A King Translated The Writings of King James VI & I and their Interpretation in the Low Countries, 1593–1603
King James is well known as the most prolific writer of all the Stuart monarchs, publishing works on numerous topics and issues. These works were widely read, not only in Scotland and England but also on the Continent, where they appeared in several translations. In this book, Dr Stilma looks both at the domestic and international context to James's writings, using as a case study a set of Dutch translations which includes his religious meditations, his epic poem The Battle of Lepanto, his treatise on witchcraft Daemonologie and his manual on kingship Basilikon Doron. The book provides an examination of James's writings within their original Scottish context, particularly their political implications and their role in his management of his religio-political reputation both at home and abroad. The second half of each chapter is concerned with contemporary interpretations of these works by James's readers. The Dutch translations are presented as a case study of an ultra-protestant and anti-Spanish reading from which James emerges as a potential leader of protestant Europe; a reputation he initially courted, then distanced himself from after his accession to the English throne in 1603. In so doing this book greatly adds to our appreciation of James as an author, providing an exploration of his works as politically expedient statements, which were sometimes ambiguous enough to allow diverging - and occasionally unwelcome - interpretations. It is one of the few studies of James to offer a sustained critical reading of these texts, together with an exploration of the national and international context in which they were published and read. As such this book contributes to the understanding not only of James's works as political tools, but also of the preoccupations of publishers and translators, and the interpretative spaces in the works they were making available to an international audience.
'... this is a very valuable addition to the growing scholarship on the practice of early modern translation and the representation of royal authority.' English Historical Review 'Astrid Stilma analyzes key distinctions between the king's major writings and their Dutch translations in A King Translated. ... It is a study ultimately useful to any scholar interested in Reformation politics or the early modern book industry.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'Stilma carefully unpicks all such professional, intellectual, and ideological networks, which ultimately reinforce the central message of this deeply researched and cogently argued book - that the study of King James’ works and their reception, so crucial to English and Scottish literary and historical enquiry, cannot really halt at British borders.' Translation and Literature 'This is a learned work, and its bibliography is exceptionally full and informative, but it is also designed for those with no familiarity with the Dutch language. Even brief quotations are translated, and guidance is also provided to the Scots dialect in which the works were originally written. It is a worthy example of that interdisciplinary genre from which it took its origin, as Professor Stilma makes clear in a brief but enlightening preface.' Archiv fÃ¼r Reformationsgeschichte ’...this is the best kind of case study which, although highly specialised, sheds light on many areas of wider interest, such as the networks of the early modern book trade, witchcraft beliefs or the different models of translation available in the seventeenth century. Stilma writes finely and this book is a pleasure to read. The book is handsomely produced by Ashgate as part of the St. Andrews Studies in Reformation History series...’ Review of Scottish Culture