Karen Nölle Appointed August Wilhelm von Schlegel Visiting Professor in Poetics of Translation at Freie Universität Berlin

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German Translators’ Fund Sponsors Teaching Appointment during 2022/2023 Winter Semester

Translator Karen Nölle, who lives in the northern German city of Niederkleveez (Schleswig-Holstein), has been appointed the August Wilhelm von Schlegel Visiting Professor in Poetics of Translation for the winter semester 2022/2023. Established in 2007 by the and Freie Universität Berlin, the visiting professorship is the first of its kind in the German-speaking world devoted to the art of translation. Each year, a new person is selected to come to the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature during the winter semester.

Nölle studied in Hamburg and Aachen, specializing in English studies, Romance studies, German studies, and philosophy before working as a research associate at RWTH Aachen University’s Chair for English and American Studies. She has worked as a translator since 1984, primarily translating English-language literature from a host of international female authors, such as Annie Dillard, Janet Frame, Doris Lessing, Audre Lorde, Alice Munro, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Eudora Welty, into German. She has also excelled professionally as an author and editor, having worked as an editor for the publishing company edition fünf for many years. In addition, she hosts seminars for translators and authors. In 2008, Karen Nölle was named BücherFrau’s Woman in Publishing of the Year. She has also been president of the Freundeskreis zur Förderung literarischer und wissenschaftlicher Übersetzungen e.V. (Friends for the Promotion of Literary and Academic Translations) since 2019.

"Poetics of Translation," the ambitious title of this chair, defines its program. Since its establishment, the chair has been intended as a prominent space for the reflection of historical methods and theories of literary translation, as well as the relevance of translation to literature and cultural history. The professor’s own translation methods as well as those of others become objects of critical reflection, while the technique of comparative text analysis brings the original into dialogue with its translation or examines different translations of the same text. August Wilhelm von Schlegel, the professorship’s namesake, was himself known for his work as a literary scholar, poet, and literary translator. His remarkable translations from Sanskrit (Bhagavad Gita), Italian (Dante), Spanish (Calderón, Cervantes), and English (Shakespeare) made him a key figure in both literary theory and translation theory.

Karen Nölle’s inaugural lecture will be held on October 31, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Schleswig-Holstein federal state office in Berlin.

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