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Literature CfPs for RSA 2019 Toronto
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Translations of Antiquity from Rome to the Renaissance

Posted By Leon Grek, Wednesday, July 25, 2018

In the course of urging his compatriots not to limit themselves to translating classical works into the vernacular, Joachim du Bellay devotes an entire chapter of his 1549 treatise, La Deffence et illustration de la langue françoyse, to the role of translation in the development of Latin literature. He begins with a question: “If the Romans (someone will say) had not undertaken this labor of translation, by what means then could they have so enriched their language, even to the point of making it equal, almost, to the Greek?” Although Du Bellay himself goes on to argue that the translation of Greek texts into Latin was merely a necessary, but not a sufficient step towards the perfection of Classical Latinity, the argument advanced by his imagined interlocutor reflects the enduring importance of what Denis Feeney terms “the Roman translation project” to Renaissance translators and literary theorists: from Ludovico Ariosto, who links his own imitations of comedies by Plautus and Terence to the Roman playwrights’ adaptation of Greek originals; to Francis Meres, who compares Terence, Germanicus, and Ausonius to a whole host of Elizabethan translators, including “Phaer for Virgils Aeneads, Golding for Ouids Metamorphosis, Harington for his Orlando Furioso, […] and Chapman for his inchoate Homer.”

This panel aims to explore and extend this comparative enterprise, by considering the relationship between ancient and early modern translation cultures from a variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives. We welcome papers that explore the use of classical Latin translations as authorizing precedents for Renaissance translators, or investigate the Renaissance reception of theoretical, or quasi-theoretical statements on translation by Roman authors, including Terence, Cicero, Horace, and Jerome. But we are also interested in papers that adopt comparative or synchronic approaches to the subject. How do post-Classical Latin translators of Greek texts continue or diverge from the practices of their Classical predecessors? How might our understanding of the Roman translation project be enriched by considering it in terms of early modern vernacularization? And how, in turn, might recognizing the vernacularity of Roman literature complicate our understanding of the evolving interactions between classical, vernacular, and neo-Latin literary traditions throughout the early modern period?

Please send title (15-word maximum), abstract (150-word maximum), keywords, and a brief C.V. to the organizers, Leon Grek ( and Adam Foley ( by August 10, 2018.

Tags:  classical reception  comparative translation studies  Latin literature  literary translation  the Roman translation project  translation of antiquity  translation theory  vernacularization 

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