Julia Miesenböck : Research & CV

“Translators of Czech poetry into German during the Cold War 1948–1989”

Research area : 1

Contact : juliamiesenboeck@gmail.com

My research focuses on the transfer of poetry from Czech into German at the time of the Cold War between 1948 and 1989 and aims to clarify central questions about the individuals and their position in the field of literary transfer.

The research of the chosen topic clarifies central questions about the individuals and their position in the literary business: Who were the translators, what was their socio-biographical background: gender, education, professional activities, geographical origin and place(s) of activity on the “east” or “west” side of the Iron Curtain, and what is the relationship between the socio-biographical background and the activity as a translator? What activities did the translators carry out and what role(s) did they assume? What structures prevailed in the literary business in which the translators were active? Which translations did they chose to translate – officially published literature or works that circulated as samizdat editions or in manuscripts? What relationships did translators have with other subjects (publishers, institutions, people from the literary world, etc.), in which networks did they move and act? What interests, motivations and goals did the translators pursue, and how do they relate to other activities of the translators or to their own biographies? How did they translate and what techniques can be found in their published translations, what translation norms can be discerned in these poetry translations?

In this context, the work is dedicated to a period of literary transfer from Czech into German that has hardly been dealt with so far, as research has so far concentrated on the 19th and early 20th century. Combining an actor-oriented and product-oriented approach, I am looking distantly at the group of Czech-to-German translators, combining this with closer surveys of several individuals that were representative for the chosen period.


2004-2011: University of Vienna, Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies, Mag.a degree form Comparative Literature

since 2018: Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Arts
PhD Program: Translation Studies

Research Projects

2020-2022: project Global Trajectories of Czech Literature Since 1945 (GAČR Grant No. GJ20-02773Y), Institute of Czech Literature of the Czech Academy of Sciences

2021-2022: Czech Postwar Poetry in Foreign Perspective (GAUK 297821), Department of Czech Literature and Comparative Literature, Charles University

Recent publications

„Like-minded agents and established consecrators: Czech-to-German poetry translators, 1948–1989.“ In Translation Studies. Pulished online in August 2023, doi.org/10.1080/14781700.2023.2231932

„Díky za sůl v domě!“. K poetice českého básníka Jana Skácela a rakouského spisovatele Petera Handkeho. [Thank you for the salt in the house! On the poetics of the Czech poet Jan Skácel and the Austrian writer Peter Handke.] In Na hranicích podobnosti. Česká poezie po roce 1945 v komparativní perspektivě. [On the borders of similarity. Czech poetry after 1945 in comparative perspective.] Eds. Eliška D. Härtelová, Josef Hrdlička. Univerzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta, 2022.

French Research Center in Humanities and Social Sciences – Prague