Renaissance/Early Modern Translation (colloquium)

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For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a year-long colloquium led by A. E. B. Coldiron over the course of 2014–2015.

This colloquium was designed for faculty members and advanced graduate students working on projects about the theory and practice of early modern translation, and most sessions centered on developing the pre-circulated work of participants. Because translation was a pervasive mode of literary-cultural transformation in the Renaissance, and because translation now challenges major critical categories such as authorship and periodization, it animates historical and theoretical inquiries alike. Current database projects such as the Universal Short Title Catalogue and the Renaissance Cultural Crossroads Catalogue have expanded our factual basis for studying translations; after the cultural turn in translation studies, new scholarship has theorized and historicized translation. In light of this new work, the colloquium reconsidered perennial Renaissance topics such as the appropriation of antiquity, emergent literary nationhoods, and vernacularity. Gender, empire, textuality, multilingualism, and the transculturation of ideologies, for example, also informed our work. Other welcome topics included the so-called “untranslatables” (such as translated literary genres and forms, music, clothing, or architecture). Both early modern and contemporary translation theories grounded our reading of the translations treated in participants’ projects.

Director: A. E. B. Coldiron is Professor of English and Affiliated Faculty in French at Florida State University. She serves on the editorial board of the Tudor and Stuart Translations series for the Modern Humanities Research Association. Author of numerous articles and three books on early modern and late-medieval translation, her most recent title is Printers Without Borders: Englishing Texts in the Renaissance (2015).


Resources & Results

The colloquium participants collaborated to produce a Special Double Issue of Philological Quarterly:

The Translator's Voice in Early Modern Literature and History. Special Double Issue, Philological Quarterly, vol. 95 Nos 3 & 4 (Summer and Fall 2016), pp. 311-493. (Ed. A. E. B. Coldiron.)


They also produced a working bibliography, which affords researchers a starting point for their own study of early modern translation.


Finally, they have compiled an annotated list of major journals that are concerned with translation.