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Liberature in Translation



Katarzyna Bazarnik, PhD, UJ:  Liberature in translation


Postcolonial Studies Centre, IFA, and Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub 


December 1, 2017, 11.30 am – 01.00 pm, Room 208, Postcolonial Studies Centre, IFA


Liberature is a kind of literature in which text and its material form constitute an organic whole in accordance with the author’s intention. The name of the genre was proposed in 1999 by Polish poet Zenon Fajfer. „Liberatura” is also the name of an imprint of Korporacja Ha!art Publishing House, an editorial project of Katarzyna Bazarnik and Zenon Fajfer. Each title published under the imprint has its own unique shape which is dictated by the requirements of its authorially shaped text. The books trespass editorial conventions and often have unconventional shapes. Described as “the most astonishing publishing series in Poland,” it attracted international attention and was presented at literary festivals, book fairs, and conferences all over the world (the USA: New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Oakland; the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, and Bulgaria; Asia: Japan and Taiwan).

The publishing series, launched in 2003, counts 21 titles, including many important translations, such as S. Mallarmé’s The Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance, R. Queneau’s One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, G. Perec’s Life User’s Manual, H. Müller’s box of poetic collages Der WächternimmtseinenKamm, and J. Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. It also features a bilingual edition of Z. Fajfer’s poetic volume dwadzieściajedenliter/ten letters. The talk provided an overview of the idea of liberature, and the specificities of translating such multimodal works of literature. It focused on how material constraints of the original work influence the language in such translations.


Katarzyna Bazarnik, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, translator, and curator of the Liberature Reading Room. Together with Zenon Fajfer, she wrote Oka-leczenie (Mute-I-Late 2000) and (O)patrzenie (Ga(u)ze 2003). They also co-edit the „Liberatura” series of Ha!art Publishing House. Author of Joyce and Liberature (2011) and Liberature. A Book-bound Genre (2016), editor of volumes of essays, including James Joyce and After. Writer and Time (2010), Incarnations of Textual Materiality. From Modernism to Liberature (2014) and monograph issues of a translation journal on J. Joyce and B.S. Johnson, she has translated Fajfer’s Liberature or Total Literature. Collected Essays 1999-2009 and his multimedia poetry volume dwadzieścia jeden liter/ten letters (2010). Her translation of B.S Johnson’s The Unfortunates was awarded at the Wrocław Good Books Fair in 2008.