Lecture on World Literature and Myth in Translation

The Department of English Language and Literature held a public lecture on Saturday, April 29th titled Out of India and Back Again: The Circulation of Savitri by Dr. Rashna Nicholson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Theatre Studies, University of Munich.

The lecture focused on Orientalists’ translations of a Savitri myth into several European languages and later into Gujarati to popularize the myth in India. The European translations were framed as literary texts and the Sanskrit version was produced first as a theatrical play and later as a film. While the Italian, English, French and German versions achieved great popularity in Europe, the Indian productions were dramatic failures.

Dr. Nicholson discussed the imbalanced economies at play in acts of translation not only between languages but also among genres: from cultural practice (myth) into literary text and literary text into dramatic forms. She highlighted the role that ‘literature’ plays in (re)producing racial and cultural hierarchies in the circulation of knowledge.