Archives de catégorie : Séminaires – L'(inter)agir

Séminaire EMMA thème 2 L'(inter)agir – mardi 26 mars 18h – StC salle 126

Susan Blattès (Grenoble-Alpes), Marianne Drugeon (Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3), Claire Hélie (Lille), Marie Nadia Karsky (Paris 8), Estelle Rivier-Arnaud (Grenoble-Alpes), Agathe Torti-Alcayaga (Paris Sorbonne Nord), The Gut Girls BY Sarah Daniels, experiencing collaborative translation

The seminar will be in hybrid and bilingual format, we had much rather you were there with us in the flesh, but do not hesitate to join us on zoom:

Brief synopsis of The Gut Girls :

The play tells the story of a small community, the “Gut Girls”, who work in a gutting shed at Deptford cattle market, in the South East of London in 1900. This work means they remain at the margins of society, but it also gives them some autonomy, gritty and distasteful as it is: the salary is higher than what women usually get, and they are, up to a point, considered equal to men. Because the work is hard, they use humour and irony to their heart’s content, and try to avoid Lady Helena’s club, which she has set up to teach them how to speak and behave properly. Unfortunately, the cattle market is soon to close, in the wake of progress in refrigerating meat. Each “Gut Girl” will have to find another way to survive: some will marry, most will become servants – and one of them may die as a consequence – and some will find jobs in a factory. Patriarchy, and capitalism, which had been questioned and jeopardised for a time by the small community of the “Gut Girls’, close down upon them, except perhaps one, who now works in a factory where they have a union.

Our Project:

We are a team of six researchers and translators from different universities, and we have set up to translate the play over the last year in a cooperative and collaborative way. We will present our work from different angles: its method (how is it possible for six translators to work together on the same text?), its translation (the play is riddled with puns linked to a particular sociolect, that of the working class in 1900 London) and its historical and literary context (But who are the “Gut Girls, and what does their work tell us?)

                                   Schonell Theatre, 2019

Connecticut Repertory Theatre, 2004

Séminaire EMMA/(Inter)Agir – mardi 26 septembre 2023 18h, site St Charles.

Jeroen Vandaele (Univ. Ghent) nous invitera à réfléchir aux conditions dans lesquelles l’humour grinçant peut être reçu et traduit. Sa présentation est intitulée : « Cringe Across Communities. Understanding and Translating The Office with Erving Goffman ».



Cringe Across Communities. Understanding and Translating The Office with Erving Goffman 

Erving Goffman provides a brilliant ‘micro-sociological’ analysis of how individuals manage their image in front of others. In public, individuals intend to promote what they think is a positive self-image and therefore conceal image-incompatible information and supply image-enhancing information. Moreover, image enhancement is most effective when it seems a natural and unconscious expression that individuals give off, not a conscious effort to make an impression on others. When these mechanisms fail, there is face loss, the individual may experience embarrassment, and become the object of comedy. If there is antagonism between the embarrassed and the audience, the felt comedy is usually a form of Schadenfreude. However, the embarrassment may also carry over on the audience, which leads to second-hand embarrassment—cringe— and the mixed emotion called cringe comedy. In this paper, I show that both Schadenfreude and cringe are dominant emotive effects in the sitcom The Office (British and American versions), I investigate how these two distinct emotions come about, and how they fare in translation. 

Jeroen Vandaele teaches courses in literary translation and Hispanic literatures at Ghent University. Earlier he was professor of Spanish at the University of Oslo, teaching courses in poetics, translation studies, and discourse analysis. In Fall 2023 he is a Mare Balticum Fellow at the University of Rostock (Germany), for the domain of translation studies. He is the author of Estados de Gracia, which is a monograph on the censorship, translation, and influence of Billy Wilder in Francoist Spain (published by Brill in 2015) and, more recently, of Translation and Big Details, a monograph in press at Routledge New York. Among the volumes he edited or co-edited are Cognitive Poetics (Mouton de Gruyter) and Translating Humour (a special issue of The Translator). In the domain of humor research, one of his biggest efforts is the double essay “Narrative Humor,” published in Poetics Today

Séminaire EMMA: Lynn Blin (MCF honoraire, EMMA):”Matter and Mirth in Lydia Davis’s Short Short Stories” 01 février 2022

“Les Bluets” Joan Mitchell (1973)


Stories from Can’t and Won’t that have been discussed in passing and “Negative Emotions” which have been discussed in length.

1.“Collaboration with Fly” 

            I put that word on the page, but he added the apostrophe (Davis, Lydia. The Collected Stories  2013, 508).

2. Can’t and Won’t

I was recently denied a writing prize, because, they said, I was too lazy. What they meant by lazy was that I used too many contractions: for instance, I would not write out in full the words cannot and will not, but contracted them to can’t and won’t(Davis, Lydia. Can’t and Won’t 2015, 46). 

3. “Circular Story”

On Wednesday mornings early there is always a racket out there on the road. It wakes me up and I always wonder what it is. It is always the trash collection truck picking up the trash. The truck comes every Wednesday morning early. It always wakes me up. I always wonder what it is (idem. 2015, 3).

4. A Story of Stolen Salamis

My son’s Italian landlord in Brooklyn kept a shed out back in which he cured and smoked salamis. One night, in the midst of a wave of petty vandalism and theft, the shed was broken into and the salamis were taken. My son talked to his landlord about it the next day, commiserating over the vanished sausages. The landlord was resigned and philosophical, but corrected him. “They were not sausages. They were salamis”. Then the incident was written up in one of the city’s more prominent magazines as an amusing and colorful urban incident. In the article, the reporter called the stolen goods “sausages”. My son showed the article to his landlord, who hadn’t known about it. The landlord was interested and pleased that the magazine had seen fit to report the incident, but he added: They weren’t sausages. They were salamis. (idem. 2015, 3) 

5. “Negative Emotions” 

A well-meaning teacher, inspired by a text he had been reading, once sent all the other teachers in his school a message about negative emotions. The message consisted entirely of advice quoted from a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. 

Emotion, said the monk, is like a storm: it stays for a while and then it goes. Upon perceiving the emotion (like a coming storm), one should put oneself in a stable position. One should sit or lie down. One should focus on one’s abdomen. One should focus, specifically on the area just below one’s navel and practice mindful breathing. If one can identify the emotion as an emotion. It may then be easier to handle. 

The other teachers were puzzled. They did not understand why their colleague had sent them a message about negative emotions. They resented the message, and they resented their colleague. They thought he was accusing them of having negative emotions and needing advice in how to handle them. Some of them were, in fact, angry.

The teachers did not choose to regard their anger as a coming storm. They did not focus on their abdomens. They did notfocus on the area just below their navels. Instead, they wrote back immediately, declaring that because they did not understand why he had sent it, his message had filled them with negative emotions. They told him that it would take a lot of practice for them to get over the negative emotions caused by his message. But, they went on, they did not intend to do this practice. Far from being troubled by their negative emotions, they said, they in fact liked having negative emotions, particularly about him and his message (Idem. 2015, 3).


“I had not known before that an abstract painting could contain references to concrete objective, identifiable subject matter. Two things happened at once: the painting went beyond itself, lost its isolation, acquired a relationship to fields, to flowers; and it changed from something I understood, into something I did not understand, a mystery, a problem.” Lydia Davis commenting on her discovery of “Les Bluets”. 

            This paper is a follow-up to the Lydia Davis chapter that I was asked to write for The Handbook of the American Short Story (Erik Redling & Oliver Sheiding eds. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2022). In the editors’ request to include a chapter on Lydia Davis in the handbook emerged an even more pressing request to render her comprehensible to the many who had great difficulty to acknowledge her talent or in understanding her success (i.e. the Man Booker International Prize for the ensemble of her works in 2013, the French-American Translation Prize in 2011 for her translation of Proust’s Swann’s Way and again in 2018 for her translation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary just to name three). Keeping this question in mind as I wrote the chapter, I realized that some of the enigmas I was dealing with in my analyses were not unlike the enigmas I deal with when explaining humour. As I progressed in my writing, what was becoming clearer was that many of the cognitive faculties necessary for appreciating humour are also necessary to appreciate Lydia Davis. And yes, there is definitely a challenge there. For, as E.B. White pointed out, “Analyzing humour is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it”.

            Though pleasure gained from her stories seldom results in the side-splitting laughter produced by comic writers, just like the pleasure in getting a joke is linked to resolving a problem, the delight we derive from reading Davis’s works results in our capacity to work out a puzzle. And this can be a source of great amusement, even mirth and delight. Delight is another offshoot of humour, more discreet, more subtle, but more lasting and more far–reaching.

            In my attempt to demonstrate this my paper will delve into the matter of Lydia Davis’s short short works, concentrating primarily on the story “Negative Emotions” from her collection Can’t and Won’t (London: Penguin Random House, 2014) but commenting on others in passing. This will necessarily include an exploration of the matter with her stories. That is, an explanation of why there is so much resistance on the part of readers. I will begin with a general introduction to her works and the criticism it has received. I will then give a close reading of “Negative Emotions” to show how Davis’s unique preoccupation with language is the compulsory starting point for an appreciation of her work. And I will conclude a brief explanation on how strategies used in the production and the appreciation of humour can also come into play in explaining why Lydia Davis’s works matter so much.


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Blin, Lynn. “Killing Ourselves Laughing: Why We Laugh Anyway, Even When We Know We Shouldn’t”. Dans Etudes de Stylistique Anglaise 2019.

Blin, Lynn. Reading Lessons with Lydia Davis: Language as Theme and Character”, in Maurice Lee and Aaron Penn, The Radiance of the Short Story: Selected Conference Papers, Kindle unlimited. 2020.

Blin, Lynn. Irresolution and Completeness in Lydia Davis’ “How I Know What I Like”, dans “L’Héritage de Jean Dubois Francoise Dubois Charlier “ sous la direction de Laetitia Leonarduzzi, Revue des linguists de l’Université Paris Ouest Nanterre. 

Blin, Lynn. Lydia Davis” in Handbook of the American Short Story, Erik Redling, and Oliver Schelding, Eds.Berlin. (596-611). 2022. 

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Séminaire EMMA 7 décembre 18h – Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak: From Participation to Entanglements: Relational Approaches in Childen’s Literature Studies

Salle 126, STC1 et en ligne via zoom (écrire à

Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak est Associate Professor et directrice du Centre pour la littérature et la culture jeunesse à l’Institut d’études anglaises de l’Université de Wrocław (Pologne). Spécialiste de littérature jeunesse, elle s’intéresse au posthumanisme, au nouveau matérialisme et aux méthodes de recherche participatives. 

Elle est l’autrice de nombreux ouvrages, dont Yes to Solidarity, No to Oppression (2016) ; elle a récemment co-dirigé Rulers of Literary Playgrounds Politics of Intergenerational Play in Children’s Literature (avec Irena Barbara Kalla, Routlege, 2021), Intergenerational Solidarity in Children’s Literature and Film (avec Zoe Jaques, UP Mississippi, 2021), Children’s Literature and Intergenerational Relationships : Encounters of the Playful Kind (avec Irena Barbara Kalla, Palgrave Macmillan, 2021).

Le mardi 7 décembre à partir de 18hDr. Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak nous invitera à (re)penser enfants et adultes comme devenirs ontologiques, constitués par leurs enchevêtrements mutuels dans des assemblages humains et non-humains plus larges. Elle montrera en quoi penser ces ontologies relationnelles permettent de se rendre compte que la subjectivité du chercheur est relationnelle, connectée et immergée dans les reconfigurations désordonnées du monde, ce qui peut stimuler des pratiques de recherche innovantes, créatives et collectives dans les études sur la littérature jeunesse.

Sa présentation s’intitule : « From Participation to Entanglements: Relational Approaches in Children’s Literature Studies ».