Roots of Restlessness?
Translations in Times of Disruption
2nd Conference of the University of Oxford’s
Interdisciplinary Research Network TRANSLATIONS IN TRANSNATIONAL CONTEXTS
The Dorfman Centre, St. Peter’s College, Oxford, Saturday 10 May 2014
Sponsored by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), The Modern European History Research Centre (MEHRC), and The Society for the Social History of Medicine.
. Panel TRANSLATING CONSTITUTIONS IN THE AGE OF REVOLUTIONS
Proponent/Chair: Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers
Prof Horst Dippel (University of Kassel; keynote address): CAN CONSTITUTIONS BE TRANSLATED? : THE CASE OF THE CADIZ CONSTITUTION IN GERMAN (KEYNOTE ADDRESS)
Starting with the question of whether constitutions can be translated, I shall briefly deal with some examples of various attempts to translate constitutions that, for one reason or another, ended in compromise if not in outright disaster. Turning to the Cadiz Constitution, which passed unnoticed in Germany in 1812, interest in it began to increase when the first French translations became available in 1814. With the Trienio liberal, the situation had completely changed; in 1819 two German translations had appeared, paving the way for substantially increasing interest. In 1820 several more translations were published, and finally the total number of translations published in Germany between 1814 and 1836 reached the staggering total of ten. What do they tell us? That alongside the resounding interest there was an effort to define the political future of Germany through respecting, modifying, or severely criticising the Cadiz Constitution. And what do they tell us about the different translations and the translation of constitutions in general? That they were all influenced by the translator’s cultural predispositions and may not be taken as a perfect equivalent of the original text.
Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers (Oxford): FROM PHILOS HISPANIAE TO KARL MARX: LIFE AND AFTERLIFE OF THE FIRST ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF A LIBERAL CODEX
This paper is a study of the authorship, text and impact of the first full English translation of the Constitución Política de la Monarquía Española, generally known as the Constitution of Cadiz, and considered as the Liberal Codex of the early nineteenth century. The unveiling of the identity of the enigmatic Philos Hispaniae who claimed responsibility for its dissemination in London in October 1813 opens the way for an exploration of the transatlantic political, military, economic and cultural disruptions that contribute to explain both the peculiar timing of its publication and the editorial approach adopted by the translator. A historical analysis of the translated text is presented within the context of other English versions, particularly extracts published by several newspapers around the time of the signing of the Constitution (19 March 1812) and an abridged version reproduced in serial form by the radical Cobbet´s Political Register soon after the violent closure of the Cortes in Madrid brought the implementation of the charter to an abrupt halt (May 1814). This enquiry reveals significant mismatches in the translation of contrasting notions of Spanish and British imperial governance to end then with an appraisal of the influence that the first complete edition had on future generations of readers, including prominent political theorists such as Karl Marx.
Prof. David Hook (Oxford): DISTANT DISRUPTION? THE 1836 ITALIAN TRANSLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF CADIZ AND ITS COMMENTARY ON CARLISM
Most attention paid to the Italian translations of the 1812 Constitution of Cadiz has focused on those printed between 1813 and 1821; the known editions during this period represent at least five independent translations (Messina 1813, Rome 1814, Milan 1814, Naples 1820 [unofficial], Naples 1820 [government]) and their reprints. Less attention has been paid to later editions, though reprints of earlier translations in works of 1848 and 1850 have been noted. The apparent gap in the printing tradition during the 1830s is illusory, since in 1836 a new Italian translation was printed in Bastia (this seems to be known from a single recorded copy) and a partial and selective summary containing both paraphrases of some, and a new translation of other, articles of the Constitution was printed in a work on the Spanish Cortes. The textual status of the 1836 texts and their historical significance will be discussed in this paper.
Prof. M.C. Mirow (Florida International University College of Law): TRANSLATING INTO STONE: THE MONUMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF CÁDIZ IN ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA (1813-1814)
St. Augustine, Florida, most likely has the only surviving monument to the Constitution of Cádiz erected during the first promulgation of the Constitution in the Spanish Empire. Constructed in 1813 and 1814, the monument was the most expensive public work in the city, then the capital of the Spanish province of East Florida. I hope to discuss this highly successful attempt to translate the Constitution into stone as a way of marking this city’s constitutional and imperial compliance. The contribution will address the monument’s construction, projection, and unusual survival through constitutional and absolutist periods. The origin of the Masonic square and compass on one tablet of the monument continues as a topic of debate. When the region became a territory of the United States in 1821, it is likely that the subject of the monument was easily shifted from the Constitution of Cádiz to the United States Constitution. Minutes of the proceedings of the city council (cabildo constitucional) reveal that the monument was just one part of an attempt to establish an entrenched constitutional regime in the city and region. Leaders of the community worked swiftly to create required constitutional institutions and a deputy was selected and sent to Cádiz in 1813 to represent the interests of St. Augustine.
Dr. Eduardo Posada-Carbó (Oxford) TRANSLATING THE US CONSTITUTION FOR THE FEDERAL CAUSE IN NEW GRANADA AT THE TIME OF INDEPENDENCE
In 1811, within a year of the first declaration of independence in New Granada (Colombia today), a translation of the US constitution was published in Bogotá, together with the US Declaration of Independence and the Articles of the Confederation. These texts, however, were preceded by a long essay on the federal system, written by Miguel de Pombo (1779-1816), a lawyer from the province of Popayán. An examination of Pombo’s work serves to explore some of the questions we have been asked to address in this conference, two of them in particular: ‘Have translations ever instigated a crisis or shaped the way in which it developed? To what extent have moments of disruption fostered […] the translation of specific works?’ While the US texts were certainly translated to encourage independence, Pombo was also advancing the idea of reorganizing the government of New Granada along federalist lines. Organizing the new government proved to be more difficult than declaring independence. As they moved away from Spanish rule, various provinces in New Granada also reasserted their own sovereignty, independent from the attempts to create a centralist government in Bogotá. These early experiments failed, as the Spanish peninsular army defeated the ‘Patriots’ in 1815 – Pombo was executed a year later. This paper examines Pombo’s work and its possible impact in the federal experiments of the first republic in New Granada.
. Panel TRANSLATING MEDICAL TEXTS DURING EPIDEMICS AND IMPERIAL CRISES
Proponent/Chair: Dr. Erica Charters
Edna Bonhomme (Princeton University) THE BUBONIC PLAGUE, DEATH RITUALS, AND CEMETERIES IN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY TUNIS
In 1784 CE, the Great Epidemic (al-waba’ al-kabir)–also considered the bubonic plague—occurred in Tunis and destabilized the economic and social life of the city. Whatever the ailment was, it immobilized Tunis for eighteen months and killed up to one third of the 100,000 inhabitants. While scholars have written about the geopolitical and economic impact of the 1784 plague, very few have looked at the way in which burial practices were reconfigured. This paper uncovers how funeral rites were interpreted and regulated during the 1784 bubonic plague outbreak and the ways that this deviated from religious law, through a close examination of French consular records and Arabic chronicles. Of importance will be a quarantine manual by Ḥamdān ibn ʻUthmān Khawājah (Itḥāf al-munṣifin wa-al-udabāʼ fī al-iḥtirās ʻan al-wabaʼ). Upon examination of these events, it becomes clear that officials documenting the plague used it to bolster their claims about diseased bodies. Thus, religious translation was mediated by a vibrant epidemic. By showing that plague discourses were tailored for public health and trade, this paper highlights the crisis plague poses to funerals.
Teodora Daniela Sechel (Karl Franzens Universität, Graz, and Central European University, Budapest) THE POLITICS OF MEDICAL TRANSLATIONS IN THE 18TH CENTURY HABSBURG MONARCHY
The last decades of the eighteenth century were a period of challenges and disruptions in the Habsburg Monarchy. The provincial unrest that followed Emperor Joseph II’s language and administrative reforms was further amplified by the French revolution and Napoleonic wars. My paper analyses the politics of medical translation and shows the complexity of knowledge production and circulation in the intercultural and multiethnic contexts of the Habsburg Monarchy at the end of the 18th century. It argues that medical translations of books, manuals, and brochures authored by physicians and professors at medical schools in Vienna, were one of the main tools that contributed to the standardization of medical knowledge and practices in this region. They had a great influence not only upon medical knowledge but also upon practices, thus Vienna was the authority approving what was taught and published. The medical theories and practices transmitted reflect also the games of influence and power exercised by protomedici and professors at the Vienna University. It was a process of authorization and dissemination of knowledge from the “center” to the provinces. My paper will also show that medical translations reveal the enlightened medizinische Polizey in action through the translation and circulation of text. It will illustrate one important avenue through which the administration attempted to implement in the provinces the largely normative-theoretical scheme devised by Joseph von Sonnenfels, Johann Peter Frank, and others.
. Panel TRANSLATING FOR WAR AND FOR PEACE IN THE 19TH CENTURY
Chair: Dr. Graciela Iglesias Rogers
Dr. Jo Crow (University of Bristol): TRANSLATING AUTONOMY: INDIGENOUS MAPUCHE INTERPRETERS IN POST-INDEPENDENCE CHILE?
This paper investigates the role of interpreters in the parlamentos [formal meetings) that took place between indigenous Mapuche lonkos [caciques, community leaders] and Chilean state authorities during the turbulent decades following the first proclamation of Chilean independence from Spain in 1810. It attempts to piece together fragmentary references found in the primary source material from the period (for example, travel writing, official government documents, and Mapuche leaders’ correspondence with Chilean military officials) in order to clarify the identity of the interpreters, the mechanisms through which they were chosen, and the significance of their interventions during the negotiation process. It explores the reality of Chilean-Mapuche power relations at this time, and – focusing on the question of language – asks how this compares to Spanish-Mapuche power relations during the colonial period (when parlamentos were also the principal means of political interaction).
Dr. Alicia Laspra-Rodríguez (University of Oviedo): “A TRUE TRANSLATION”: TRANSLATION AS A WEAPON IN THE PENINSULAR WAR (1808-1814)
The multinational, multilingual character of the contending armies in the Peninsular War (1808-1814) turned translation into an indispensable written tool for verbal communication. All along the conflict the main European languages were used in the Peninsula for a wide variety of purposes: transmission of intelligence, invitations to defection, news reporting, propaganda, proclamations, personal and official correspondence were among such purposes.
Need arose in Britain for trustworthy native speakers of English with a good command of the most important languages spoken in the different Peninsular armies –namely Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Polish. This had an impact on the career of a number of British officers and press correspondents who were posted to the Peninsula mainly due to their language abilities. All of them, together with British diplomats, endeavoured to have a huge amount of Peninsular documents forwarded home. These were soon translated into English and, depending on the cases, published in the British press or kept in the Foreign Office and other official departments. This paper will focus on a number of Peninsular ‘war translation’ issues. First, it will present a selection of Spanish documents which were translated into English for the British authorities or the press. Second, it will offer examples of multilingual documents distributed all over the Peninsula by British agents as war propaganda. Finally, two particularly outstanding cases will be briefly considered –one related to the fate in Britain of the translated version of a forged document, and the other connected with a case of non-verbal communication.
. Panel LITERARY TRANSLATION CONFRONTED TO THE CHALLENGES OF WAR, RADICALISM AND GLOBALIZATION
Chair: Dr. Jonathan Thacker
Dr. Agustín Coletes-Blanco (Oviedo) ANGLO-SPANISH TRANSFERS IN PENINSULAR WAR POETRY (1808-1814): TRANSLATING AND ZERO-TRANSLATING
During the Peninsular War (1808-1814), British poets responded to events by putting together and publishing a substantial body of verse, normally in favour of the Spanish patriots and their struggle against Napoleonic imperialism. Authors range from those we now consider classics to those who enjoyed brief success among their contemporaries, and include numerous anonymous contributors who sent occasional verses to the papers for publication. Britain was deeply involved in the Iberian conflict, and British poets played an important mediating role between events and public opinion. An ongoing Spanish National Research Project on the European Poetry of the Peninsular War, which includes a growing digital archive of poems in four languages, has revealed the depth and extension of this largely-forgotten phenomenon. As could be expected, the vast majority of poems on Spain by British authors are written in English and addressed to their natural, native audience. This paper, however, focuses on Anglo-Spanish borderline cases of transference which, it is believed, can be of particular interest within the conference remit. Examples of translating and of zero-translating will thus be given and analyzed. The first includes English translation (Spanish source-texts, transcribed and translated into English, and published in the London papers) and the second both Spanish zero-translation (Spanish source-texts, transcribed but not translated, and published as parts of English poems) and L3 zero-translation (French or Latin source-texts, published in British newspapers and magazines, or independently). This aims to shed light on some of the conference key questions, such as to what extent and in what way moments of crisis foster or hinder translation.
Tamara de Inés Antón (University of Manchester): PERIPHERALIZING WOMEN’S AGENCY AND POLITICAL RADICALISM FOR THE ANGLOPHONE MARKET: THE CASE OF NICARAGUAN WOMEN WRITERS AND ITS ANTHOLOGIES OF POETRY IN TRANSLATION
This paper seeks to create a core-periphery systemic model that interrogates the different layers of marginalization suffered by the erotic, women’s agency and political radicalism in Nicaraguan Revolutionary women´s writing in relation to the Anglophone book market. Furthermore, it will question the process of translation through a comparative textual analysis of ST (Spanish) and TT (English) of a corpus of texts, defined by three translation anthologies including the works of Nicaraguan women writers such as Gioconda Belli, Daisy Zamora, Rosario Murillo, Michele Najilis, Yolanda Blanco during and after the Sandinista Revolution. The majority of these Revolutionary women writers have expressed on different occasions that writing itself is for them a potentially explosive political act. These women played major and active roles in such nationalist -anti-colonial- liberation movements at the end of the 20th century, and the harsh realities of the battle front led them to find creative ways to express their fears, anxieties and hopes (Hussain 2009). I problematize the Anglophone book market in relation to my corpus of texts by redefining the concept of peripheralization on two levels: internal and external. I seek to apply this concept to: 1) Review the new space created by both authoritative practices: translation and anthologization; 2) Redefine this space in the case of already marginalized literature to work around processes of canonization and peripheralization at an external level; 3) Analyze the impact of the agenda and the expectations of the publishing field on the selection of texts and/or the practice of translation.
Dr Gemma Martínez-Garrido (University of Kent): GLOBALIZATION AND THE INVASION OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN AUDIOVISUAL TRANSLATION: THE TRANSLATION OF MINORITY LANGUAGES IN FILM SUBTITLING
The on-going globalization process that has expanded rapidly over the last two decades has brought with it an increasingly dominance of English as a world language. This prominence of the English language has achieved a greater impact in the audio-visual media and has substantially affected the perceived value of some regional and minority languages. This paper explores how the invasion of the English language in the audio-visual media has a significant impact on the way minority languages, in particular Catalan, are transferred through film subtitling. It aims to shed some light on how notions of cultural identity are translated from minority languages into English by analysing the translation of the culture-bound elements found in a corpus of 14 Catalan-language films and in their English-subtitled versions. It will focus on the translation techniques and overall strategies that have been used in the rendering of Catalan culture-bound references by empirically exploring the connections among the following parameters: audiovisual constraints, interculturality, film genre, domain and translation techniques. The study includes a quantitative analysis of the results in order to describe the general trends observed and to identify the translation behaviour adopted by the subtitlers when rendering culture-bound elements from the original Catalan films into their English-subtitled version.
. Panel DYNASTIC WARS, POST-REVOLUTIONS, AND RESISTANCE
Chair: Prof. David Hook
Dr Emily A. Winkler (Oxford): THE TRANSLATION OF DYNASTY (AND DYNASTIC CONFLICT) IN BRITAIN’S MEDIEVAL CHRONICLES
The year 1093, as R.R. Davies observed, was the pivotal year beyond England’s borders in the Norman conquest of Britain as it spread to include English victories over the Welsh and the Scottish. One might imagine that the Norman Conquest would have a significant impact on subsequent narratives of conquest within the British isles, given its far-reaching and growing geographic impact. Yet as my doctoral thesis has recently suggested, based on an analysis of twelfth-century accounts of both the Danish Conquest of 1016 and the Norman Conquest, the fact of repeated conquest within the British Isles proved far more influential in shaping the memory of conquest and dynasty than did any single conquest. This paper explores translations not only of languages, but also of ideas, by employing comparative studies of narratives written within the British Isles in the long twelfth century (in particular, the Latin Life of Gruffudd ap Cynan, compared with e.g. the Life of Saint Margaret of Scotland, the Book of the Taking of Ireland, and Anglo-Norman narratives). It addresses the question of how—and whether—the spread of conquest within the British Isles affected the translation and perception of dynasties over time. It investigates how different historians treated dynastic conflict in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The paper also engages with the question of whether the changing representation of dynasties reflects a political agenda, a new genre of conquest narrative, or a shared heritage of thought about the past.
Dr. Jennifer Rushworth (Oxford): TRANSLATING PETRARCH AFTER THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
This paper proposes to analyse the changing ways in which Petrarch was transformed by French translators in the nineteenth century, with a view to establishing how the socio-political climate of the time affected the writing of such translations. One major catalyst for the nineteenth-century European rediscovery of Petrarch was the abbé de Sade’s Mémoires pour la vie de François Pétrarque (1764-67), which is founded on the twin claims that Petrarch’s Laura was from Avignon and that Petrarch, too, must be considered in some senses as belonging to France. I argue that such debate only intensified following the French Revolution, and in particular the unification of Avignon with France in the 1790s, the city having previously been a papal annex since the fourteenth century. Throughout the French nineteenth century, the cultural reclaiming of Avignon and the translation of Petrarch’s poetry ought therefore, I suggest, to be understood as complementary urges. Of central interest are Petrarch’s vituperative Avignonese sonnets, which are deemed unpalatable for French readers and therefore pose a challenge to French translators, which it is met in various ways requiring evaluation. Also striking is the vogue for Provençal translations of Petrarch in the second half of the century, which returns the poet to his postulated troubadour origins. Whilst the broader context of medievalism in this period is important, the particular aim of this paper is to show how translations of Petrarch after the Revolution both reflected attitudes concerning Franco-Italian relations of the time and contributed to the nineteenth-century Provençal Renaissance.
Katarzyna Szymanska (Oxford): TRANSLATION AS RESISTANCE TO THE ORIGINAL: THE CASE OF TWO NOVELS TRANSLATED IN THE COMMUNIST POLAND
Literary translation in the Communist era has been most thoroughly studied with respect to ideologically driven practices such as: editorial censorship, publication of politically coloured introductions determining the text’s reading or general control over the circulation of foreign literature. In Poland, the intellectual and artistic resistance to Soviet oppression found its vent in Polish underground press (so called “second circulation”), especially in publications by poets and translators of the New Wave. The traces of this active opposition can also be seen in the textual shape of some literary translations. In his book The conference of the tongues, Theo Hermans proposes to read translations as ironic metatexts which may show the translators’ active stance towards the original: in particular, when they try to distance themselves from the text and fight it. Within this conceptual framework, I would like to present two interesting cases of novels translated in Poland during Communism: Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin and Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. Although both of them were originally written in English, their authors used a similar artistic device and distorted their protagonists’ language with the strong interference of Russian. When transferred into the target language, the analogical “Russification” of Polish could not leave the translators, Anna Kołyszko and Robert Stiller, indifferent to the effect which would inevitably resemble the “newspeak” used by officials or Soviet infiltrators of their time. Instead, the translators’ curious strategies and alternative means to overcome this problem could be seen as a metatextual fight with the notion imposed by the original.