Queering Translation History : Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Czech and Slovak Transformations book cover
1st Edition

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

  • Available for pre-order on December 19, 2022. Item will ship after January 9, 2023
ISBN 9781032021980
January 9, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
134 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents


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





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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).