Past Series


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2013 Lectures


17 January 2013

Hot Spots in a Love/Hate Relationship: Conflict and Conversation between Greek and Roman Texts and their Translators

Translation of the texts of ancient Greece and Rome has a long and sometimes contentious relationship with subsequent literatures and cultures. This talk identifies some key examples and discusses how the models used to characterise them cover a spectrum from transmission to rewriting and how these in turn relate to the practice and theory of translation studies as well as to the cultural politics of antiquity and modernity.


31 January 2013

Apud Urbem Toletanam in Capella Sanctae Trinitatis: Medieval Translators in Spain and the Toledo Affair

  • Ruggiero Pergola (Imperial College)

The expression "School of Toledo" typically refers to the translation work of scientific texts from Arabic into Latin, which developed in Spain between the 12th and 13th centuries. This label, however, does not do justice to the great cultural significance of the phenomenon. Moreover, it has also given rise to a legend: it is a popular belief that there used to be a real educational institution for translator training in Toledo, supposedly founded by Raymond, archbishop of Toledo and apparent patron of translators. Today, the hypothesis of a real school, although attractive, seems to be unreliable and not supported by the evidence. The aim of this paper is to provide – in the light of recent research – a detailed analysis of the phenomenon known as the "School of Toledo", tracing its history between myth and reality.

Ruggiero Pergola is Visiting Researcher at Imperial College London (Translation Studies Unit) and Honorary Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Bari (Faculty of Modern Languages). He has a BA in Modern Languages (University of Bari), an MA in Translation (University of Bari), a PGDIP in Publishing under Prof. Umberto Eco (Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici - University of Bologna) and a PhD in Linguistics and Translation Studies (University of Bari). His main research interests are: translation history and history of linguistic ideas. His latest publication is: B. Di Sabato, P. Mazzotta, E. Di Martino, R. Pergola (2012), Apprendere a tradurre, tradurre per apprendere, Lecce: Pensa 


21 February 2013

Early Modern Translation: Etienne Dolet and the Humanist Temper

Etienne Dolet's The Way to Translate Well from One Language into Another (1540), the first general treatise on translation in a western vernacular, reads like a collection of commonplaces on the do's and don'ts of translation. It can however be seen in a very different way, not just as a polemical piece (as already Glyn Norton proposed) but also as a window on Early Modern concepts and practices of translation. I will contextualise Dolet's treatise by highlighting the tradition of word-for-word translation and setting this tradition against the emergence of Humanist views on translation from Leonardo Bruni to Erasmus and John Christopherson.


7 March 2013

John Dryden's Theory and Practice of Translation

This lecture considers the relationship between the accounts of translation offered by John Dryden in prefaces written during the last two decades of his career, and his practice as a verse translator, from Ovid's Epistles (1680) to Fables, Ancient and Modern (1700).


21 March 2013

"A Cosmopolitan Centre for Mankind": Translation in the German Romantic Tradition

Friedrich Schleiermacher’s seminal lecture ‘On the Different Methods of Translating’ (1813) defined translation in terms of a binary opposition between foreignisation and domestication which echoed through many discussions of translation theory and practice in early nineteenth-century Germany. I will contextualise Schleiermacher’s essay by considering its relationship to language politics in this period and by reflecting on its relevance for Romantic debates about translation and power, identity and nation.