Bilingual Writing and Self-Translation: Literature in a Cross-Cultural Perspective

Module code: FR3051
Module co-ordinator: Dr Fransiska Louwagie

In this module, you will study authors who write in multiple languages. We will examine the reasons why authors choose to write in more than one language in light of their individual circumstances and sociocultural context. We will pay particular attention to authors who translate their own work from one language into another, analysing the relationship between pairs of texts from both a systemic and aesthetic point of view. We will also compare the strategies used in self-translation to those involved in other translation practices.

By the end of this module, you will have gained an understanding of the concept of self-translation and will be able to relate this practice to its broader context. You will understand how this practice relates to the aesthetic projects of the authors studied. Your skills of textual close reading and translation study will also be enhanced.

Topics covered

Set texts are likely to include: 

  • Raymond Federman, La Fourrure de ma tante Rachel (Léo Scheer, 2009)
  • Raymond Federman, Aunt Rachel's Fur (Fiction Collective 2, 2001)
  • Julian Green traduit par Julien Green, Le langage et son double (2004) - selected chapters


  • 20 hours of seminars
  • 130 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay, 2,500-3,000 words (50%)
  • Presentation, 20 minutes (10%)
  • Oral exam, 20 minutes (40%)