The Medieval Translator
The conference will focus on linguistic fragmentation as a means of cultural inclusion. In the passage from late antiquity to the high Middle Ages, a number of written translations in various vernaculars and dialects already appear – suffice it to think of the first attempts at translating the Bible, of the effect of Carolingian culture, or of King Alfred’s cultural policy, aimed at making vernaculars the vehicle of faith and knowledge. As we move towards the late Middle Ages, translation becomes an essential instrument for the transmission of literature, religion and science. The proliferation of translations, through the linguistic fragmentation represented by target languages, allowed the transferral of texts to an ever-wider audience. Translation thus appears to have divided linguistically, but culturally united and shared what belonged to one language.
We should not omit case studies reflecting on the phenomena mentioned above, offering different (and possibly opposite) instantiations of the same phenomenon. The spreading of literacy corresponded to an increasing fragmentation of written production, occasionally isolated by its own vernacular. Consequently, ideas, forms of knowledge, and literary texts risked not being shared. A koinè language was the only means of circulation. It is thus worth reflecting upon translation into a koinè language, such as Latin, as a means of overcoming cultural fragmentation.
Within a wider reflection on the relationship between inclusion, fragmentation and translation, some specific case studies might be:
- The vernacular circulation of religious texts (translation of the Bible, of hagiographic or homiletic texts, etc.).
- The circulation, thanks to translation, of literary texts (e.g., the translation of epic-chivalric cycles).
- The circulation in translation of scientific writing, manuals, encyclopedias.
- The translation from a koinè language to another language and back.
- The translation from a vernacular language to a koinè language.
- Translational exchanges between languages (e.g., Latin and Greek).
- The relation between the choice of the target language and the socio-cultural context.
Papers may be given in English, French or Italian, and should be twenty minutes long. Please send a 500-word abstract, an essential bibliography and a brief curriculum vitae by 31 October 2019 to:
Davide Bertagnolli email@example.com
Alessandro Zironi firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information: https://eventi.unibo.it/medieval-translator-2020
Following previous practice, it is planned to publish a book of selected papers in the peer-reviewed Medieval Translator series (Brepols) following the conference.