Global Huck: Mapping the Cultural Work of Translations of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Editors: Shelley Fisher Fishkin (Stanford University, USA), Ronald Jenn (Université de Lille, France), Selina Lai-Henderson (Duke Kunshan University, China), Tsuyoshi Ishihara (University of Tokyo, Japan), Holger Kersten (University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)
This Special Forum will explore the cultural work done by translations of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn around the world. It will examine how a range of social, cultural, political, and historical contexts—as well as the agendas of translators and publishers and the expectations of readers—have shaped responses to the novel outside of the US from its publication to the present. As of 2019, the novel has been translated into at least sixty-three languages, with multiple editions in many languages.
We particularly welcome contributions in the following areas (but are open to many others):
§ How specific translations handle Twain’s social critique
§ What translators’ and editors’ omissions reveal about their social and political anxieties and blind spots
§ How translations intervene in cultural conversations about childhood, education, authority, race, slavery, morality, religion, language politics, dialect, etc., in various countries at various moments in time
§ Comparative discussions of the illustrations
§ How translators deal with offensive racial epithets
§ The influence of translations of Huckleberry Finn on later writers in particular countries
§ How translations shape attitudes about the US around the world
§ How Twain’s humor translates
§ Adaptations and uses of the novel in films, anime, music, advertising, popular culture, etc.
Essays may be comparative in nature, or may focus on a particular translation. We also welcome theoretical translation studies essays on transnational issues rooted in translations of Huckleberry Finn; and short essays by translators on the challenges of translating particular passages (such as Pap’s “Call this a govment” rant in Chapter 6 and Huck’s battle with his conscience ending with “All right then, I’ll go to hell!” in Chapter 31).
While we are open to studies of the racial politics of the novel in a broad range of global contexts, we particularly welcome investigations of this topic in
· the Afrikaans translation by famous anti-apartheid writer André Brink (Capetown. 1963)
· the Portuguese translation by celebrated São Tomé-born Afro-Portuguese poet José Tenreiro (Lisbon,1973
We also welcome examinations of the cultural politics of neglected translations including
· the Yiddish translation published in Kiev in 1929
· Vietnamese versions published in Hanoi and Saigon in the 1960s
· translations in languages of the former Soviet Union (Armenian, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Tatar, and Turkmen) and languages of the Baltic countries (Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian)
· translations into languages of the India sub-continent (Assamese, Bengali, Gujarat, Hindi, and Telugu)
Proposals of up to 400 words should be sent to [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]> along with a short bio of the author. We welcome traditional articles of 4,000 to 6,000 words or micro-essays of 1,200 words.
Proposals are due by January 1st, 2020
Notification of acceptance by February 1st, 2020
Final essays due June 15th, 2020
Publication will be contingent on acceptance by peer-reviewers and the JTAS editorial board. Essays should be in English. They may include direct quotations in other languages alongside English translations of those quotations.
The first book-length study of Mark Twain published anywhere came out in Paris in 1884, penned by French critic Henry Gauthier-Villard. Scholars who have examined Mark Twain’s international appeal include Archibald Henderson (1911), Roger Asselineau (1954), Howard Baetzhold (1970), Robert M. Rodney (1982), Carl Dolmetsch (1993), Holger Kersten (1993, 1999, 2005), Shelley Fisher Fishkin (1997, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2019), Raphaele Berthele (2000), Judith Lavoie (2002), Tsuyoshi Ishihara (2005), Ronald Jenn (2006), Selina Lai-Henderson (2015), and Paula Harrington and Ronald Jenn (2017).
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Jenn, Ronald. “From American Frontier to European Borders: Publishing French Translations of Mark Twain’s Novels Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (1884–1963).” Book History 9 (2006): 235–60.
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