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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - French

Postgraduate Course: Poetry, Music and Translation (ELCF11007)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryEver since poetry has existed, it has been said that poetry and music are organically related. At one level, they are the same: poetry is musical. But how, exactly? What features of poetry can we analyse as musical? Is the music of poetry to be found in its formal features, or in its sound? What happens to those features when one translates a poem, and in the process, its sound and its prosody are transformed? And to what extent is the musicality of poetry international and timeless? Does it vary from poem to poem, from time to time, from language to language? Investigating these questions is a uniquely powerful means to explore the very nature of poetry. Students who take this course find it radically alters their perspective on what poetry is, not least because it is based on close readings of poems from a vast range of styles, nations, and languages; it is truly comparative.
Course description This option is targeted at the point where the concerns of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies overlap. It is distinctive in its focus on the relationship between poetry and music. It is also distinctive in that all the seminars except the first two are student-led.

In each seminar, we work on a poem originally written in a language other than English, together with an English translation of that poem. The poem in question must contain explicit reference to music, expressed in a way that suggests a link between music and poetry.

Each student on the course will be asked to provide such a poem and its translation, and to lead a seminar on that poem, beginning with the topics set out below.

In each seminar, we have two regular topics for discussion.
Topic 1: the reference to music. Why is it there? How and why is poetry presented as like music? In what ways is this convincing and unconvincing? And how do poetry and music resist assimilation to each other?

Topic 2: translation. We will always be working with originals and translations. How does translation affect the reference to music, and the ways in which we can take the poem as musical?

A third question will remain permanently in the background: what is the relationship between music and translation? After all, it is commonly said that music cannot be translated, in the way that language can. But it is also commonly said that poetry is music. What happens to the music in poetry, when poetry is translated?

For the first two weeks, to give students time to find and circulate their material, the course tutor will provide the poems. The first poem to be studied will be Verlaine's 'Art poétique'.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements The students need EITHER to be native speakers of a language other than English OR to have studied a language other than English to degree level (or equivalent).
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. use strategies in the discussion of literary translation that take account of the lessons of comparative literary study;
  2. foreground the issues raised by translation when discussing poetry;
  3. demonstrate an advanced understanding of the ways in which the concept of music is used in the analysis of poetry;
  4. provide material for, present, and lead a seminar focusing on a single poem, in a language not known to other group members, within a well-defined theoretical context;
  5. demonstrate autonomy and initiative in their activities, carry out independent research under the guidance of the tutor, and to show awareness of their own and others¿ roles and responsibilities as part of a team.
Reading List
There is no primary reading list for this course established in advance, because the corpus is constituted by the students in the group. Any student wishing to prepare for the course is encouraged to read poetry in a language other than English, looking for poems on the theme of music, and thinking about the ways in which those poems present themselves as musical.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements The students need EITHER to be native speakers of a language other than English OR to have studied a language other than English to degree level (or equivalent).
Keywordspoetry,music,poetry translation,word and music studies
Course organiserProf Peter Dayan
Tel: (0131 6)50 8424
Course secretaryMr Stuart Moyes
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646
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