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BENJAMIN FONDANE: Translating Exile Guest Lecture and Book Launch

BENJAMIN FONDANE: Translating Exile Guest Lecture and Book Launch
BENJAMIN FONDANE: Translating Exile
Guest Lecture and Book Launch

Hybrid Conference

Tuesday, 21st May
University of Glasgow Main Campus
14:00 to 18:00

ASBS & PGT Building – Room 489 Seminar Room
Zoom link:
Meeting ID:           870 1468 6668
Passcode:   479310
Beyond the technical aspects of translation, the conference will explore the relationship between translation and exile, cultural identity, and the resistance to exile provided by poetry, correspondence, and translation. The discussions will include Avant-garde and Romanian literature, existential thought and poetry, and the Romanian artistic diaspora of the 1930s in France.
The guest speaker, Michel Carassou, is a leading specialist in Avant-garde movements, visual arts, and Surrealism in France. He is Director of the publishing house Non Lieu (, editor of Benjamin Fondane’s works, president of the Association Benjamin Fondane (Paris), co-editor of the Bulletin International Benjamin Fondane and Director of several collections on Mediterranean and Maghreb culture, East European Studies, and alternative culture.
This event will start with the book launch of the volume of Benjamin Fondane, Correspondances familiales (Editions Non Lieu, 2023) edited by Michel Carassou (Paris) and Vera Gajiu (University of Turin).

Benjamin Fondane (Ia?i: 1896 – Auschwitz-Birkenau: 1944) was a Romanian poet, philosopher, essayist, playwright, and filmmaker from a Jewish family, who emigrated to Paris in 1923 and adopted French for his poetic and philosophical writings. Recognized today as one of the most significant poets of the avant-garde (Le Mal des fantômes, Exodus, Ulysse, Titanic), he authored a famous critical essay against Surrealism (Faux Traité d’esthétique, 1938). He also produced influential theoretical studies on existential philosophy, including Heidegger, Shestov, and Albert Camus (La Conscience malheureuse, 1936), essays on Arthur Rimbaud (Rimbaud le voyou, 1929) and Baudelaire (Baudelaire et l’expérience du gouffre, 1947), cinema studies (Écrits pour le cinéma, 2015), and directed a film (Tararira, 1929) in Buenos Aires. A victim of Nazi persecution, he was at the centre of a Romanian intellectual diaspora in Paris, including Brâncu?i, Brauner, Cioran, Voronca, Lupasco, etc., and also played a key role in the journal Cahiers du Sud in Marseille.
The event will start with the book launch of an impressive volume of Fondane’s family correspondence, edited by Michel Carassou and Vera Gajiu (University of Verona), which sheds new light on the culture of exile, translation, and the complex identity of Romanian migration in the 1930s.

13:45: Welcome and Coffee – Introduction by Stephen Forcer and Olivier Salazar-Ferrer

14:00: Guest Lecture (in French with English translation)

Michel Carassou: Schwarzfeld vs Wechsler :  The family correspondence of Benjamin Fondane and the existential strategies of the Jews in Romania’
Michel Carassou is a leading specialist in Avant-garde movements and Surrealism in France. Director of the publishing house Non Lieu ( He is also the editor of Benjamin Fondane’s poetical, literary and philosophical works, including the new critical edition of Faux Traité d'esthétique (2023) with Olivier Salazar-Ferrer. He is also President of the Association Benjamin Fondane (Paris).

14:30: Vera Gajiu: "Dor de mama mea". Romania in the letters of Benjamin Fondane and His Family
Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Turin, Dr. Vera Gajiu’s works and publications focus on the didactics of French language and literature, genetic criticism, and literary and linguistic exile in French literature. She has published on Marthe Bibesco, Benjamin Fondane, Marina Tsvetaeva, Elsa Triolet, Vintila Horia, Dumitru Tsepeneag, Shumona Sinha and other translingual authors. She is the translator and co-author of the monograph Benjamin Fondane, Correspondances familiales 1905-1944 (Paris, Non Lieu, 2023) and is currently working on another monograph on Fondane and on an anthology. She has a three-year project (2023-2026) on Francophonie and Francophilie at the University of Turin and teaches French language and literature at the University of Ferrara.

15:00: Andrew Rubens: ‘A Human Cry: Translating Exodus’
Andrew Rubens holds a PhD from the University of Glasgow on Fondane’s approach to the limits of rational discourse: ‘Speaking from the ruins: Benjamin Fondane’s irresigned poetics’ (2021). He is a writer and translator whose translations of Fondane have been published by New York Review Books. He and Henry King’s translation of Exodus has received a PEN award and is currently looking for a publisher.

15:30: Questions and Discussion

16:00: Coffee Break

16:30: Ramona Fotiade: The Japanese Reception and Translation of Shestov’s and Fondane’s Writings
Dr. Fotiade's research (University of Glasgow) profile spans three inter-related areas of investigation in Twentieth-Century Studies: avant-garde literary movements, philosophy, and visual culture. She is the Co-Director of the Arts Lab theme Islands in the Global Age. She is the editor of Shestov Studies Society and the scholarly publication (Cahiers Léon Chestov) at the Paris-based publisher Le Bruit du Temps, directing the new critical edition of Lev Shestov’s complete works.

17:00: Exile and Translation in Poetry Today: Book Launch and Discussion about A Dire Shortage of Usable Meaning Two Poems by Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody, Madhat Press, 2024.

A conversation between Greg Kerr and Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody.

17:30: Closing Round Table with Michel Carassou, Vera Gajiu, Olivier Salazar-Ferrer, Greg Kerr, Ramona Fotiade,, Andrew Rubens, Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody.

Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody was born in Columbus, Ohio. His translations of French literature have been praised by reviewers in magazines and journals such as the London Review of Books, The New York Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review, French Studies and Translation Review. Recent publications include The Idea of Perfection: The Poetry and Prose of Paul Valery (FSG, 2020) and Benjamin Fondane's Ulysses (Syracuse, 2017), which received the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation. His translation of Lucien Rebatet's novel The Two Standards will be published by FSG in 2025. He is the author of two books of poetry in French, Même la langue and En lieu de silence.
Greg Kerr is a specialist in Modern French Poetry at the University of Glasgow. His last book: Exile, Non-Belonging and Statelessness in Grangaud, Jabès, Lubin and Luca: No man’s language (UCL Press, 2021) deals with the trans-national culture and literature, questioning the impact of the exile on poetry. He is also co-editor of a Modern Languages Open special collection on a related theme, Between borders: French-language poetry and the poetics of statelessness (2019).
The book Correspondances familiales and the complete collection of the Journal Titanic-Bulletin International Benjamin Fondane will be available in the conference room.
The hybrid conference ‘Benjamin Fondane - Translating Exile’ has received the support of the research Cluster "Critical Edition and Translation" (SMLC) and the Edward Taylor Memorial Lecture Bequest at the University of Glasgow. The event is part of the programme of the Research Cluster ‘Critical Editions and Translation’ and is co-organised by the Association Benjamin Fondane (Paris) and the University of Glasgow.


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