Peter Burke is Emeritus Professor of Cultural History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge UK. He has published 23 books, including Languages and Communities in Early Modern Europe (2004) and Cultural Translation in Early Modern Europe (2007, co-edited with R. Po-Chia Hsia), both with Cambridge University Press.
Translation as Transposition in Early Modern Europe
‘Transposition’ is a term that came into use in English in the seventeenth century to describe movement and adaptation. Bishops were ‘transposed’ or ‘translated’ from one diocese to another, and musical compositions ‘transposed’ from one key to another. I use the term here to refer to the not uncommon practice on the part of early modern translators of replacing the milieu of a foreign text, such as a play or dialogue, with that of their own culture, offering so many vivid examples of what is now known as ‘cultural translation’. This paper will begin with a brief description of early modern European regimes of translation, before discussing examples of the transposition of the comedies of Plautus and of dialogues such as Il Cortegiano (notably in its Polish ad Portuguese versions).
Hugo Cardoso is a researcher specializing in creoles with the University of Lisbon Centre for Linguistics (CLUL) and Associate Editor of the Revista de Crioulos de Base Lexical Portuguesa e Espanhola. His publications include the monograph The Indo-Portuguese language of Diu (Utrecht, LOT, 2009) and the (co-)edited volume Ibero-Asian Creoles: Comparative perspectives (John Benjamins, 2012).
Antje Flüchter is Professor of Cultural History at Bielfeld University. She has led several important projects relating to transculturality in the Early Modern period, with a particular emphasis on the role of Jesuits. Her publications include the edited volume Translating Catechisms, translating Cultures: The Expansion of Catholicism in the Early Modern World, Leiden (2017) and The Dynamics of Transculturality. Concepts and Institutions in Motion (with Jivanta Schöttli), Springer 2015.
Ferial Ghazoul is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at the American University in Cairo. She is the Editor of Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics and has published and translated extensively. She is the author of Nocturnal Poetics: The Arabian Nights in Comparative Context and co-translator of Qassim Haddad, Chronicles of Majnun Layla and Selected Poems.
Translation as Migration: Traveling Literary Classics from Arabic and into Arabic
The paper will identify the multi-lingual communities in the predominantly Moslem Middle East between 1400-1800 as well as the role of oral transmission played in translating and adapting literary works that have become world literary classics. The study emphasizes the reshaping of works to fit in the new cultural milieu and the way migrants settle in a new land and produce a hybrid subculture.
The examples the paper deploys come from the transformation of the partly legendary, partly historical Arabian love story of Majnun Layla at the hands of Jami (1414-1492) in Persian couplets, Leyla o Majnun, and at the hands of Fuzuli (1483-1556) in his Turkic epic, Dastan-i Leyli vu Mecnun, and finally its rendering in English by Isaac D’Israeli in 1797 as Mejnun and Leila: The Arabian Petrarch and Laura. The other example is that of the Panchatantra and the Ocean of Stories that migrated from India to Persia to Iraq, metamorphosing into the Arabic Alf Layla wa-Layla (One Thousand and One Nights). The earliest extant version of the Nights in Arabic goes back to the fifteenth century. This Syrian redaction (edited by Muhsin Mahdi) migrated to Egypt and then Tunisia where it acquired a parallel title, One Hundred and One Nights. Eventually, the Nights was translated by Antoine Galland in 1704-1717, which was the basis for translations to English (anonymously in 1706 and 1708) and to Russian by Alexey Filatyev (1763-1774).
Theo Hermans is Professor of Dutch and Comparative Literature at University College, London. He has published extensively in the field of Translation Studies, with a strong focus on translation history and theory. His publications include the (co-)edited multilingual handbook, Übersetzung – Translation – Traduction (De Gruyter) in which he wrote the chapter on ‘Concepts and Theories of Translation in the European Renaissance’ (Vol. II, 2007).
Languages and Translation in the Low Countries 1550-1700
At least five languages were relevant to the Early Modern Low Countries (roughly the present-day Netherlands and Belgium). The vernacular language, Dutch, showed much more dialectal variation than today, sometimes requiring rewriting from one area to another. It was gradually being standardized, but the process had more impact in the northern than in the southern part of the territory. Latin remained the intellectual language throughout the period but lost ground to both Dutch and French towards the middle of the seventeenth century, while some domains, like engineering and practical medicine, adopted Dutch several decades earlier. French, too, was a constant presence, more so in the southern than in the northern territories as time wore on. Spanish, the language of the Habsburg overlords for most of the sixteenth century, retained a presence as an administrative vehicle in the seventeenth-century Spanish Netherlands (present-day Belgium). Finally, as the Dutch Republic’s powerful East India Company (VOC) and then its West India Company (WIC) struck out overseas, they relied on Portuguese as a means of communication in both Brazil and the Far East. The paper seeks to sketch the distribution of these languages, the development of their relations to one another, and the translation flows between them.
Joan-Pau Rubiés is ICREA Research Professor in History at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, specializing in cross-cultural encounters in the Early Modern world. His publications include Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance: South India through European Eyes, 1250-1650 (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and ‘Ethnography and Cultural Translation in the Early Modern Missions’, Studies in Church History 53: 272-310.