Plenary Speakers

Literature: Alfred Thomas, The University of Illinois, Chicago
"Shakespeare's Bohemia: Religious Toleration in an Age of Confessional Polarization"

Cultural and area studies: Melvyn Stokes, University College London, United Kingdom
“A World We Have Lost: Remembering cinema and cinema-going in 1960s Britain”

Translation Studies: Marta Mateo, University of Oviedo, Spain
"The sound of English literature in musical translation”

Linguistics: Josef Schmied, Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany
"Functional Linguistic Approaches to Non-Native Academic Writing: Global Comparisons of Abstracts, Theses and Articles”


Alfred Thomas, University of Illinois, Chicago

Alfred Thomas is a professor at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois. He gained his PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Cambridge University. In 2014 he was the inaugural Kosciuszko Foundation Visiting Professor at the University of Warsaw, Poland. His research focuses on the cultures of pre-modern and modern Central Europe and on literary links between England and Bohemia in the medieval and early-modern period. He has published broadly in the area (e.g. Shakespeare, Dissent and the Cold War, 2014; Cultures of Forgery: Making Nations, Making Selves, 2005; Reading Women in Late Medieval Europe: Anne of Bohemia and Chaucer's Female Audience, 2015). His teaching interests are broad, comparative, and cover the medieval and early modern periods.

Plenary lecture: Shakespeare's Bohemia: Religious Toleration in an Age of Confessional Polarization

Abstract: Alfred Thomas argues that far from being ignorant of the location and significance of Bohemia in his play “The Winter’s Tale” (as Ben Jonson famously stated), William Shakespeare could easily have heard about this landlocked country’s ecumenical reputation for religious toleration from English players returning to London from central European cities like Danzig, Koenigsberg and Prague, where they performed their plays in English. In the same year that “The Winter’s Tale” was performed at court in London (1609), Rudolf II issued his “Letter of Majesty” which granted religious toleration to his Protestant subjects within the Habsburg territories. This lecture argues that this was no coincidence and that Shakespeare's plays “King Lear” and “The Winter’s Tale” can be read as impassioned appeals not only for religious toleration in an intolerant age but also provide a powerful contrast between the oppressiveness of English religious politics and the more enlightened situation in France and Central Europe in the early years of the seventeenth century.

Melvyn Stokes, University College London, United Kingdom

Melvyn Stokes is Professor of Film History at University College London (UCL) and Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded “Remembering 1960s British Cinema-going” project. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Princeton, a Fulbright Exchange Professor at Mount Holyoke College and a Visiting Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. For six years (2008-14) he was president of SERCIA, the association of European film scholars working on English-speaking movies. Melvyn has published books on D. W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” (2007), Gilda (2010) and American History through Hollywood Film (2013). He is particularly interested in the study of movie audiences and has organised two large conferences and co-edited five books on the subject. 

Plenary lecture: A World We Have Lost: Remembering cinema and cinema-going in 1960s Britain

Abstract: The memories of those who went to the cinema in Britain in the 1960s have been shaped by many things, including the age, gender, class, region and sexual orientation of those doing the remembering. Often, memories are also influenced by the ageing process (audiences were supposedly quieter and better-behaved than today, there was much less eating and drinking in cinemas) and precisely how old people actually were at the time. Some people recall British social realist/‘kitchen sink’ films of the first half of the decade as being closer to the lives they themselves were leading. Others, like the gay man who recalls Victim (1961) as the first British film to address homosexuality directly, found solace in particular films. Yet British films are far from being the only ones people remember. American movies continued to dominate the British market, as they had since the 1920s, and many have memories of a favourite musical or the cultural shock of seeing films such as The Graduate or Bonnie and Clyde (both 1967). Moreover, in the era (though hopefully not the reality) of Brexit, many people remember how open Britain was becoming in the 1960s to films from continental Europe. It was not only the films people remember, however, but also the habits and rituals of British cinema-going in the 1960s: the queues, ushers patrolling with torches to keep order, choc ices and Kia-Ora drinks in the interval, playing the national anthem at the end. This lecture, based on a three-year research project that collected almost 1000 people’s memories of 60s cinema-going from across the UK, will offer a reconstruction of the past through memory that is itself a discourse, open to further questioning and analysis.

Marta Mateo, University of Oviedo, Spain

Marta Mateo is a Professor of English Studies at the University of Oviedo, Spain, where she teaches Translation Theory, Literary Translation, English Phonetics and Phonology and English Intonation. Her research centers on the translation of humour, drama and, more recently, musical texts. She has published a translation dictionary-guide, Diccionario-guía de traducción español-inglés inglés-español, in collaboration with Brian Mott (2009). Besides her interest in translation theory she has done professional translation too, producing, for instance, the Spanish version of Egil Törnqvist’s Transposing Drama or an 18th-century classic of English literature, Tobias Smollett’s The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, which won her the 2013 Translation Award given by the Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies.

Plenary lecture: The sound of English literature in musical translation

Abstract: This lecture will explore the rich and complex relationship between English literature, music and translation. Literary texts have very often provided the source for musical texts, moving across genre and time boundaries, and English literature has been particularly fruitful in this regard: plays, narrative texts and poetry from different writers and periods –Shakespeare, Sheridan, Wilde, Shaw, Henry James, Crabbe, etc.- have been turned into operas, stage/film musicals and/or songs of various types. Apart from that, reflections on the association between words and music can be found both in –fiction and non-fiction- works by English-language writers (e.g. Samuel Beckett or W.H. Auden) as well as in musical creations by composers such as Benjamin Britten.

The journeys made by literary texts have often also implied being transposed into a different language and culture - translation thus making the movements between genres and periods even more complex and interesting. This lecture will therefore first discuss the connections between literature and music, illustrating them with some remarkable examples in the English language while also touching on some theoretical issues that they raise –relating to the concepts of meaning, authorship, language functions, ‘voice’, reception, adaptation, identity, etc. The second part will be devoted to the translation of musical texts, with examples from English vocal music, all derived from English literary texts and belonging to different musical genres. Adopting a functional approach as well as Peter Low’s useful and convincing Pentathlon Principle for music translation (2005), the analysis of these texts in translated form will illustrate how different textual strategies will commonly be adopted for the target text depending on various factors, such as the purpose of the translation, the translation modality chosen (sung translation, surtitling, subtitling, dubbing, rewriting, ...), the genre of the musical text, the specific languages involved in the process, etc. The sound of English literature will therefore travel diversely in the various types of musical translation.

Josef Schmied, Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany

Josef Schmied has held the Chair of English Language & Linguistics at Chemnitz University of Technology since April 1993. His main research interests are in Language & Culture, such as sociolinguistics, English in Africa and (South) East Asia, Academic English, and in Language & Computers, such as corpus-linguistics, e-learning, and Internet English. He has been active in the ICE (International Corpus of English) and ESSE (European Society for the Study of English) networks.
His current research projects focus on the use of internet data in linguistic analysis, disciplinary conventions of academic writing, and national and subnational variation of Englishes in West & East Africa and China. Current internationally funded projects include “Credibility, Honesty, Ethics, and Politeness in Academic and Journalistic Writing” in cooperation with Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, and Serbia (DAAD) and “Academic Writing for Young Academics in Africa: The Journal Article” (Volkswagen Foundation).

Plenary lecture: Functional Linguistic Approaches to Non-Native Academic Writing: Global Comparisons of Abstracts, Theses and Articles

Abstract: This presentation aims to add theoretical perspectives to current practices in three academic genres relevant for ESSE participants: (conference) abstracts, theses, and journal articles. Although this analysis uses functional linguistic terminology and thinking (based on Halliday, Swales, Hyland, and others), it focuses clearly on “unpacking texts” from a “global perspective”. By “unpacking” I mean analysing the strategies of academic writers that fulfil the function of persuading the readers to grant them a slot at an academic conference, to accept them into a research community (because of their MA/PhD thesis), or to publish their work in a recognised academic journal, all of which are of direct relevance to the careers of international scholars today. By “global” I mean not only a comparison of European, African and Chinese practices, but also a top-down approach, trying to view the entire text from macro- to meso- to micro-level or by focussing on the functions of major parts first before concentrating on the smaller, local parts, i.e. from section to paragraph to sentence.

In each of the three genres, I try to compare disciplinary practices from recent comparable international and interdisciplinary data sources, like European conferences, theses from Germany, Cameroon, and China, and journal articles by writers from Germany, Africa and China in the (sub)disciplines of English Studies, i.e. Linguistics, Teaching Methodology, Cultural Studies, and Literature.

Text sections in research articles, for instance, may include a new focus on a current issue in an introduction, a careful data collection in a methodology section, a well-argued or -visualised analysis, a convincing interpretation, and well-argued wide-ranging conclusions. All these strategic moves may be signalled clearly in section titles and through cohesive signal words in the texts. However, this also depends on the teaching conventions in our disciplinary institutions.

These analyses may help (young) non-native English scholars to unpack the conventions of their preferred international journals, and thus consciously construct their academic identities, and finally place themselves successfully in their disciplinary research communities.

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