Translation as utopia - Walter Benjamins in the context of Translation Studies

In this seminar, we will investigate Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin’s ideas on translation. The seminar will begin with a discussion of the biographical and historical context in which Benjamin’s works were written and which provided the framework for his ideas on translation theory. In the second half of the semester, the main focus of the seminar will be his essay on “The Task of the Translator” (Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers)*. Our discussion will be based on translations of this essay into other languages and selected secondary literature. Our analysis of the translations of this essay will also serve as a basis for examining the impact of different possible interpretations on translation(s).

*Benjamin, Walter. “The Task of the Translator” [introduction to Charles Baudelaire, Tableaux Parisiens, trans. Benjamin]. 1923. Trans. Harry Zohn. In: Benjamin, Illuminations. 1970. London: Collins (Fontana), 1973. 69-82.