For Yeats2015 Uppsala University presents a Yeats lecture by Dr Barry Sheils, University College Dublin.
The task of translation haunted W.B. Yeats, not only as a self-professed Anglo-Irish writer, but also as a modern writer cast upon the swelling tide of global English in the early-twentieth century. I argue that in Yeats’s Irish brand of English, conspicuously intended for international consumption, we can hear a strange echo of Goethe’s ambition for a Weltliteratur. Goethe famously wrote of translators that they were engaged in a ‘universal spiritual commerce’; for him translation was a difficult and often-distorted address from one linguistic culture to another. For Yeats, however, the challenges of translation did not lie only between different national languages, but largely within one globalising language, containing multiple and mutually interfering cultural registers. Focusing on his collaboration with the Bengali poet, and first non-European recipient of the Nobel Prize, Rabindranath Tagore – but also touching on the new abridged version of the Upanishads which he ‘put into English’ with Shri Purohit Swãmi in 1937 – I shall consider Yeats’s role in the creation of a global English language literature, paying attention to its cultural resonances in Ireland and its broad implications for the composition and study of modern poetry.
Followed by a reception hosted by the Karin Boye Library and the Embassy of Ireland, Stockholm.
Organised by The Celtic Section at the Department of English in conjunction with the Embassy of Ireland and Uppsala University Library, as part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of W.B. Yeats’s birth.
An exhibition about the life and work of W.B. Yeats is also running in the Karin Boye Library, Uppsala University, from Tuesday 19 May – Friday 5 June.
Further info. at www.engelska.uu.se