Translation in History Lecture Series
Venue: Anatomy Gavin de Beer Lecture Theatre, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
Free entry & all welcome!
Term One Lectures
10 October 2013
Latin as a language of translation in Elizabethan England
Gesine Manuwald (UCL)
This talk will look at the role of translating from and into
Latin in 16th- and 17th-century England, where this was done as an exercise to
create linguistic fluency, but also to make writings available to a larger
number of readers. The framework will be sketched by a look at a selection of
contemporary statements on translation practices and on the value of particular
translations. Against this background, case studies drawn from Queen
Elizabeth’s own translations and from works of bilingual poets, such as Abraham
Cowley, will be analysed. Thus this study will shed light on translation
practices and the educational context in the Elizabethan period and make it
possible to compare early modern views on translation with present-day ones.
- Read the UCL Events blog of Gesine Manuwald's lecture
24 October 2013
‘No Tincture of Learning?’: Aphra Behn as (Re)Writer and Translator
Alison Martin (University of Reading; Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg)
Aphra Behn (1640-89) was one of the foremost female writers and translators in Europe of her time. Best known as the author of the short novel Oroonoko (1688), she was also an energetic translator and produced English renderings of classical and contemporary authors, not least Bernard de Fontenelle’s work on astronomy, the Entretiens sur la Pluralité des Mondes (1686), which appeared as A Discovery of New Worlds two years later. In this lecture I shall be exploring how Behn styled herself as a female translator of early scientific writing, before comparing her with British women working in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, who similarly contributed to the ‘feminisation’ of science and the circulation of scientific knowledge to a wider readership through their translation activities.
14 November 2013
Literalism, expediency and decorum: the contradictions of Victorian translation publishing
Carol O'Sullivan (University of Bristol)
Several factors affected publishing and translation in Britain in the nineteenth century. These included the expansion of the readership through mass literacy; the fall in the price of paper in the middle of the century; and changes in the moral and legislative climate. Retranslations allow us to trace these environmental changes. This paper focuses on series publishing in the Victorian period, and in particular on Henry Bohn, who launched several commercially successful and influential book series including the ‘Standard Library’ and the ‘Classical Library’. The ‘Libraries’ offer a useful prism through which to consider translation norms (e.g. the emphasis on literalism) and the negotiation of prestige and acceptability.
28 November 2013
Schleiermacher and Plato, Hermeneutics and Translation
Theo Hermans (UCL)
Schleiermacher’s 1813 lecture ‘On the Different Methods of Translating’ is famous for contrasting the method of ‘bringing the foreign author to the reader’ with that of ‘taking the reader to the foreign author.’ In my opinion, Schleiermacher’s lecture is not really about this dichotomy at all. I will argue that his lecture is neither more nor less than the application of the principles of hermeneutics to translation, and that Schleiermacher developed his hermeneutic theory largely as a result of translating Plato. The first five volumes of this monumental translation appeared between 1804 and 1809. In my talk I will take a close look at Schleiermacher’s Plato and then go on to sketch the connection with his hermeneutics. I will end by re-reading the 1813 lecture with a focus on two key passages.
12 December 2013
‘Transportation is Civilisation’: Ezra Pound’s Poetics of Translation
Andrés Claro (Universidad de Chile)
Ezra Pound’s groundbreaking poetics of translation overlap with his best legacy as a writer, with consequent impact on Modernist and contemporary literature. In the understanding that there is no historic sustained translation performance without a conception of language and an idea of culture, beyond examining the creative versions Pound shaped from a variety of tongues (Provençal, Chinese, Latin, and others), this lecture articulates the conception of language that defines Pound’s differential approach to literary translation (‘plain meaning’ charged by musical, imagistic or contextual effects), as well as the cultural impact he devised from the task: the ways in which translation, through its very donation of poetic forms of meaning and representation, is able to modify language and culture (strengthening perception, expanding a world-view, reviving voices of the past which criticise and shape the present).
Term Two Lectures
Details will be posted soon.
Carol O’Sullivan is a Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies and the director of the MA in Translation at the University of Bristol. Her research interests include literary translation,
publishing, censorship, film, audiovisual translation and translation
historiography. Her work on translation history has been published in
collections by Four Courts Press, John Benjamins, LIT Verlag and Multilingual
Matters. In 2012 she was guest editor of a special issue of the journal
Translation Studies on method in translation history.
Andrés Claro (Chile, 1968) is an essayist and academic. He undertook his postgraduate studies in Philosophy and Literature at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), writing a thesis under the direction of J. Derrida, and at Oxford University, where he completed a D. Phil. with a thesis on ‘Ezra Pound’s Poetics of Translation’ under the direction of R. Bush. He has published notably La Inquisición y la Cábala, un capítulo de la diferencia entre ontología y exilio (The Inquisition and the Kabbalah, a chapter on the difference between ontology and exile, 1996; 2nd. ed., 2009) and Las Vasijas Quebradas, cuatro variaciones sobre la ‘tarea del traductor’ (Broken Vessels, four variations on ‘the translator’s task’, 2012). To a series of essays on poetics, the theory of language, translation and culture, he adds two collections of poems and literary translations from various languages (most recently, Kirigirisu, a selection of haikus). He divides his work between Paris and Santiago, combining writing, research and teaching. He has been visiting professor at The State University of New York. He teaches in the Doctorate in Philosophy (Aesthetics) at the Universidad de Chile
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