Held at the UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center November 18-20, 2009, the conference brought together scholars from around the globe, as well as numerous UCSB faculty, to examine the notion of "foundational texts" in world literature. The keynote speakers were Sandra Bermann (Princeton University), who spoke on “In the Light of Translation: Some Insights from Dante’s Commedia”, and David Damrosch (Harvard University), who spoke on “Foundational Translations: The Worldly Origins of National Classics.” The goal was to reflect on canonical or “sacred” texts—from Homer’s Odyssey to Murakami’s Genji, from Cervantes to Mayan hieroglyphs, from Dante to Coetzee, from Goethe to Glissant, from the Thousand and One Nights to Jorge Luis Borges—in a global perspective: how they are translated, appropriated, transformed, how they travel across different cultures and languages, their foundational status evolving accordingly in a post-European world.

Organized by Dominique Jullien (Department of French & Italian; Director, Series in Contemporary Literature). Co-sponsored by: The UCSB Series in Contemporary Literature; The UCLA Comparative Literature Department; The French Cultural Services; The UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center; The UCSB Consortium for Literature, Culture & Theory; The UCSB English Department; The UCSB East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies Department; The UCSB Chicana/Chicano Studies Department; The UCSB German, Slavic and Semitic Department & the Program in Comparative Literature; The UCSB Center for Middle Eastern Studies; The UCSB Spanish & Portuguese Department; The UCSB Classics Department.

Dominique Jullien (UC Santa Barbara)

Introductory remarks

Introduced by Helen Morales (UC Santa Barbara)

Piero Boitani (Università La Sapienza, Rome)

“World Literature 2000 Years Ago and After”

Suzanne Saïd (Columbia University)

“Homer: a world writer and his creature”

Introduced by Stefania Tutino (UC Santa Barbara)

Peter Madsen (Copenhagen University)

“Liberating Jerusalem - defending Europe: Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata and its role in Central and Eastern Europe in the age of the Turkish Fear”

Jon Snyder (UC Santa Barbara)

“The Writing of the World”

Introduced by Rita Raley (UC Santa Barbara)

Stefan Helgesson (Uppsala University)

“The Wondrous Travels of the Post-Europeans, or, Can there be “Foundational Texts” in World Literature?”

Eric Prieto (UC Santa Barbara)

“World Literature, Littérature-monde, and Tout-monde: Foundational Texts in the Anti-Foundational Thought of Edouard Glissant”

Mads Rosendahl Thomsen (Aarhus University)

“Subversive Foundations: Cervantes, Montaigne, Shakespeare and the Imported Canon”

Plenary Lecture
Introduced by Dominique Jullien (UC Santa Barbara)

Sandra Bermann (Princeton University)

“In the light of Translation: Some Insights from Dante’s Commedia”

Introduced by Paulo Lemos Horta (Simon Fraser University)

Suzanne Jill Levine (UC Santa Barbara)

“Borges and/on Translation”

Juan Pablo Lupi (UC Santa Barbara)

“Lezama Lima and the Allegories of World Literature”

Introduced by Ron Egan (UC Santa Barbara)

Michael Emmerich (UC Santa Barbara)

“A New Planet: The Tale of Genji as World Literature”

Evanghélia Stead (Université de Reims, France)

“East and West of Arachne: Worldwide Tales with respect to the Latin Tradition”

Introduced by Aboubakr Chraïbi (INALCO, Paris)

Wen-chin Ouyang (SOAS, London)

“Tammuz in love: travels and transformations of an ancient myth in modern Arabic poetry”

Richard Van Leeuwen (Amsterdam University)

“The Thousand and One Nights as a canonical text”
PLEASE NOTE: This video is not available for viewing

Plenary Lecture
Introduced by Dominique Jullien (UC Santa Barbara)

David Damrosch (Harvard University)

“Foundational Translations: The Worldly Origins of National Classics”

Introduced by Wolf Kittler (UC Santa Barbara)

Gerardo Aldana (UC Santa Barbara)

“Cosmic Sacrifice: hieroglyphic, alphabetic, and iconographic translations of a Mesoamerican Creation narrative”

Ulrich Marzolph (Göttingen University)

“The repercussion of the Alexander-Romance in the languages and literatures of the Near East”

Azadeh Yamini Hamedani (Simon Fraser University)

“The Inception of a World Literature: On Goethe’s Life with Hafez”

Aboubakr Chraïbi, Paulo Lemos Horta, Dominique Jullien

Closing remarks and future projects