11th International Conference of the Estonian Association of Comparative Literature (EACL): “Belletristic Translation: A Means of Cultural-Spiritual Dialogue or a Tool of Acculturation?”

Estonian Association of Comparative Literature (EACL), Department of Literature of the University of Tartu
Closing date for submissions: 
30 April, 2015
Event dates: 
27.09.2015 - 30.09.2015
Prof. Jüri Talvet, Chair of World Literature, University of Tartu, Ülikooli 17-403, 51014 Tartu, Estonia, phone/fax 7375350

Estonian Association of Comparative Literature (EACL)




Belletristic Translation: A Means of Cultural-Spiritual Dialogue or a Tool of Acculturation?”


University of Tart u, Tartu, Estonia, September 27-30, 2015


EVKA, Tartu Ülikool, maailmakirjanduse õppetool, Ülikooli 17-403, Tartu 51014, EESTI

EACL, Tartu University, Chair of World Literature, Ülikooli 17-403, TARTU 51014, ESTONIA

Tel. (+372) 7 375-350, 375-319

Fax. (+372) 7 375-350;

E-mail: ,


Organizing Committee: Jüri Talvet (esimees/chairman), Arne Merilai, Liina Lukas, Katre Talviste, Katiliina Gielen, Lauri Pilter, Kersti Unt, Jaak Tomberg, Marja Unt, Pilvi Rajamäe.



Sponsored by


Eesti Kultuurkapital / Estonian Cultural Endowment


Tartu Ülikooli kultuuriteaduste ja kunstide osakond /Institute of Cultural Sciences and Arts of Tartu University


In recent years, the poetic work of the genius of Estonian poetry, Juhan Liiv (1864-1913), has become increasingly accessible outside Estonia and the Estonian language (his selected poems were published in English translation in 2013 and in Spanish translation in 2014). Near the beginning of the 20th century he wrote a poem “Puusärk” (‘A Coffin’), first published in 1927:



Puusärki ühte ma tean, I know a coffin

mis pahem kõikidest. of all the most sinister,

mis noore elu murrab, that wastes young life,

murrab jõu südamest. wastes the heart’s vigor.


See on ümberpanemine – It is translation —

töö armetum kõikidest, of jobs the most miserable,

ta kurja aja töö on, a job for hard times,

töö õelusest enesest. a job most cruel.


Ta noore luule murrab, It wastes young poetry,

ja noore kujutusjõu and young imagination,

ja noore heleda kiire and young brilliance,

ja noore ülema nõu. and young ambition.


Ta noori hingesid palju Many are the young souls

on ära hõiganud, it has tripped,

ta purustand noore kalju young rocks it has crushed,

ja tiivad lõiganud. wings it has clipped.


(Trans. by J. Talvet and H. L. Hix)


This, despite the fact of early translations of Liiv’s work (his short novel Vari (The Shadow) appeared in 1901 in Russian translation in Riga, and seven of his poems were published in 1911 in Finnish, translated by the renowned Finnish writer Aino Kallas), which helped sustain Liiv spiritually in a life burdened by poverty and mental illness.





11th International conference of the EACL “Literary Translation: A Means of Cultural-Spiritual Dialogue or a Tool of Acculturation?” is centered on the position of literary (belletristic) translation both in the past and in the present 21st century, when translation not only has become a fundamental factor in the spread of literary works in the world (with thousands of people daily engaged in it), but also an ample research field – translation science, translation criticism, translation philosophy, translation semiotics, as a primarily important segment of comparative literary studies – has emerged.



The conference papers and academic discussion are expected to provide answers to the following questions:


  • What is the position of belletristic translation in national literatures in different cultural regions of the world, in big and small cultures? What is characteristic of the reception of translated works? Have important works of world literature appeared in national editions with duly prepared introductory treatments and commentaries, i. e. have translated works become part of national culture or is translation and translation publishing just mainly a commercial enterprise? To what extent are translated works in a national culture supported by their treatment in (national) criticism, literary and cultural science? Are translated works sufficiently related to one’s „own“ culture, language and literature? If not, what are the reasons? To what extent have national cultures been able to describe national translation history of world literature? To what extent are big, smaller, and minority literatures of the world literature canon represented in a national translation history? What are the main features of the reception of translated works in the main branches (prose fiction, poetry, drama) of national cultures? (What specific factors have enhanced or restrained generic reception? For instance, how has the translation of dramatic works influenced national theatre? Are the world drama of the past and the present sufficiently represented in the national theatre? What is the role of translation in the formation and modification of national languages? How is world literature in translation represented in the study programs of literature of national universities and schools? How is it related with literature created in one’s „own“ language? What could be the ideal model of teaching literature at the world’s universities and schools? To what extent national cultures and literatures are able to resist acculturation, i.e. being swallowed and absorbed both by mass culture produced above all by big nations and cultural fashions reaching in the first place from political-economic „centers“ (processes to which translation importantly contributes)? What could be national defense mechanisms as regards the danger of the disappearance of national-cultural identity? (What is the role of translation and translation criticism in it?) What are the national possibilities of cultural journalism and publishing houses in contributing to the reception of translated world literature? Are they sufficient and efficient? What for instance could be done by the educational and cultural mechanisms of the European Union and national communities, to favor versatile translation and treatment of world literature in national cultures, universities and schools? Are the existing measures exhaustive? What are the main challenges of literary-belletristic translation in the 21st Century? How has the virtual literary space (Internet) influenced the reception of world literature in translation and the modification of the canon of world literature?



The main working language of the conference will be English but papers can also be presented in French, Spanish and German. In the latter cases, a summary of one to two pages in English should be mailed to the organizers by Sept 1, 2015. The summary will be made available to the participants during the conference. There will be no translation of the papers at the conference.

The deadline for submitting the application form, containing the final title of a 20-minute paper and a 200 – 300 word abstract, is April 30, 2015. All participants who have returned their application form on time and whose abstract has been accepted will receive an official invitation to the conference issued by the University of Tartu. The papers of the conference will be published in the monographic number of the journal of the EACL, Interlitteraria (21, 2016).

The conference fee is 50 Euros, payable to the Chairwoman of the ECLA, Mrs. Kersti Unt, at the registration of the conference. The registration fee will cover lunches provided for the participants during the conference (Sept 28, 29, 30). As a rule, it is expected that the participants themselves pay for their accommodation in Tartu. Only exceptionally, organizers may consider covering, entirely or partly, the accommodation costs of participants who come from countries with hard currency difficulties. Organizers will gladly assist with reservations (the prices vary from 25 to 80 Euros per night).

For conference participants from foreign countries, there will be a guided walking tour in Tartu in the afternoon of the day of arrival.

Efforts will be made by the organizers to meet the participants from foreign countries at the Airport or the Passengers’ Port of Tallinn and to assist with the transfer to Tartu (2.5 hours by bus) where they will be met at the bus or railway station. In any event, it is also not too expensive to take a taxi from the Tallinn Airport or Tallinn Passengers’ Port to the coach station.

Participants from a number of countries (USA, Canada, most European countries, etc) can enter Estonia without a visa. We advise the participants from more distant countries (in Asia, Latin-America, Africa), in case there is no Estonian embassy or consular office in their native country, to obtain the Estonian visa either from some of the neighbouring countries or from the Estonian embassy in Stockholm, Helsinki or Copenhagen, on the way to Estonia. Unfortunately, the Estonian visa cannot be obtained upon crossing the border of Estonia.

For the weather conditions in Tartu, look in Google at: http://ilm.ee


Sept. 27, 2015 is the day of arrival of the conference participants. The official opening dinner of the Conference, with the presentation of “Interlitteraria” 20, 2015, will take place in the evening of Sept. 28. The full working days of the conference are Sept. 28, 29 and 30, 2015.


Full texts of the conference papers should be presented by January 31, 2016 for their publication in the monographic issue of the international journal Interlitteraria, 21, 1-2, 2016 (http://www.tyk.ee/interlitteraria-ee; Indexing: Central and Eastern European Online Library (CEEOL), ERIH PLUS; Access: CEEOL (open access); ISSN: 1406-0701).


The Conference Working Programme will be released by August 31, 2015



Please e-mail to Prof. Jüri Talvet , or , or send the application form via regular mail to Prof. Jüri Talvet, Chair of World Literature, Tartu University, Ülikooli 17-403, Tartu 51014, Estonia.


11th International Conference of the EACL

Belletristic Translation: A Means of Cultural-Spiritual Dialogue

or a Tool of Acculturation?”

Tartu University, Sept. 27 - 30, 2015


Application Form




First name(s): Surname:


Full address, (including telephone and E-mail):




Institutional affiliation:


Position title(s):


Title of the conference paper:



A short abstract of the paper (200-300 words):














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