The new methodology of ‘distant reading’, pioneered by the Italian literary scholar Franco Moretti, enables us to study vast corpora of literary texts, without reading a single book. Yet such an approach might seem, at first glance, inappropriate for the genre of poetry. Instead, in this lecture, drawing on my forthcoming manuscript, I argue that distant reading is eminently suited to studying poetry in translation, within a framework of world literature, sociology of literature, and translation studies. We are thus able to pinpoint translation trends, analyse cross-cultural literary influence, and investigate poetry careers. I will demonstrate how using statistics to investigate poetry sheds light on the translation activity of modern English, French, and Italian poets and reshapes our notion of national and international poetry canons.

Jacob Blakesley
Jacob Blakesley

Jacob Blakesley is University Academic Fellow in World Literatures at the University of Leeds Centre for Translation Studies, and Co-Director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies.
He is author of Modern Italian Poets: Translators of the Impossible (University of Toronto Press, 2014) and editor of the forthcoming collection Sociologies of poetry translation (Bloomsbury). He is also the co-editor of the special journal issue, 'Poetry Translation: Agents, Actors, Networks, Contexts' (Translation and Literature, 25:1 2016).

Organiser: Romanska och klassiska institutionen
Contact: Cecilia Schwartz
No registration required