2022 – 2023 ULB Lecture

On Tuesday 7 March 2023, Matthew Reynolds (Professor of English and Comparative Criticism at the University of Oxford) gave a Philippe Wiener Lecture at the Université libre de Bruxelles, where he was welcomed by Sonja Janssens (École de Traduction et Interprétation ISTI – Cooremans).

Matthew Reynolds chairs the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Research Centre (OCCT) and leads the Prismatic Jane Eyre project. Among his books are Prismatic Translation (2019), Translation: A Very Short Introduction (2016), The Poetry of Translation: From Chaucer & Petrarch to Homer & Logue (2011), Likenesses (2013), The Realms of Verse: English Poetry in a Time of Nation-Building (2001), and the novels Designs for a Happy Home (2009) and The World Was All Before Them (2013).


The Prismatic approach considers translation, not as the production of one translated text from one source text, but as a process that inevitably generates many translated texts (both actual and potential) which need to be considered together. In this talk, Prof. Reynolds will outline the theory, and then present an example: the collaborative Prismatic Jane Eyre project, which studies Charlotte Brontë’s novel as it co-exists in around 600 translations, into at least 68 languages. How can we set about reading this plural, global, transtemporal and multilingual text? – and why should we?