations at play in the geocultural system in which agents circulate.

Ultimately, this conference will address the advantages that may arise at the intersection between these two fields of study, hoping to show how Genetic Criticism may help Translation Studies pay more attention to the translator figure and to the creative process that an act of translation involves.


  • Cordingley, Anthony, & Chiara Montini. 2015. Genetic translation studies: an emerging discipline. Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series: Themes in Translation Studies 14: 1–18.
  • Genette, Raymonde Debray. 1979. Génétique et poétique: le cas Flaubert. In Essais de critique génétique. Paris: Flammarion, 21-67.
  • Lopes, Alexandra. 2012. Under the sign of Janus: reflections on authorship as liminality in translated literature. Revista Anglo Saxonica III (3): 129-156.
  • Munday, Jeremy. 2014. Using primary sources to produce a microhistory of translation and translators: theoretical and methodological concerns. Translator: Studies in Intercultural Communication 20 (1): 64-80.

ARIADNE NUNES (CEC, University of Lisbon)
JOANA MOURA (CEC, University of Lisbon/SUNY Stony Brook)
MARTA PACHECO PINTO (CEC, University of Lisbon )

Joint activity between MOV and Textualities projects of the Centre for Comparative Studies.