Ivan Blatný, Langston Hughes: Translation, Transnationality, and the Blues

What were the intertextual relationships between the African American poet Langston Hughes and the Czech poet Ivan Blatný? How did Blatný employ English in his poetry, how did Hughes use references to Czechoslovakia? How do poets and poems move across languages and power blocs and what were other literary relationships between the Czech lands and the African American cultural community? And what roles does translation play here? These are some of the questions we will be discussing with Julie Hansen, Charles Sabatos, and Justin Quinn. The discussion, co-organized by the Institute of Czech Literature and CEFRES, will take place in English (or rather, it will move between English and Czech) and will be moderated by Františka Schormová.

When: Friday, May 19, 10:00 AM
Where: Institute of Czech Literature, Czech Academy of Sciences (ÚČL)
Institute of Czech Literature and the CEFRES
Who: Julie Hansen (Uppsala University), Charles Sabatos (Yeditepe University), Justin Quinn (FF UK), moderated by Františka Schormová (ÚČL)
Language: English (and some Czech)

Julie Hansen is an Associate Professor of Slavic Languages at the Department of Modern Languages, Uppsala University. She is interested in translation studies, multilingual and translingual literature, and cultural memory studies and publishes on especially Russian but also Czech literature of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Charles Sabatos is an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. Apart from his scholarly work on Czech and Slovak literature, he has also translated Slovak authors such as Pavel Vilikovský, Ján Uličiansky and Peter Karpinský into English.

Justin Quinn, a poet, translator, and literary critic teaching at Charles University in Prague and the University of West Bohemia in Plzeň, is interested in topics such as Cold War poetry, English as a lingua franca in contemporary literature, and transnational approaches to literature. He has translated Czech poets such as Jan Zábrana, Bohuslav Reynek, and Ivan Blatný into English.


The roundtable discussion will be moderated by Františka Schormová from the Institute of Czech Literature who has written a dissertation on the Cold War connections between 1950s and 1960s Czechoslovakia and the African American literary figures. Now, as a post-doc researcher at ICL, she looks at discourses of whiteness in Czech emigrant literature in the 1970s and 1980s Canada.