Philological Quarterly

95.3–4 Abstracts

A. E. B. Coldiron, "Introduction: Beyond Babel, Or,The Agency of Translators in Early Modern Literature and History"

Emily C. Francomano, "The Greeks and the Romans:Translatio, Translation, and Parodyin the Libro de buen amor"

No other episode captures quite as well how the Libro de buen amor parodies authority and translatio studii than the Disputación que los griegos e los rromanos en uno ovieron (The Disputation between the Greeks and the Romans). A Greek sage and a Roman rogue exchange four hand-signs, and then translate these visible signs into their respective vernaculars, resulting in wildly different interpretations: the Greek experiences a conversation of doctrinal agreement, while the Roman reports exchanging threats of physical violence. Scholarship on this comic exemplum has, rightly, focused on sign theory and interpretation. However, and even though the protagonists engage in multiple acts of (mis)translation, and translation necessarily involves the interpretation of signs, the Disputación has yet be read from the perspective of translation history and theory, which, as this article will argue, elucidate not only how the Libro de buen amor turns sign theory into fiction, but also fashions the role of the clerical poet as translator and transmitter of auctoritas.

Kathryn Vomero Santos, “The knots within”:Translations, Tapestries, and the Art of Reading Backwards"

 This article presents a new approach to reading the famous tapestry metaphor that has circulated in discourses on translation for centuries. Popularized by Miguel de Cervantes in the second part of Don Quixote (1615), the image of the tapestry’s two sides—the smooth front side and the messy reverse side—has long been assumed to illustrate the uneven relationship between an original and its translation. Following the lead of seventeenth-century English translator Leonard Digges, who urges readers to remember “the knots within” that make the tapestry possible, the article advocates for a method of reading backwards toward a history of translation that pays careful attention to the material and textual circumstances from which this metaphor emerged. Reconsidering the inner workings of both texts and textiles in this way allows us to understand that the relationships between translations and originals were messy, knotty, and not at all binary.

 Adrián Izquierdo, "Translating History and ExpungingTreason: Textual and Politica lIntervention in the Conspiracy of the Duke of Biron"

This article explores the connections between official history writing, the genre of political biography and translation practices in France and Spain in the seventeenth century. It argues that Juan Pablo Mártir Rizo’s Historia trágica de la vida del duque de Biron, a biography he wrote using Pierre Matthieu’s monumentally large Histoire de France as a source, served to refashion contemporary history by actively intervening in the text in order to change its political and ideological implications. Early modern theories on imitation and the hackneyed traduttore, traditore motif are thus the backbone of the analysis of a translation that shows how historical truth depended on what side of the Pyrenees writers and historians stood, and how both the original French source and the Spanish involvement in the Conspiracy of the Duke of Biron are “betrayed” in one and the same process.

Darcy Kern, "Words: Paolo Sarpi and Roberto Bellarmino as Translators in the Venetian Interdict Crisis"

Paolo Sarpi, a Venetian priest of the Servite order, rose to international prominence during the quarrel between the Republic of Venice and Pope Paul V at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Sarpi has long been regarded as an anti-papalist and anti-Council of Trent polemicist, which he undoubtedly was. From the Venetian interdict to the publication of Istoria del Concilio Tridentino twelve years later, he grew increasingly hostile to the papacy. Yet his earliest published writings, those from the interdict crisis, reveal that during the crisis Sarpi reinforced post-Tridentine translation culture by upholding the Catholic Church’s understanding of words and by not permitting Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino, S. J., any latitude with translation, while Bellarmino’s inability to develop a consistent translation scheme left him and the papacy he defended vulnerable to accusations of ineptitude and dishonesty.

 Elizabeth Patton, "Four Contemporary Translations of Dorothy Arundell’s Los tEnglish Narratives"

Drawing evidence from four recently identified contemporary translations, in Spanish, Italian, and Latin, of two lost English narratives of the life and martyrdom of John Cornelius, SJ (1557-1594), this study argues that Dorothy Arundell, self-identified author of the lost Life of Father John Cornelius, SJ  (written ca. 1600), also authored the previously anonymous “Letter from London” sent out of England to Jesuits within six weeks of the execution of Cornelius in 1594.  Arundell’s sequential narratives are assessed in light of the material circumstances in which each was produced: written in different countries and in vastly different confessional contexts, narrated in distinctly different vocal registers, and separated and inflected by a period of profound change in the author’s life, they have much to contribute to our understanding of the reception, circulation, and transmission of early modern women’s writing and will repay our efforts to consider them as separate accounts.

David Macey, "Who Is Pressing You Now?: A Reconsideration of Milton’s“Pyrrha Ode”

Milton’s highly literal translation of Horace has been deemed both a masterpiece and a failure. The critical debate up to this point has focused on three issues: the translation’s date of composition, its relation to Milton’s stylistic development, and its poetic merits. This essay engages with all three issues—particularly the translation’s date of composition, for which I present new evidence—but does so in order to give due attention to other concerns, namely the translation’s print history, paratext, and the purpose of literal translation in early modern England. I argue that Milton’s translation demands through its method and its paratext that readers approach it comparatively—that they use, that is, the facing Latin. And whereas other literal translations encouraged comparative reading to further learning, Milton’s literal translation is experimental rather than pedagogical.

Kelly Lehtonen, "Peri Hypsous in Translation:The Sublime in Sixteenth-Century Epic Theory"

This article examines the “translation” of Longinus’ first-century treatise Peri Hypsous into early modern theories of epic poetry in Italy and England. The essay first argues that sixteenth-century scholars—commentators on Peri Hypsous as well as the treatise’s earliest translators—interpreted the Longinian sublime as a conceptual principle of high-mindedness, not simply as a stylistic principle; it then identifies core Longinian principles in two particular theories of heroic poetry: Torquato Tasso’s Discorsi del poema eroico and Philip Sidney’s Defence of Poetry. Ultimately, in identifying a latent Longinian discourse in each of these works, the essay argues that the presence of the sublime in poetic theory helps to repurpose epic beyond the ethical and civic-building aims traditionally attributed to the genre, linking epic with a concept of transcendence.

Jennifer Keith, "The Reach of Translation in the Works of Anne Finch"

Translation granted Anne Finch a literary authority to assert cultural values that many in her nation would have found bold or perhaps seditious. These values—Jacobitism and feminism—constituted what I am calling Finch’s double position of internal exile from the dominant British culture. As a mode of representation, translation informed her poetics: the act of translation served to remind her not only of one language’s insufficiency to convey the meaning of another language, but also language’s insufficiency to represent tout court. This essay attends to a spectrum of translation in Finch’s work that establishes the importance of translation as a practice and signifying network in her poetry. Although her attention to Jacobitism and feminism has been acknowledged and explored by many critics, little discussion has considered how Finch, occupying a similarly doubled position as translator and socially displaced person, used a range of translation practices to make these internally exiled cultures legible.