The Michael Henry Heim Memorial Lecture

The Michael Henry Heim Memorial Lecture in Translation and Translation Studies is an annual lecture in memory of Michael Heim to continue his legacy. Professor Heim was a pioneer in translation studies, which is now an area of considerable significance to the field of comparative literature. He is remembered by his colleagues, students and friends as a world-class scholar, a model pedagogue and a devoted mentor, generous in his commitment to a communication and understanding across languages and cultures, giving pride of place to translation.

This event is organized each year by the UCLA Department of Comparative Literature, with support from the UCLA Department of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures and the UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies.

Please visit the photo gallery for pictures from past lectures and check back on this page to learn more about the upcoming Michael Henry Heim Memorial Lecture in Translation and Translation Studies.

The most recent lecture took place in March, 2017, when UCLA enjoyed “Fourteen Words:Thoughts on Translating Very Short Poems” by Dr. Jonathan Bolton, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University. The lecture was framed as follows:

“In this talk, Professor Jonathan Bolton will lead listeners, step by step, through the translation of a short poem by Czech poet Ivan Wernisch (b. 1942). He will discuss some of the specific choices involved in bringing verse from one language to another, paying special attention to the problems posed by short poems, in which the translator must strive to create a poetic world without giving more information than is contained in the original. Ultimately, the translator has a special window into the ways that very short poems gesture at the hazy world just outside the boundaries of their own language – and become, of necessity, meditations on their own ambiguity.”

“Jonathan Bolton is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, where he teaches Czech and Central European literature, culture, and history. He is the author of Worlds of Dissent: Charter 77, The Plastic People of the Universe, and Czech Culture under Communism (Harvard University Press, 2012), which combines approaches from literary studies and history to offer a new look at the dissident movements of East Central Europe. He has also edited and translated In the Puppet Gardens (Michigan Slavic Publications, 2007), a selection of a hundred poems by Czech poet Ivan Wernisch; his translations of poems by Wernisch, Petr Hruška, and Radek Fridrich have appeared in Circumference, BODY: Poetry, Prose, Word, and elsewhere. His translation of Czech photographer and writer Igor Malijevský is forthcoming in Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2018.”