Stadt: Cambridge, England

Frist: 2018-02-23

Beginn: 2018-11-07

Ende: 2018-11-08

Key-note speaker: Professor Peter Burke, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

Guest of honour: Dacia Maraini, internationally acclaimed novelist, essayist, playwright, and translator

This conference intends to explore women’s roles in the circulation of ideas and the dissemination of knowledge in the Italian tradition, across the centuries, by means of translations. It focuses on the role of women as translators, as well as, more broadly, agents of all kinds (e.g. translations for women, commissioning of translations by women) in the production and circulation of translations.

In the last few decades an expanding corpus of scholarly works and research activities have greatly contributed to extending our knowledge of women’s roles in the history and cultures of translation, especially with reference to England, France, and Germany, whereas in the Italian tradition, the topic has so far not received the scholarly attention it deserves.

This conference aims to offer a contribution to the cultural history of translation in Italy, also taking into consideration the complex and varied linguistic situation of the peninsula. Translation has at times been deemed a compromise between women’s artistic aspirations and the perils of authorship of imaginative literature, a way for women to leave their mark in an otherwise hostile literary environment. In fact, research on the topic has shown that this understanding of the role of translation for women is limiting. Translating has encompassed both a private and public element: some women took up translation as a literary pastime, whereas others have depended on the income they received from it to make a living. Other women have engaged in translation alongside their own creative writing, interacting and collaborating in cultivated circles with eminent figures from the republic of letters, and others still have seen translation as a means of expressing their scholarship and erudition, or expressing their political engagement and ideological convictions. Some women translators, whether in domestic contexts or in convents, in salons or at court, made texts available for the benefit of readers less familiar with other languages. Historically, women have translated from (and into) classical languages, as well as from one modern language into another, or from one dialect into another.

Crossing linguistic and cultural boundaries, women have translated a variety of genres, from poetry, novels, and plays, to history, biography, conduct literature, economic and legal texts, religious and devotional writings, scientific and philosophical works.

Questions to be considered when submitting proposals, include, but are not limited to:

- women’s access to the study of classical and foreign languages; the metalinguistic tools and resources available to assist translators in their task, as well as practices of language learning; women translators and their access to and use of the Italian language, and their contribution to its development by means of translations; the multilingual and multicultural contexts of the Italian peninsula, and therefore the linguistic and cultural contexts in which translations took place and were received; women as patrons, printers, and readers of translations, and their role in the circulation of translations among countries; individual and collaborative translations; the ‘authorship’ of translations (e.g. published anonymously/under initials/full name); women translators’ reflections on translation; translation practices and attitudes; tactics of intercultural negotiations of ideas and meanings, and of adaptation of the original texts; modes of production and distribution of translations; influence and reception of translations for and/or by women; intended audiences and readerships; material aspects of works translated; manuscript and print translations. Contributions that discuss translations of Italian women writers’ works into other languages are also welcome.

‘Women, Language(s) and Translation in the Italian Tradition’ is generously supported by the Isaac Newton Trust and by the Italian Section, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge.


Presentations in English are strongly encouraged. Papers should be 20 minutes in length (+10 minutes of discussion). Proposals should be submitted in a single Word/Pdf document to the organiser Dr Helena Sanson (, and should contain the following information:

Name, Institutional affiliation (if any), Email, Title of the proposal and abstract (250-300 words), a short CV, with a list of your main publications (no more than 2 pages).

Proposals by postgraduate students and early career researchers are encouraged and particularly welcome.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 23 February 2018. Notification of acceptance will be made at the beginning of April 2018.

CONFERENCE FEE: the attendance fee will cover the costs for lunch and refreshments.

NOTE: pending the outcome of external funding applications, we MIGHT be able to provide assistance with travel and subsistence costs for postgraduate students speaking at the conference.

Beitrag von: Anna-Luise Wagner

Redaktion: Marcel Schmitt