1st Edition

Queering Translation History Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Czech and Slovak Transformations

By Eva Spišiaková Copyright 2021
    134 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    134 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This innovative work challenges normative binaries in contemporary translation studies and applies frameworks from queer historiography to the discipline in order to explore shifting perceptions of same-sex love and desire in translations and retranslations of William Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

    The book brings together perspectives from poststructuralism, queer theory, and translation history to set the stage for an in-depth exploration of a series of retranslations of the Sonnets from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The complex and poetic language of the Sonnets, frequently built around era-specific idioms and allusions, has produced a number of different interpretations of the work over the centuries, but questions remain as to how the translation process may omit, retain, or enhance elements of same-sex love in retranslated works across time and geographical borders. In focusing on target cultures which experienced dramatic sociopolitical changes over the course of the twentieth century and comparing retranslations originating from these contexts, Spišiaková finds the ideal backdrop in which to draw parallels between changing developments in power and social structures and shifting translation strategies related to the representation of gender identities and sexual orientations beyond what is perceived to be normative.

    In so doing, the book advocates for a queer perspective on the study of translation history and encourages questioning traditional boundaries prevalent in the discipline, making this key reading for students and researchers in translation studies, queer theory, and gender studies, as well as those interested in historical developments in Central and Eastern Europe.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons [Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)] 4.0 license.


    Mapping the History of – and in – Queer Translation Studies

    The Method: Translating Sonnets


    Notes on Terminology

    Notes on Language


    Chapter 1: Queering Czechoslovakia’s History

    First Czechoslovak Republic and the Second World War

    Socialist Czechoslovakia

    The Velvet Revolution

    Divided Paths after 1993


    Chapter 2: A Century of Sonnets

    Shakespeare’s Sonnets

    The Sonnets in Czechoslovakia

    The First Full Translation

    The Six Socialist Sonnets

    Book Production in Socialist Czechoslovakia

    Socialist Censorship

    Velvet Revolution, Divided Nations, and Eight More Sonnets


    Chapter 3: The Master Mistress of my Passion

    Gendering Languages

    Gendering Sonnets

    Gendering Translations

    Various Recipients

    Female-addressed Sonnets

    Male-addressed and Neutral Sonnets


    Chapter 4: I Love Thee in Such Sort

    The Lover

    The Friend

    From Lovers to Friends

    Gods and Children






    Eva Spišiaková received her PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Edinburgh and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Centre for Translation Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. Her interests include the intersection of translation studies with LGBTQ+ issues, disability studies, and medical humanities, and she is the author of the article "‘We’ve Called her Stephen’: Czech Translations of The Well of Loneliness and their Transgender Readings" (2020) and the co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Health (2021).