Translating or performing? Joyce’s fugue in experimental translation

Autieri, Arianna. 2023. 'Translating or performing? Joyce’s fugue in experimental translation'. In: Experiential Translation Network. Online Seminar. Online, United Kingdom 22 March 2024. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Following James Joyce’s claim that the “Sirens” episode of Ulysses imitates a fuga per canonem, scholars have variously sought to identify a fugal form in it (e.g. Zimmerman 2002, Witen 2018), or to define its other musical qualities (e.g. Shockley 2009). Where disagreement between scholars makes it unclear for the reader of “Sirens” how music and language can interact in the episode, Kathrine O’Callaghan has recently drawn scholars’ attention to the performative dimension of music, emphasising the need for a more active role on the part of the reader in bringing to life the language of “Sirens” to appreciate its musical qualities (2009; 2018, 2020).

In my forthcoming monograph, I contribute to studies in this field from the standpoint of a translator, a reader who concretely “performs” the ST’s score with the linguistic material of the target language. Specifically understanding translation as “interpretive” and “partial” rather than “faithful” and “total” (e.g. Lukes 2023; Reynolds 2019), I rely on “experimental translation” (Robert-Foley 2020) as a means to make visible my translator’s “performance” of the ST (Scott 2018), graphically foregrounding my musical reading and interpretation of the ST’s “word music” (Scher 1970), the songs embedded in the main text (Bowen 1995), and the leitmotifs of “Sirens”. This paper will introduce some of the key principles of my forthcoming study and will present some examples from my experimental musical translation of “Sirens”.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


8 November 2023Accepted
22 March 2024Completed

Event Location:

Online, United Kingdom

Date range:

22 March 2024

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Date Deposited:

17 Jun 2024 15:53

Last Modified:

17 Jun 2024 15:53


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