Collaborative Translation and Multi-Version Texts in Early Modern Europe: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Collaborative Translation and Multi-Version Texts in Early Modern Europe

1st Edition

By Belén Bistué


196 pages

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Focusing on team translation and the production of multilingual editions, and on the difficulties these techniques created for Renaissance translation theory, this book offers a study of textual practices that were widespread in medieval and Renaissance Europe but have been excluded from translation and literary history. The author shows how collaborative and multilingual translation practices challenge the theoretical reflections of translators, who persistently call for a translation text that offers a single, univocal version and maintains unity of style. In order to explore this tension, Bistué discusses multi-version texts, in both manuscript and print, from a diverse variety of genres: the Scriptures, astrological and astronomical treatises, herbals, goliardic poems, pamphlets, the Greek and Roman classics, humanist grammars, geography treatises, pedagogical dialogs, proverb collections, and romances. Her analyses pay careful attention to both European vernaculars and classical languages, including Arabic, which played a central role in the intense translation activity carried out in medieval Spain. Comparing actual translation texts and strategies with the forceful theoretical demands for unity that characterize the reflections of early modern translators, the author challenges some of the assumptions frequently made in translation and literary analysis. The book contributes to the understanding of early modern discourses and writing practices, including the emerging theoretical discourse on translation and the writing of narrative fiction--both of which, as Bistué shows, define themselves against the models of collaborative translation and multi-version texts.


'…a richly detailed challenge to some cherished idées fixes. The book poses the act of translation as a collaborative and/or serial practice that challenges not only medieval and early modern theorists’ efforts to stabilize and codify translation, but also modern critical efforts to read translations in certain ways (as non-authorial, as products of singular agency, as invisible�). The author presents as chief evidence multilingual books and multi-version books, both manuscript and printed codices, and the range of these is wonderful to behold.' A.E.B. Coldiron, Florida State University '… a unique and truly innovative study in translation and premodern literary studies.' Publishing Research Quarterly '[Bistué's] facility with a range of materials that jump across centuries, borders, and subject matter is equally impressive and her findings should reinvigorate literary and translation studies of this period.' SHARP News

About the Author

Belén Bistué is Tenured Researcher for CONICET, and Assistant Professor of British and North American Literature at Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina.

About the Series

Transculturalisms, 1400-1700

This series presents studies of the early modern contacts and exchanges among the states, polities and entrepreneurial organizations of Europe; Asia, including the Levant and East India/Indies; Africa; and the Americas. Books investigate travellers, merchants and cultural inventors, including explorers, mapmakers, artists and writers, as they operated in political, mercantile, sexual and linguistic economies. We encourage authors to reflect on their own methodologies in relation to issues and theories relevant to the study of transculturism/translation and transnationalism. We are particularly interested in work on and from the perspective of the Asians, Africans, and Americans involved in these interactions, and on such topics as:

-Material exchanges, including textiles, paper and printing, and technologies of knowledge

-Movements of bodies: embassies, voyagers, piracy, enslavement

-Travel writing: its purposes, practices, forms and effects on writing in other genres

-Belief systems: religions, philosophies, sciences

-Translations: verbal, artistic, philosophical

-Forms of transnational violence and its representations.

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