Professor continues rich work on James Joyce, presents at international conferences

Graduate student Mikaela Kelley, left, and Professor of English Jolanta Wawrzycka, right.
Graduate student Mikaela Kelley, left, and Professor of English Jolanta Wawrzycka, right.

Radford University Professor of English Jolanta Wawrzycka continued her rich academic portfolio on the works of renowned author James Joyce with three international presentations.

It began when Wawrzycka was invited to be on the panel discussing “The Art of James Joyce and William Butler Yeats: Language, Context and the Self” at the 2018 James Joyce Symposium at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

The presentation gave Wawrzycka the opportunity to discuss two Irish writers who have been part of her summer study abroad program, “Ireland’s Literary Trails,” since 2002.

In her paper titled “Translexion: Joyce’s Literary Appropriations of Yeats,” Wawrzycka covered Yeats’ influence on Joyce’s early poetry by studying Joyce’s borrowings from Yeats in terms of translation.

“I coined the term ‘translexion’ to name Joyce’s assimilation of words (lexes) and imagery found in Yeats but re-used to a very different artistic effect,” Wawrzycka said. “I became increasingly aware of this during the years of my study abroad travels to Ireland and reading Yeats/Joyce on site.”

Wawrzycka said that the years conducting the study abroad gave her a deep appreciation for the writings of both Yeats and Joyce, which led her to recently translating some of their works into Polish.

Wawrzycka’s second presentation at the University of Antwerp focused on her translation process. The goal of her talk, “Retrospective (re)arrangement” – Jottings on Retranslation,” was to share the results of her translation of Joyce’s “Ulysses.” The first Polish translation of “Ulysses” was published in 1969.

“I argued, among others, that translators who are also fiction writers can let their own creativity influence the style of the translated author and, for instance, change or even erase some features that are unique to that author,” Wawrzycka said. “This could be seen in terms of ‘translation as writing.’ In contrast, my own work is more like ‘retranslation as rewriting,’ because I’m producing a text in Polish by paying rigorous attention to Joyce’s original and to the Polish 1969 translation.”

As part of that work, Wawrzycka is working on another book to be published by Brill. The book will feature chapters on retranslations of Joyce into French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Polish, Turkish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian and Slovenian languages and the challenges that translators have to overcome in those respective languages.

Wawrzycka also traveled to the August Zurich James Joyce Foundation Workshop, an annual weeklong gathering of Joycean scholars. Each workshop is dedicated to a specific theme present in Joyce’s works. Wawrzycka has attended 17 of these workshops since 1992.

A bonus to this year’s Zurich workshop was that one of Wawrzycka’s graduate students, Mikaela Kelley, was invited to attend the workshop.

“I have been very lucky over the years to work with students interested in Joyce – many of whom also attended the Joyce Conference in Rome, but Mikaela is the first Radford University student to have also attended the Zurich Workshop,” Wawrzycka said. “I was very proud to see her fit so well with all the international scholars and to deliver her presentation like a pro.”

Wawrzycka’s presentation at the workshop centered around eco-Joyce and how Joyce’s works feature water and air creatures presented in the “context of the human.”

“That context includes not only the intersection of nature and cityscape, but also language: rhetorical figures and tropes,” Wawrzycka said. “Joyce lived all his life in the cities where rivers and other bodies of water were integral to cityscapes and provided Joyce with opportunities for interaction with, and reflection on, thriving marine and avian life.”

In another work, Wawrzycka collaborated with Serenella Zanotti, an Italian scholar, to edit a book “James Joyce’s Silences” released on May 31. The book is divided into four themes that deal with the aesthetics of silence and the language of silence, as well as writing silence and translating silence.

“We gathered a number of essays that explore Joyce’s various approaches to silence – from the absent because of the ellipsis or deliberate omission, to the unsaid but implied, to the unsaid as unknowable,” Wawrzycka said. “Given our belief that silence plays an important role in Joyce’s texts, as editors, we hope that this book opens up new thematic possibilities for Joyce scholarship.”

Sep 28, 2018
Max Esterhuizen