Poetics and Politics of Translation and Rewriting in Early Modern Literature in English (Northeast Modern Language Association 50th Anniversary Convention)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Emiliano Gutierrez Popoca/ Brandeis University
contact email: 

The achievements of Early Modern literature in English evince the relevance of translation for literary history. The impact of translation on the development of new literary modes and genres during this period is often acknowledged. It is clear, for instance, that the sonnet in English, both as a verse form and as a mode of individual lyrical expression, is traced to its introduction to the English tradition through Wyatt and Surrey’s translations of Petrarch’s Canzoniere. The translations of seminal works of prose of the Italian or French Renaissance, like Thomas Hoby’s translation of Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier or John Florio’s translation of Montaigne’s Essays, are also recognized as fundamental for shaping Early Modern culture in England.This is also the case of texts that stand on the limits between literature and religion, like Tyndale’s Bible or Philip and Mary Sidney’s Psalter, which overlap with the doctrinal, theological and political debates of the Reformation. However, in discussing the significance of translation in Early Modern culture, we must also delve into the complexity of the period’s concepts of translation. In The Light in Troy. Imitation and Discovery in Renaissance Poetry, Thomas Greene discusses the ways in which humanistic education put texts that engaged with a previous source in categories like translation, paraphrasis, imitation or interpretation. Greene also highlights the blurry boundaries between these. The purpose of this panel session is to approach these unclear boundaries as fertile spaces where different languages and literary traditions interact, and to discuss how these conditions contributed to the development of a thriving literary milieu in Early Modern literature in English.

This panel seeks to address the impact of translation on Early Modern literature in English, and to generate a conversation around the liminality between translation and rewriting in the period. Some of the questions that may be approached in this panel are:

  • How do Early Modern theories of translation contribute to our understanding of literary forms, genres, or individual texts?
  • What are the poetics or politics of translation in the Early Modern period?
  • How do these relate to the formation of a linguistic, national or religious identity in England or in the English colonies?
  • What does translation in the Early Modern period suggest about originality, literary influence, intertextuality, or cultural capital?

Subject areas include but are not limited to: Anglophone Literatures, Comparative Literature, French and Francophone, German , Italian, Russian / Eastern European, and Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature, World Literatures (Non-European Languages), Classics.

Please register and submit abstracts to https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/login

Abstract submission deadline is 30 September 2018.