Since coming to the attention of a broader Russian public in the wake of the scandal whipped up around “Goluboe salo” [The Blue Lard] in 2002, Vladimir Sorokin (born 1955) has become indisputably one of the most prominent and prolific writers in contemporary Russia. Whereas Sorokin’s works are widely discussed in Russia and in the German-speaking countries (the first and hitherto only Sorokin conference took place in Mannheim in 1997), there is still scant research devoted to his oeuvre in the Anglo-American world. Since the translation of “Ochered’” [The Queue] in 1986, it has taken a quarter of a century for further books by Sorokin to be translated into English (“Den’ oprichnika” [Day of the Oprichnik] and the “Led” [Ice] trilogy, 2011).
Taking translation as an anchoring point, this conference is devoted to the multifaceted dimensions of language(s) in Sorokin’s works, including archaisms and neologisms, German and Chinese terms or intercultural stereotypes. Even more important, the discussions will focus on the (meta)linguistic constituents of Sorokin’s poetics: the author as a medium for other discourses, the plurality of conceptualised literary styles, the metadiscursive distance and the materialisation of metaphors from colloquial and vulgar language.
After a keynote lecture, to be delivered by Mark Lipovetsky (confirmed) on the evening of Thursday 29 March, the subsequent one-and-a-half days will consist of academic papers in English by international scholars (20 min + 10 min discussion for each paper). Vladimir Sorokin himself will join in on Saturday afternoon (31 March, confirmed) to meet his translators, who will engage in a discussion about the challenge of translating his works into other linguistic and cultural contexts. The conference will end with Sorokin reading from “Metel’” [The Snowstorm] (2010) and the book launch of this novel’s Danish translation by the Copenhagen-based publisher Vandkunsten.
We encourage paper proposals addressing issues of language or metalanguage in Sorokin’s works, in their poetics and their reception. Proposals shall consist of an abstract of 300-500 words and a short CV, including a list of those of the submitter’s previous publications that are relevant to the conference topic. They should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 1 June 2011.
The conference organisers will provide participants with accommodation in Aarhus from 29 March to 1 April 2012. Some funding for reimbursement of travel expenses, especially for scholars from Eastern Europe and further overseas, will be available. The reimbursement will be negotiated on an individual basis.
We plan to publish the papers presented at the conference in a conference volume.