1st Edition

Translating Memories of Violent Pasts Memory Studies and Translation Studies in Dialogue

Edited By Claudia Jünke, Désirée Schyns Copyright 2023
    262 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection brings together work from Memory Studies and Translation Studies to explore the role of interlingual and intercultural translation for unpacking transcultural memory dynamics, focusing on memories of violent pasts across different literary genres.

    The book explores the potential of a research agenda that links narrower definitions of translation with broader notions of transfer, transmission, and relocation across temporal and cultural borders, investigating the nuanced theoretical and conceptual dimensions at the intersection of memory and translation. The volume explores memories of violent pasts – legacies of war, genocide, dictatorship, and exile across different genres and media, including testimony, autobiography, novels, and graphic novels. The collection engages in central questions at the interface of Memory Studies and Translation Studies, including whether traumatic historical experiences that resist representation can be translated, what happens when texts that negotiate such memories are translated into other languages and cultures, and what role translation strategies, translators, and agents of translations play in memory across borders.

    The volume will be of particular interest to students and scholars in Translation Studies, Memory Studies, and Comparative Literature.

    List of Contributors



    Introduction: Translating Memories of Violent Pasts

    Claudia Jünke and Désirée Schyns


    1. Thoughts on Translation and Memory
    2. Susan Bassnett


    3. Mnemonic Translation and the Politics of Visibility
    4. Lucy Bond


    5. ‘As if carved in stone’: Primo Levi and the (In)Stability of Memory in Translation
    6. Mary Wardle


    7. From ‘Living on’ to ‘Still Alive’ and ‘Lost on the Way’: Exile, Memory, and Intersectionality as a Translation ‘of One’s Own’ in Ruth Klüger’s Autobiographical Texts
    8. Marie-Pierre Harder


    9. Modiano’s Dark Light of Remembrance in Translation: Paratextual Mediation of La place de l’étoile in German, Dutch, and English
    10. Désirée Schyns


    11. The Editorial Framing of Polish and Spanish Translations of Jorge Semprún’s Novel Le mort qu’il faut and the Contexts of their Reception
    12. Małgorzata Gaszyńska-Magiera


    13. Robert Schopflocher’s Self-Translation in Argentinian Exile: Reflections on German-Jewish Cultural Memory and Collective Identity
    14. Philippe Humblé and Arvi Sepp


    15. Translatio inferni: Roberto Bolaño’s Memory of the Nazis in America
    16. Nora Zapf


    17. Translating Genocide? The Case of the Witness Esther Mujawayo
    18. Vera Elisabeth Gerling


    19. Translating Wounds in the Contemporary Memoir: The Genocide in Rwanda and Its Aftermath in Clemantine Wamariya’s The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    20. Katarzyna Macedulska


    21. Translation, Trauma, and Memory in Petit pays (Gaël Faye)
    22. Anneleen Spiessens


    23. Collaborative Translation and the Remediation of Intergenerational Memory in Leila Abdelrazaq’s Baddawi
    24. Tamara Barakat


    25. The Graphic Memoir in a Translational Perspective: Childhood Memories of War in Zeina Abirached’s Mourir partir revenir: Le jeu des hirondelles and Je me souviens Beyrouth
    26. Claudia Jünke


    27. Bridging Communities Affected by Past Conflict: Translation and the Processes of Memory

    Cecilia Rossi




    Claudia Jünke is Professor of Spanish and French Literatures and Cultures at the Department of Romance Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Her research is centred on modern and contemporary literatures in Spain, France, and Latin America, with a focus on memory, narrative, subjectivity, and intermediality.

    Désirée Schyns is Associate Professor of Translation Studies and Translation at Ghent University, Belgium. She is the author of La mémoire littéraire de la guerre d’Algérie dans la fiction algérienne francophone and has published widely on translation of francophone literature. Her literary translations into Dutch include works by Hélène Cixous and Marcel Proust.

    Memory travels in translation. Translation is an act of memory. Translating Memories of Violent Pasts stages a rich conversation between experts from memory studies and translation studies. Their essays not only throw light on where two vibrant research fields meet, but also demonstrate compellingly the stakes of memory translation in our age of violence and trauma. An enlightening read!

    Astrid Erll, Goethe University Frankfurt