Thursday, 5 July 2007

Exciting New Glamorgan Research Decodes English, Welsh, German Translations for Theatrical Adaptation, Fiction, Poetry and Novels

Pictured above: Dr. Katja Krebs, author of the new book, 'Cultural Dissemination and Translational Communities'.

In our continuing list of books for your summer reading . . .

There's a lot of discussion these days in film and theatre circles about translation and adaptation, subjects which are particularly impotant to both the literature and National cinema of Wales.

Dr. Katja Krebs has just completed an important new work on German Theatre works, which were translated and adapted to the English stage, and the Welsh Music, Film and Books Symposium recommends this new book for your summer reading:

Katja’s main research interests are in areas related to theatre history, historiography and translation studies.

She is particularly interested in the relationship between translation practice and dramatic tradition.

In addition to her numerous papers presented at conferences relating to her areas of research, she was invited to give the opening lecture at the ‘European Theatre in Translation’ conference in Dublin in 2004 and has been asked to contribute to the seminar series hosted by the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, in 2006.

She is keeping busy at the moment by founding a new journal on translation and adaptation for theatre and film (to be published by Intellect) with her University of Glamorgan colleague Professor Richard Hand.

Cultural Dissemination and Translational Communities
German Drama in English Translation, 1900-1914
by Dr. Katja Krebs
ISBN 1-900650-99-1

The early twentieth century is widely regarded as a crucial period in British theatre history: it witnessed radical reform and change with regard to textual, conceptual and institutional practices and functions.

Theatre practitioners and cultural innovators such as translators Harley Granville Barker, William Archer and Jacob Thomas Grein, amongst others, laid the foundations during this period for – what is now regarded to be – modern British theatre.

In this groundbreaking work, Katja Krebs offers one of the first extended attempts to integrate translation history with theatre history by analyzing the relationship between translational practice and the development of domestic dramatic tradition.

She examines the relationship between the multiple roles inhabited by these cultural and theatrical reformers – directors, playwrights, critics, actors and translators – and their positioning in a wider social and cultural context.

Here, she takes into consideration the translators as members of an artistic network or community, the ideological and personal factors underlying translational choices, the contemporaneous evaluative framework within which this translational activity for the stage occurred, as well as the imprints of social and cultural traces within specific translated texts.

Krebs employs the examples from this period in order to raise a series of wider issues on translating dramatic texts which are important to a variety of periods and cultures.

Cultural Dissemination and Translational Communities demonstrates that an analysis of stage-translational practices allows for an understanding of theatre history that avoids being narrowly national and instead embraces an appreciation of cultural hybridity.

The importance of translational activity in the construction of a domestic dramatic tradition is demonstrated within a framework of interdisciplinarity that enhances our understanding of theatrical, translational as well as cultural and social systems at the international level.

Katja has also collaborated as co-editor with Welsh language translator Christopher Meredith.

[Pictured above: Christopher Meredith, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Glamorgan]

Christopher Meredith is a novelist and poet from Wales. He was born and brought up in Tredegar.

He lives with his wife in Brecon and is professor of creative writing at the University of Glamorgan.

He has published three collections of poetry, This, Snaring Heaven and The Meaning of Flight and three novels, Shifts, Griffri and Sidereal Time. He has also translated a Welsh language novel, Melog by Mihangel Morgan, into English.

Meredith, C. (2005) Ed. with Katja Krebs, Five Essays on Translation (Pontypridd: University of Glamorgan, 2005). 73pp. ISBN 1–84054— 120–2 Awdur: Christoper Meredith, Grahame, Davies, Katja Krebs, Lisa Lewis, Sheenagh Pugh, Claudine Tourniaire.

Buy it Now From GWALES

Melog, by Mihangel Morgan, trans Christopher Meredith (SEREN £7.99)

"This novel contains some fine comic touches, all wonderfully skewed in support of the Welsh nation (this publication is the first English translation of the original Welsh text)."

"Melog, for example, speaks excellent Welsh thanks to a strange young teacher called Cadwaladr who travelled to Laxaria and, with great enthusiasm, taught the local youths English."

"The children became more and more proficient in "the world's greatest language" until a school inspector revealed that Cadwaladr had, in fact, been teaching them Welsh."

"Although the pace is sometimes a little too frenetic, Melog remains a highly original, alternately hilarious and poignant satire on political oppression and a moving tale about loneliness." [A review from The Independent ]

Christopher Meredith

St. Jerome Publishing

Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries


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© 2007 Mark Leslie Woods

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Sunday, 1 July 2007

European Scholars' Debate: Is Wales Postcolonial or Post-National, or both?

Is Wales Postcolonial? Scholars continue to debate this issue, and there are some very entrenched and opposing views:

Welsh historian Geraint H. Jenkins tells us,

"Some historians have simply presumed that the political assimilation of Wales by England necessarily meant that the history of this ‘internal colony’ was no more than a tranquil and uneventful interlude between the rebellions of the fifteenth century and the epoch-making industrial revolution." (Prys Morgan, Tempus Publishing Ltd. 2001: 74)

Describing Wales as an ‘internal colony’ of England during this or any period, or variously describing Wales as colony/former colony/neo-colony, etc. of England, raises the question as to whether postcolonial theory is applicable in the case of Wales, which is not without controversy.

'Postcolonial Wales' is a collection of edited essays derived from a one day conference “exploring aspects of contemporary Welsh cultural & political life from 'Postcolonial' theoretical and critical perspectives” considered this question on 13 July 2002 at the University of Glamorgan, Wales, and the papers from this conference address the question in a recently published book, edited by Jane Aaron and Chris Williams.

Media scholars tend to see Wales, at least as far as film and media are concerned, in some state of colonial or post-colonial status:

In his new book 'Film, Television and the Break Up of Britain' Professor Steve Blandford has asserted that, while some areas of governance of newly-devolved Wales have achieved a certain level of independence from England, i.e., ‘postcolonial Wales’, Welsh film and television are still subject to residual colonial controls based in London (Aaron and Williams 2005: 191; Blandford 2007: 91).

Professor Dave Barlow (in the recent book, 'The Media in Wales: Voices of a Small Nation' which he co-authored with Philip Mitchell, and Tom O'Malley) confirms that this continuing monopoly of news and copy-righted-entertainment production and marketing in Wales by England and Hollywood is pervasive not only in film and television, but extends throughout other media (Barlow, Mitchell et al. 2005: 34).

Swedish scholar Dr. Johan Schimanski,

an Associate Professor from the Norwegian Universitetet i Tromsø, and former Visiting Professor of Border Studies at the Centre for Border Studies at the University of Glamorgan, has compared post-colonial Norway to post-colonial Wales in his lecture entitled:

Cultural and Political Nationalism in Wales

Johan Schimanski writes:

"Like post-colonial Norway, post-colonial Wales has no aristocracy of its own. I mention this right at the end of my talk to give a hint of what is to come."

"The rise of a Welsh-speaking middle-class has lent prestige to the Welsh language, and has, with the help of the new Welsh-language media and education establishment moved the focal point of Welsh-language culture away from Y Fro Gymraeg - where Welsh-speakers top in percentages of local populations - and to the great cities of Swansea and Cardiff - where Welsh-speakers top in absolute numbers per square kilometre [Aitchinson 1994:91,94]."

"The tensions involved in this hardly expected turn in what we might call the ongoing crisis of representation in the Welsh nation must continue or be resolved, perhaps at some point providing new figurations of the gap between cultural and political borders."

Schimanski, Johan. "Cultural and Political Nationalism in Wales". In Nationalism in Small European Nations ("KULTs skriftserie"). Ed. Øystein Sørensen. Oslo: The Research Council of Norway, 1996.

We recommend both books, by scholars David M. Barlow, Philip Mitchell, and Tom O'Malley, and the collection edited by scholars Jane Aaron and Chris Williams.

Here's the published synopsis of Postcolonial Wales:

"Postcolonial Wales, edited by Jane Aaron and Chris Williams, is collection of essays that uses questions, hypotheses and concepts drawn from postcolonial theory to understand the culture and politics of post-devolution Wales."

"Beginning with discussions of how Wales as a nation has been understood historiographically, as well as historically, the book focuses in the next section on society and politics in post-devolution Wales. "

"The final section of the volume considers Welsh cultural difference in terms of literature, the mass media, music, drama and the visual arts. Flexible in approach and diverse in their approaches, each contribution aims to stimulate ideas and suggest new ways of thinking about contemporary Wales."

Zoë Brigley, a Postgraduate Fellow at the University of Warwick in her post entitled,

Chris Williams: ‘Problematizing Wales: An Exploration in Historiography and Postcoloniality’


"In this essay, Williams begins by rejecting any models of Wales as a post-colonial nation, but he does embrace aspects of postcolonial theory such as ‘ambivalence, hybridity and post-nationality’ which might be useful in considering Wales as a marginal region (13)."

"William sees ambivalence as bound up with Wales’ complicity with the English and British. There is also hybridity in the ‘migration, settlement and intermarriage’ in Wales: what Williams calls ‘Wales’ “fuzzy borders” and its long inheritance of multicultural experiences, if not of multiculturalism’ (14). "

"Williams is adamant that hybridity has often been ignored by critics and commentators in Wales, yet possibilities might be found in the view of selfhood that defines postcolonial theory."

Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries


Click here to go directly to my personal blog page called Welsh-American Family Genealogy, on the World Wide Web.

Click here to go directly to my personal blog page called Welsh Music, Film, and Books Symposium, on the World Wide Web.

Click here to go directly to my personal blog page called Celtic Cult Cinema on the World Wide Web.

Visit the UK Film Studies and World Cinema and Music Import Showcase

© 2007 Mark Leslie Woods

Smart & Sexy? Your Queer Advantage is waiting!