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Mary Bryden

University of Reading
Translating the First World War
01 February 2015 - 30 June 2015

The First World War is distinctive as the first major war in modern times to be proceeding alongside a chorus of European literary responses to it. Some of the narratives produced on both sides during the conflict were very rapidly circulated and translated. In other cases, a period of adjustment to, and absorption of, the traumatic experiences of war was necessary before writing could be initiated.  This intercalary phenomenon resulted in a wave of war-related narratives appearing some ten years after the Armistice. Some writer-combatants wished to set down their experience and then leave it behind them, while others continued to rework the material for many years afterwards.  Some dwelt on the noxious residue of the events, while others, after prolonged reflection on the extreme nature of what their nation had required of them, turned towards pacifist or anarchist movements. This project will focus mainly on this second wave of war literature, informed by the evolving cultural evaluation which these works have received during the intervening century. While recent centenary commemorations have concentrated mainly on the War on the Western Front, this project will pay special attention to the Eastern Front, and especially the Arab Revolt. It will trace the sometimes uneasy relationships between veterans of the trenches and veterans of the desert. It will analyse in particular the writing of T E Lawrence which, with its complex blend of history, literature, and autobiography, exemplifies the difficulty (experienced by many writer-combatants) of ‘translating’ an internal encounter with the trauma of war into an external form which is visible to all.  Moreover, the translation of Lawrence’s writing into French offers further perspectives on the transnational negotiations – accentuated by the phenomenon of war – which operate between author, translator, publisher, critic, and reader.

Workshop organised by Mary Bryden, fellow at the Paris IAS
12 May 2015 09:30 -
12 May 2015 17:30,
Paris :
Translating World War One: The Case of T. E. Lawrence
Journée d’étude organisée par Mary Bryden, résidente à l'IEA de Paris, le 12 mai 2015.
Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region