Monday, March 21, 2011

English Renaissance Translation: A Symposium

School of English, University of St Andrews

1-5 PM Wednesday 18 May 2011, Lawson Room
(Lunch 1-2PM)
Chair: Neil Rhodes

Introduction: The MHRA Tudor and Stuart Translations


Fred Schurink (University of Northumbria)

‘Plutarch in Renaissance England’
This paper will offer an introduction to my volume on Plutarch in the MHRA Tudor and Stuart Translations series. It will ask what translations of the Parallel Lives and the Moralia can tell us about the wider reception of Plutarch in renaissance England. The Lives and the Essays, combined in this volume, both present philosophical studies as an aid for elite readers to carry out their social and political duties. I will argue that they were thus particularly well suited as advice books for princes and lesser magistrates in the context of the early modern England, but also offered an opportunity for humanists to fashion their own role in society by presenting themselves as counsellors and educators. While these explanations offer general reasons for the popularity of Plutarch in the period, however, they do not explain how and why specific Lives and Essays were received in particular cases. By focusing on translations of individual Lives and Essays as well as the better-known collections of North and Holland, my volume in the series further highlights the importance of the specific intellectual, social, and political circumstances of the reception of Plutarch's works in early modern England.

Gordon Kendal (University of St Andrews)
" 'Ignotum per ignotius?' - editorial issues in redoing Douglas's translation of the 'Aeneid' (1513)"
It's the first translation of Virgil's poem into a form of English. But what form? And to what effect? I'll look at the reasons he gives for tackling the work, and touch on a few ways in which theoretical questions about what constitutes 'translation' impinge on the practical challenge of producing a modern edition of a text like Douglas's. What's the rationale? Or put it this way - Which of the following (if any) are not really 'translations' at all: Virgil's poem, Douglas's text, a modern scholarly edition (e.g. MHRA's), a retelling (such as appeared recently under the auspices of the Scots Language Society) in modern literary Scots? Perhaps none is: perhaps they all are.

Louise Wilson (University of St Andrews)
‘Elizabethan Translations of Iberian Romance: The Editions of Anthony Munday’
Beginning in the 1580s, Anthony Munday, one of the most prolific of early modern writers, translated numerous volumes of the Iberian chivalric romance cycles, _Amadis de Gaule_ and _Palmerin_, from French editions. This paper will focus on the paratexts and publication of Munday’s editions, particularly the ways in which the front matter addresses questions concerning the translating of chivalric fiction, reading practices, and the place of popular texts in the book trade. It will also consider Munday’s oblique use of material from the paratextual debates and related polemical texts of the French editions, a strategy which wittily engages with contemporary commentators’ anxieties about the effects of reading the romances.

Guyda Armstrong (University of Manchester)
'Authorizing the Italian novella: the 1620 English Decameron'
This paper will consider this landmark translation of Boccaccio's Decameron as a contemporary position statement on Boccaccio and the Italian novella. There are at least 35 different English translations of individual tales from the Decameron published in Britain between 1566 and 1619, not including verse retellings and paraphrases. However, the 1620 editio princeps is the first to translate the Boccaccian macrotext in its entirety (give or take a couple of censored novellas). In my paper I will explore the differences in material form, genre, and presumed audience between these dispersed tales and the 1620 princeps, via a comparison of some of the different renderings of the same source texts. The paper will also serve as an introduction to my forthcoming edition for the series.


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