Spaces of Translation: Magazines and Modernism in Post-War Europe

Organiser: Andrew Thacker (NTU, Nottingham); Chair: Francis Mus (Ghent University)

The period of mid-century literary modernism (c.1930-1960) has begun to receive more attention from scholars over the last few years and this panel will contribute to this work by examining one important aspect of this wider history. European culture after 1945 was in search of renewal after the ruins of war, with many voices calling for new institutions and networks that to forge unity after national divisions: renewal would replace ruins, hope would displace despair. Thus T. S. Eliot delivered a series of lectures on German radio in 1946 devoted to the topic of ‘The Unity of European Culture’. In Geneva in the same year a conference was held on the theme of The European Spirit, with speakers including Stephen Spender, Karl Jaspers, Georg Lukacs, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. At this conference Denis de Rougemont delivered a vision for a Federal Europe, ideas that would eventually lead to the formation of the European Union. In terms of publishing the period also saw the emergence of a clutch of magazines devoted to rebuilding European literary culture, including Encounter in Britain, Les Temps Modernes in France, and Der Monat in Germany. Such magazines often looked to the international modernism established before the war as a way to further the project of cultural renewal, a central aspect of which involved the translation of works from other countries as a sign of renewed transnational dialogue across Europe and beyond. Thus the bilingual magazine, Das Tor/The Gate declared in 1947 that art, music and literature were ‘not the property of one nation alone’ and that ‘a deeper understanding of our cultural ties with Europe is a surer way to international friendship than political treaties’.

The papers in this panel, in diverse ways, will thus explore this significant moment in the history of modernism and Europe, analyzing the role of translation in a range of magazines.


Alison E. Martin (JGU, Mainz-Germersheim) – «The Art of the Translator Will Be Given Its Place»: Language, Bilingualism and Identity in the Anglo-German Journal The Gate/Das Tor (1947-49)

Marina Popea (NTU, Nottingham) – Latin American Modernisms in European Magazines (1945-1965): Translation and the Cultural Cold War

Dana Steglich (JGI, Mainz-Germersheim) – Favourite Author. George Orwell in Der Monat

Andrew Thacker (NTU, Nottingham) – The World Perspective: Mid-Century Modernism, John Lehmann, and The London Magazine