The main aim of this research project is a history of translation developed ‘horizontally’ (FOLENA 1991) in the European Renaissance. We shall study the theorization and synchronic reflections on translation (starting from the translation of the Bible, on which see MESCHONNIC 1999, but expanding to the topic of translation in philosophical and scientific texts): the translations in the European literary canon; and individual translators. It is an all-inclusive history concerning not only individual nations or individual languages, but also the European geo-linguistic landscape, as has never been done before in criticism. The project intends to construct a database of translations, translators, printing presses and printers, and become a reference point in Europe for national research groups (on the model of what has been done in the UK by Renaissance Cultural Crossroads. An Analytical and Annotated Catalogue of Translations, 1473-1640 in the University of Warwick and by CLASSE, FRANCE, in French by Duché, in Spain by LAFARGA, PEGENAUTE).
Studies on translation have been, in many ways, a characteristic branch of linguistic and literary studies for at least the last fifty years (see FRANK, KITTEL, GREINER 2004, 2008, 2011 and KITTEL 1998). It would not be appropriate to summarise or take up any of these studies. Instead, the starting point would be the magisterial (and still unrivalled) work by FOLENA 1991 and his contention that «[…] at the origin of written and literary traditions, as far as the eye can see, we find translation. So that in place of the well-known pride-filled idealist dictum in principio fuit poëta it would be more fitting to put the humble reality that in principio fuit interpres». This means denying, historically, the idea of absolute or self-contained beginning.
The research objects of the PI are, therefore, not the thirteenth- or fourteenth-century vernacularisations of Latin or Greek texts (which have been extensively studied, as shown by LUBELLO 2011, FROSINI 2014 and, for the Italian Area, the corpus of the vernacular collected by the research team DiVo at the Accademia della Crusca in Florence), or humanistic translations (cf. BERNARD-PRADELLE, LECHEVALIER 2012), presupposing a non-negotiable hierarchy relegating vernacular texts in a secondary position. The PI is interested in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century translations, linking them with the spread of the printing press and the acquired autonomy of vernacular languages. The moment in cultural history we are interested in sees, at its start, the decline of vernacularisation and the overcoming of the crisis of Latin Humanism, based on the recovery of a lost conceptual and lexical heritage, thanks to Greek-to-Latin translation; and at its completion, the flourishing seventeenth-century debate on “belles infidèles”, starting with Gilles Ménage.
The theoretical basis of the project is the conviction that the European cultural unity is constructed over the early-modern period, founded on the circulation, in translation, of a well-defined, far from small but not huge, corpus of “great works” from every nation. To give a few samples: works by Cervantes, Lope, Calderon; Castiglione, Machiavelli – see the project http://hyperprince.ens-lyon.fr/hypermachiavel -, Ariosto, Guicciardini, Tasso; Shakespeare, Milton; Commynes, Bodin, Montaigne; Lipsius; and a number of texts which would not be considered strictly literary by modern standards – by historians, philosophers, artists, art theorists, jurists, scientists: see for instance Albrecht Dürer’s Von menschlicher Proportion (1528), translated into Latin, then from Latin to Italian, and printed in Venice in 1591). Such works constituted the canon of the various European nations and languages in the Renaissance, if by Renaissance we mean a wide cultural period starting in Italy in the mid-fifteenth century and continuing, for instance in England, until the mid-seventeenth. In this corpus we also insert works written in the vernacular in the fourteenth century, thus preceding Humanism proper but enjoying great popularity in the Renaissance; for examples belonging to the Italian cultural milieu, we might mention Petrarch, or the Decameron (already translated into French in 1414, 1485, and in 1545 in Le Maçon).
Translation plays a fundamental role in the history of the transformations, re-modellings, and intertextual relations that characterize European culture. The European Commission itself has been extremely attentive to multilingualism, of which translation is an expression – see, for instance, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/IT/TXT/?uri=celex:52008DC0566. Even today, it is an issue involving authors, publishers, scholars, and cultural historians; today as in the Renaissance, it is important for the preservation of the identity and characteristics of one’s mother tongue, to implement the knowledge of the literary heritage of each country, and for the promotion of intercultural dialogue. Translation highlights differences among the various cultures; it allows us to understand the wealth of meaning of the “other”, and often it preserves and enriches the target language.
What ECO writes in 2008 is true, if paradoxical (though see ECO 2003): the language of Europe is translation. This is true as long as it is nuanced with what we read in MESCHONNIC 1999: according to the latter, the history of translation and the history of Europe are inseparable: “l’Europe ne s’est fondée que sur des traductions”, adding that “elle ne s’est constituée que de l’effacement de cette origine toute de traduction”. In Meschonnic’s words we may read an invitation not only to take translations into consideration, but also to consider the process according to which they were subordinated or were conceived of as “handmaids” to literature, not to be studied for their own worth. Yet, paradoxically, such a process has not produced (or has not produced only) a forgetfulness about translations and translators; it has also generated a tendency to treat translations more and more as autonomous texts, contributions to the enrichment of the target language. By the same token, the target language is no longer secondary, at least in chronological terms; it does not depend on the input of the source language. Whether an explicit or implicit homage to, or a denial of the original text, translations in this perspective acquire the status of “new” texts, new and protective walls for new and fragile languages, walls, as it were, without any scaffolding, since the translator’s work is no longer plainly visible.
Over the last century the research that has been undertaken has concerned both individual texts and individual translators, together with the phenomenon of translation and its role in European cultures, in politics and ideology, in the construction of the great nation-states or of the imperial institutions. We may, indeed, say that the birth of the modern idea of nation, the creation of the modern state, coincided with a renewal of attention towards translation; which was not simply an effort to adapt the languages to the new nations. Translations, in fact, can be seen as both bulwarks in the construction of an individual culture, and bridges uniting different cultures. In the nineteenth century such an intellectual attitude played its part in the construction of the specific field of literature (as opposed to rhetoric) and of the figure of the modern auctor, whose universality was no longer founded on the presumed universality of his/her linguistic tools.
The insertion and/or appropriation of a text on the part of a different culture has relevant cultural consequences. Whether or not it is a literary text, a canonical text in one of the classical languages or in a vernacular, a contemporary or ancient work, its translation in the end will connote the national culture of the target language and should thus be studied as an instance of Übersetzungskultur, to use the term coined by Frank in 1988. Frank, in fact, defines translation no longer simply as a homage to an original that is considered worthy of being read or imitated, but a conscious transposition into a new context. Knowledge no longer has a determined origin: it is part of a polycentric process, continually evolving. As nations construct their identity through language and political power, they also experience the need of a myth of origin, a cultural foundation supported by an intellectual library able to integrate and assimilate different or alien cultures. The creation of the myth of origin is thus accompanied by a process of transmission of texts that resolves itself into cultural appropriation. The paradox is only apparent: one nation builds part of its cultural identity through an act of translation.
Only through the analysis, individual and parallel, of single linguistic identities, of individual national cultures, against the background of the shared, multilingual European context, can we assess and give a wider meaning to the cultural consequences of translations.
Various long-range phenomena may help explain why translation is such a specific issue in the Renaissance, influencing its very nature.
The idea of Europe was built between 1494 and 1648 (see Chabod 1959 and Hale 1993), to begin with the very name of the continent (Piccolomini) and with the enhanced awareness of its specificity in comparison with the rest of the world. The Renaissance introduces a new criterion: cultural, moral, and spiritual affinity, a common denominator which transcends religious differences, overcomes the purely geographic definition and is characterized by its secular nature: Europe is constituted by the cultural network of its universitates, according to Erasmus, and by political institutions and organizations, as well as by the necessary multiplicity of its nation-states, a necessary condition of maintaining political balance and ensuring freedom for its citizens (as Machiavelli writes, “l’Europa solamente ha avuto qualche regno e infinite repubbliche”).
The Protestant Reformation, postulating the universal accessibility of the language of divine truth, required a scaling down of the role of Latin as the former unique and exclusive repository and guarantor of the sacred text. It thus radically changed the reflections and the practices accompanying the language of faith as language of truth, but also the languages of non-theological truths: if we can, indeed we must, use the vernacular for faith, then we can use it on an even larger scale for philosophical or scientific truths.
The development of printing throughout Europe, with its almost industrial scale and characteristics (especially as concerns Venice, Frankfurt, Lyon, even Antwerp and Paris) triggers a wider and accelerated dissemination of books and writers, which has inevitable consequences for translation. Almost as an inevitable corollary, we see at this point the institution of a unitary model for the vernaculars, the stabilization of their spelling system for the printing presses, and the creation of grammars of modern languages. Another effect of printing and of printed translations is the potential creation of new texts: not simply new versions of books that are already well-known, but autonomous texts, given their independence by their original linguistic setting.
Over the fifteenth and sixteenth century (taking into account that individual nations such as England or Spain may modify this chronology) there emerges a new system of vernacular languages; this approach makes use of the humanist heritage, especially as concerns its method of textual analysis, linked to a new conception of philology as history; it also overcomes the traditional dichotomy between “dead” and “living” languages, by appealing to the autonomy of individual languages and the multicentric relations among the various European vernaculars. Each vernacular is the language of literature, of science, of religion, of politics; it is a written as well as a spoken language, the competitor and rival of every other vernacular, setting up a confrontation with other vernaculars on the level of translation. The languages of Renaissance Europe are all to a certain extent “new”: ancient, “dead” languages, no longer used for writing, such as Greek, Syrian, Hebrew or Aramaic, are now confined to the realm of ancient heritage.
The Ciceronian/Virgilian classicism, upheld by Pietro Bembo and dominant in Europe in the early sixteenth century), guaranteed formal control over an exemplary, closed corpus; given these characteristics, such a corpus could be imitated and reproduced. It ensured formal stability for Latin, reproduced its purer form as opposed to the medieval variant(s); Latin thus was no longer simply a dead language, but in some measure a contemporary language. An instance is Erasmus’ lively Latin, as well as experimental texts such as the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (translated into French in 1546, Le songe de Poliphile), up to Galilei’s Sidereus nuncius (1610): such texts exhibited a Latin that could no longer be constrained within classical forms. A new issue was being open to discussion: the question of a scientific language that could be connected to spoken language, and no longer be linked to the Greek/Latin lexicon.
The relation between Latin and the vernacular languages could no longer be limited to the alternative between Latinization or exclusion. The growing autonomy of the vernaculars triggered a fruitful, polymorphous collaboration between ancient and modern languages, according to the rule of diglossia, of a bilingualism that works ever more on the same level as it is ever more influenced by the various forms of multilingualism developing in Europe.
This plurality allows a plurality of uses and effects in translation, making a multidisciplinary or even transdisciplinary approach a necessary clause. The case studies-based approach should be abandoned in favour of an approach that privileges the study of issues or problems. A radically European perspective is also necessary: it is not simply an a priori methodological choice, but an inevitability, since the binary logic of an analysis between source and target language is clearly insufficient: what should be privileged is a multilingual vision, one of whose collateral effects is the highlighting of the autonomy, individuality and cultural productivity of the translated text.
A study of translations published in the sixteenth century must be based on the analysis of the system of languages, the sociology and history of printed texts, the practice of translation and the material form of the book. These are connected phases in the construction of writing and printing.
In short: we are studying a system of languages setting into close relation translated vernaculars, original languages, and even Latin as a language of modern translation (since texts are also translated into Latin, as a relay-language, as in the case of the German version of Guicciardini’s Storia d’Italia undertaken by Georg Forberger, and perhaps even in the case of the French version by Jérôme Chomedey).
As concerns the bibliography on material history (textual history and bibliography, history of writing, history of publishing), our main problems will concern the connection between translations and their identifiable readership. The readership can be reconstructed, for instance from paratexts – dedications, advice to readers changing from language to another – or from partial translations, extrapolated from the original text because of censorship. A further issue is the specificity of the publishing process in relation to translations that enjoy only a limited, scribal circulation.
As concerns the practice of translations and the material forms of printing, the fundamental problems concern the precision (not to say faithfulness) of translations, the comparison between translations (whether translations of the same text in different languages, or of different translations in the same language), the degree of autonomy of each translated text, that is the issue of the relationship of a translated text with the original and with other translations of the same original. A specific case is constituted by multilingual editions – for instance,
Loci duo printed in Basel in 1569 are in French, Latin and Italian; the 1595 London edition adds English, in a facing-text layout that creates almost one, multilingual text.
The aim of the project is to develop a new model of understanding the transmission of translated texts (which texts and which authors get translated, why and in what political framework — both for the nation of the original text and for that of the target text — and according to what subjective “hierarchy” of languages) and to systematise the understanding of the phenomenon of translation in the Renaissance, starting from the structural criterion of the original and target languages of the translated texts, but linking up the body of works translated in all the individual vernaculars.
The PI with this project hopes to exert a significant impact on the history of Renaissance translation, in as much as it contributes to generating a change of perspective, not piecemeal and one work at a time, but contextual and multi-centred. In this way it should be of vital interest to European research institutions as a whole.
The topic will obviously need to be tackled starting with the great models of Renaissance literature in Europe. It will take for granted that the spread and knowledge of Italian in the Renaissance period favoured direct access to the new “classics” (with Italian texts being published abroad, e.g. the Italian editions of Castiglione published in Lyon between 1553 and 1563: cf. BURKE 1998).
Petrarch was rapidly translated into French (from the Canzoniere, six sonnets on the death of Laura around 1539 by Marot, and the book as a whole from 1555 by Vasquin Philieul; the Trionfi translated all of fourteen times, starting with Georges de la Forges’ version of 1514); and, later, in England (by Thomas Wyatt and by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey), with some sonnets from the Canzoniere; the Trionfi received full translations by Henry Parker (c. 1530), and by William Fowler (1587). Boccaccio’s Decameron was translated into French (after Laurent de Premierfait’s version of 1414, probably via a translation form Latin and its re-elaboration by Antoine Vérard in 1485) in 1545 by Anthoine La Maçon (with another twenty versions up to 1597); in England (without mentioning its success and Chaucer’s knowledge of it) it was only translated from 1620, almost certainly by John Florio.
Later it was the translations of Dante: e.g. in the late sixteenth century (1586-1587) that of the Comedy by Balthazard Grangier. But even in this case, Bembo’s interpretation must have had an effect at the European level.
In operating along these lines, the main risk is that of the sheer size of the corpus and the number of languages covered, with its attempt at exhaustive coverage. The corpus of translations, along with historical, philological and publishing contexts, can condition the research outcomes, in the sense that the material risks coinciding with a major slice of Renaissance literary production. We intend to tackle this uncertainty by limiting the areal scope of the investigaton and the by using synchronic and contrastive modes of analysis by genre. In this way we can establish “intermediate” programmes of work which can serve as structural supports for the final work on the history of translation and the implementation of the data banks.
The nature of the material making up the corpus to be investigated requires a specialised approach within the different linguistic and multidisciplinary areas, with different types of interacting expertise: political, cultural, literary and language history, but also methods of analysis: philology, codicology, print history, linguistic corpora and digital humanities. There are few reliable published critical editions, leading to a reliance on manuscripts or sixteenth-century editions. This raises the problem of different editorial practices from country to country, with the loss of potential editions, and of relying on unchecked reprints.
Some of the spin-offs of this new and complex way of working can be seen in the areas of historical semantics and interlinguistic lexicography, in the study of the exchange of neologisms and in the formation of different specialised lexicons. It can also lead to a different way of conceptualising a European history of literary genres: no longer as individual national literatures but rather within an inter-related European framework (an example is the extent to which the French translations of the Orlando Furioso, first in prose then in verse, influenced the birth of extended verse national epics and the attempt to enrich national verse-forms with the quintessentially Italian ottava rima). It will eventually lead to a sort of “linguistic and literary geography” which would make immediately clear how texts moved from country to country and when.
Here we list some possible work programs.The preliminary and fundamental requirement of the project is the constitution of the corpus of authors on which we shall work to analyze various modalities of translation.
1. A Catalogue of Translators.
This will be a true bio-bibliographic dictionary of translators, articulated by languages and nations. It will, wherever possible, offer a reconstruction of the lives and personalities of the translators (as in the case of Chappuys, see Dechaud 2014), together with their publishing history (the principes and the reprints of their various works); it will also assess whether they act as professional or occasional translators. A useful model, in this perspective, may be offered by the series “Histoire des traductions en langue française”, especially as concerns the volume entitled XVe et XVIe siècles, edited by Duché in 2015; see also CLASSE, FRANCE for England, LAFARGA, PEGENAUTE for Spain.
For some translators we shall program a monograph. Here follow some of the most probable names, that will then be classified according to the genres they translate. Among the most important is certainly Gabriel Chappuys, the most prolific of French translators (from the Italian, Castilian, Latin) and on the the forst professional translators in the modern sense (see BIDEAUX 2003, Dechaud 2014). It will be especially productive to analyze also individual, less studied areas such as the translations of sermons, for instance those undertaken by Franciscans such as Cornelio Musso, Panigarola, Diego de la Vega, and by Jesuits such as Giulio Mazzarino, Giovanni d’Avila, Frans de Costere; but also Ercole Cato (see ASCARI 1979, SEVERINI 2014), or Alfonso de Ulloa (see LEPRI 2007). Other translators worthy of attention are Mambrino Roseo, who undertook most Italian translations and continuations of Spanish chivalric romances; Lorenzo Franciosini (see DEL BRAVO 1998); Lorenzo Conti (see SAVELLI 1983); Blaise de Vigenère (see SARAZIN 1992); Antoine Le Maçon, François de Belleforest.
2. Printers and specialised printing presses.
In the various parts of Europe we find some printers who are readier to engage with translated texts, in relation both to the local market and readership, and to patrons and/or subscribers, showing also a keen awareness of the local political context. It will be thus one of our tasks to assess the role and influence of printed translations in the annals and catalogues of printers, considering for instance Arrivabene, Bindoni, Bernardino Vercellese or Gregorio de’ Gregori in the Venice area (the starting point for the Italian printed texts could be http://edit16.iccu.sbn.it/web_iccu/imain.htm, which could be integrated with library catalogues or databases), or John Wolfe in London. A specific section of our research will concern great cities with a multilingual connotation: it is the case of Antwerp, Naples, Palermo, Prague, Paris, Lyon, Vienna. A separate and distinctive case in printing presses specialising in foreign language editions (once again, Latin is here excluded, as it was nowhere perceived as a foreign language), which are far from rare, for instance, in Paris, Lyon or Venice, but present also in London or elsewhere.
3. A map of translations.
No translation is isolated: it connects authors, translators, different cultures, practical issues (printing, the book market, circulation, libraries and book preservation) and, in early modern Europe, it is set in a non-linear chronological arc, with moments or zones in which translation is highlighted as particularly important (see, for instance, the France ruled by King François I, after the edict of Villers-Cotterêts in 1539). Our map will thus offer the geography of translations: where and what we translate, trajectories and progresses of both major and minor texts (whether or not “minor” means marginal). We shall thus reconstruct the European canon of translations, and use contemporary map-making to explore the implications of our exploration.
4. Hermeneutics, theory and history of (Renaissance) translation.
The PI and the research team shall list, analyse, edit, and publish according to modern criteria, all the sixteenth-century theoretical declarations and reflections on translation – suffice it to consider that to the present day we still lack a modern critical edition of Manière de bien traduire d’une langue en l’autre, by Etienne Dolet (1540), as well as of Dialogo del modo de lo tradurre d’una in altra lingua segondo le regole mostrate da Cicerone by Fausto da Longiano (1556). But the priority of the PI in this respect is a complete (or as complete as possible) survey of all modern studies on Renaissance translation, both in general terms and as concerns individual geographical and linguistic areas, including simple references to the issue of translation: consider, for instance, the reflections on translation in Deffence, et illustration de la langue françoyse by Du Bellay, but also, in Italy, to Gelli’s reflections.
4.1. Translations of religious, philosophical, and scientific texts.
A central point of the WP is the translation of texts belonging to the religious debate, after the Reformation. In this case we are not focussing on Biblical translations (though this will be the necessary and certain starting point); rather, we will focus on the translation and dissemination of Luther’s works, given their impact, also at a theoretical level, on issues concerning translation (consider for instance the fundamental Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen).
The printing world, especially the Venetian one, pays special attention to this area and sono starts working within the religious debate. In 1526 Gregorio de’ Gregori published Henry VIII’s Assertionis Lutheranae confutatio, which included also Luther’s Assertio: it was the forse edition ever of one of Luther’s works, published anonymously since none of Luther’s works was published with his name in Italy (SEIDEL MENCHI). When in 1566, in Lyon, Apardo de Ricci published the French version of the treatise of predestination against Calvin, he also omitted the name of the author. In 1522 De’ Gregori, a printer with strong reformation sympathies, had printer the first Italian version of Erasmus’ works. Venice is also the city where other translations of Luther are published, especially of popularly devotional works, attributed to to Erasmus, or to Federico Fregoso, or anonymous. The Bible translations also open a potentially huge market all over Europe, for instance in Venice (ENGAMMARE): in fact, almost all Italian Bibles printed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are printed in Venice. In the case of texts connected with the Lutheran movement, what we can see is translations with a strong cultural and religious motivation, planned translations, even if it is not always possible to reconstruct their genesis, patronage, or even their translators. The Reformation meets much precocious sympathy in the Veneto area; this encourages a number of vernacular translations, both of the Bible and of the reformers’ works. A strong connection is therefore created between a clearly defined readership and a core group of patrons and subscribers.
The translation of the Bible, up to the Trento Index of prohibited books, is identified with de facto translation. This phenomenon shadows both the “vertical translation” (from classical Latin) that had given meaning to Humanism, and the “horizontal translation” of texts that began to give shape to the national literary canons in Europe.
Scientific texts, too, enjoy a wide dissemination in translation: it is the case of Serlio’s architectural treatise, translated into German in 1542, into French in 1545, into Spanish in 1552, and into English in 1611. Another instance is the already mentioned Von menschlicher Proportion by Albrecht Dürer, written in 1528, translated into Latin and from this into Italian and printed in Venice in 1591; or Alvise Cornaro’s Vita sobria, read as a dietary treatise, and translated (possibly thanks to the intermediary Latin translation by Leendert Leys, alias Leonardus Lessius, 1613) into English in 1634 and into French in 1646; or agricultural manuals, such as Estienne’s work translated by Ercole Cato, or Secrets de la vraie agriculture (1571), a translation of Agostino Gallo’s Vinti giornate dell’agricoltura, printed two years earlier in Venice; Tartaglia’s L’Arithmétique, translated by Gosselin; or a number of anonymous translations, such as those of Abel Foullon’s Descrittione, et uso dell’ holometro, printed by Ziletti in Venice in 1564.
Among the most important texts from our point of view – beside Machiavelli, Guicciardini, Botero – are “minor”, or occasional, historico-political works: see for instante Paolo Giovio’s Commentaires sur les gestes des Turcs (a fortunate book, converging with Marino Barlezio’s Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbergi – in its turn translated by Pietro Rocca in 1538 – into Commentaire d’aucunes choses des Turcs translated by Guillaume Gualteron de Cengouin, ambassador in Venice, in 1544) , translated in 1532 and 1538 by Barthélemy Du Pré, from the Latin version by Francesco Nigro; or the later Tesoro politico, falsely printed in Cologne in 1598, translated into French in 1608.
4.2. The social dissemination of translations.
The Renaissance uses the printing press and sets publishing concerns meant as modern, commercial enterprises; in this perspective translation acquires a new, relevant role, as a means for the social transmission of culture. Translators and printers are perfectly aware of this, as shown by the paratextual material such as frontispieces, prefaces, dedicatory letters, information and comments that are external to the books themselves; this allows us to obtain precious information also on material culture, on the translators’ awareness of their role as agents of a trans-national exchange, and on their efforts vis-à-vis a readership that is yet being shaped. Gelli is, in this sense, an exemplary case, since he promotes a reflection on the question of the criticism to the conservative movement of preservation of classical Latin and Greek, as opposed to the importance of the social circulation of translations (from philosophical, scientific, legal, as well as religious texts).
5. Translation and the question of the vernaculars. Translation instruments.
The Italian “questione della lingua” has an impact at a European level: Pietro Bembo’s codification will play a role both on the theoretical speculation on national languages and on the poetical model that will be shaped and formalized on Petrarchism. Even with a number of variations, this model will still be valid, thanks to Sperone Speroni, in Joachim Du Bellay.
It should be noted that Italian was the most relevant literary language at the time (DIONISOTTI 1967), and “la traduction fut le moyen par excellence du rapport qu’ils [les Français] entretenait avec l’Italie” (BALSAMO 1992). Guillaume Rouille, a publisher, printer, and writer, in his dedicatory letter to Caterina de’ Medici of Du Choul’s Discorso della religione antica de Romani, translated by Gabriele Simeoni, will write that “i letterati stranieri l’[i.e. la lingua toscana] ammirano, et (come hanno fatto l’Ariosto, il Bembo et il Sennazzaro) ne’ i loro scritti cercano d’imitarla et in somma non si trova natione a cui non piaccia quasi ogni opera composta più tosto in Toscano, che in altra lingua”. Pietro Bembo’s Prose are not translated (his Asolani will be translated in France in 1545, by Jehan Martin); what is traslate instead is Acarisio’s Grammatica in 1555. As concerns Du Bellay (La deffence, I, 6 has the title “Des mauvais traducteurs, et de ne traduire les poètes”), the concept of illustration of the French language is linked not so much to translation, but to imitation of foreign classics that will enrich the national language; among such classics are Petrarch, Ariosto, and other Italian “moderns”. This model will be followed by Oresme, Seyssel, and above all Dolet, Sebillet, and Amyot: thus translation will be defended as an instrument for a true emancipation of French. In Scotland, James VI will imitate Du Bellay’s Deffence in his Reulis and Cautelis, promoting a late Scottish Renaissance that is based, at least within the King’s own circle of writers, on translation from French and Italian masterpieces.
At the same time a number of writers begin to reflect on linguistic norm, and on grammatical and lexical tools. Such a reflection is based on the Latin rhetorical-grammatical model, but finds a clear inspiration in the earliest grammars, by Nebrija, Fortunio, Bembo (the third book of the Prose) and Acarisio: Jean-Pierre de Mesmes’ Grammaire italienne is dated 1548.
The task of this WP with the PI will be to prepare a comparative history of the grammars of European modern languages (see TAVONI 1966). We shall search models and interactions, and take into account also dictionaries, starting from the bilingual Latin-vernacular dictionaries (such as the Dictionaire françois-latin by Robert Estienne, 1539) to the multilingual Latin-based dictionaries (this format progressive improves and increases, from Introito e porta, 1477, to Vocabulista which becomes by turns quatuor, quinque, sex linguarum, or to Calepino), to conclude with bilingual dictionaries such as the French-English one by Palsgrave, Lesclarcissement de la langue francoyse (1530), Cotgrave’s dictionary (printer as late as 1611), the French-Italian by Fenice (1584) and Canal (1598), and the English-Italian dictionaries, from William Thomas, who in 1550 fuses grammar and lexicon (with the declared purpose of allowing English readers to read the three Italian Crowns, on the model of Acarisio), up to John Florio’s Worlde of words, first published in 1598 and in its definitive edition in 1611 (but before that Florio had published First Fruits, 1578, and Second Fruits, 1598); see also the Italian-Castilian dictionary by Las Casas (1570). No less relevant are the collections of commented lexemes, such as the Latin, Greek, Provençal, French, Spanish, German, English, Gothic words inserted by Alunno in his 1543 Le ricchezze (and this, too, will become a model for European lexicographers), or the small glossaries Alfonso de Ulloa inserts in the final section of translations from Spanish, such as the Exposition in Urrea’s translation of Orlando furioso (1556), or in Italian editions of Spanish texts, such as the Celestina printed by Giolito in 1553.
It will be primary concern of the PI to work on critical editions of the most relevant translations, especially as concerns literary translations by canonical authors. To offer a telling instance, there is as yet no critical modern edition for the translations of Ariosto: were they to be compared, they would offer a very clear view of the European interest for Ariosto, for the chivalric romance, but also for his dramatic works, opening an interesting perspective that would introduce a study of literary genres in translation: romance, comedy, satire. The same can be said in the case of the two Italian translations of Commynes undertaken by Raince and Conti, or in the case of the translations of the same author into Latin (1569), German (1580), English (1596); and we could also analyse texts belonging to different genres which had a powerful impact in scientific or cultural terms. In this way we could identify and compare different translating methodologies and systems: the text (T) translated into languages A, B, C, D; T translated more than once into the same language A1, A2, A3; T translated into language A, then into language B using as source the A translation and not the original T.
The most relevant and original stage of our research will be the analysis of individual translations (including adaptations or imitations) and of individual translators: our analysis will be philological, linguistic, stylistic, and cultural; we shall also undertake quantitative analysis and assessment of the translations, with regard to their understanding, precision, faithfulness; compare source and target text, overcoming the idea of a “sacred” source text in the new cultural contexts.
6. The translations of Orlando furioso and of other chivalric romances.
The most widely translated among Italian authors (and possibly not only Italian) is Ariosto. The first French translation of Orlando furioso, in prose, is printed in 1543 by Jean Des Gouttes. The fact that one translation already exists does not stop the Lyon printer Honorat from re-proposing the poem in the original language, publishing it in 1556 and then again in a number of reprints. In 1556-7 Rouillé republishes Ariosto in the original Italian: in this edition there are also Cinque canti. In the same years, through Europe, Ariosto is translated once more: the Furioso is translated into Spanish by Urrea, and printed in France in 1549 by Rouillé. In order to capitalize on the commercial success and re-launch the French version, Honorat has Chappuys work on an update of the old version. Chappuys’ original contribution – in the volume containing Roland furieux and Cinq chants, published in 1576 – is therefore the translation of Cinque canti. Orlando furioso will then be translated into English by John Harington in 1591, but the French Roland Furieux will be used by a Scottish writer, John Stewart of Baldynneis, for his own Roland Furious, the first Scottish version of Ariosto’s poem (1589).
Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata was translated into Latin while its author was still alive, in 1584, by Scipione Gentili; in 1587 it was translated into Spanish by Juan Sedeño, partially (five cantos) into English by Richard Carew in 1594 and then memorably by Edward Fairfax in 1600, into French in 1595 by Blaise de Vigenère, and later, in 1618, into Polish by Peter Kochanowski.
Immediately after completing his work on Ariosto, Chappuys, between 1577 and 1581, translated in various installments Amadis, from Spanish (in this, he had been preceder in 1550 by Nicolas de Herberay; see BIDEAUX 2005) and, in 1587, Primaleon (a first translation by François de Vernassal had appeared in 1550, another, by Guillaume Landré, would appear in 1577), and the picaresque novel Guzmán de Alfarache. In Italy, Mambrino Roseo would translate Amadis (and propose a number of continuations) between 1546 and 1568, Palmerin in 1544, Primaleon in 1548, and Florambel de Lucea in 1560. The printer and publisher who becomes specialized in translations from the Spanish language is the Venetian Michele Tramezzino.
7. Translations of manuals of good manners and of love.
Baldassar Castiglione’s Cortegiano is an emblematic case. It was published between 1528 and 1619 in over sixty editions in languages other than Italian: soon translated into Spanish by Juan Boscán in 1534 (acting upon a suggestion by Garcilaso de la Vega), in 1537 it was translated into French by Jacques Colin (the translation was revised in 1540 by Etienne Dolet and Melin de Saint-Gelais), and then in 1580 by Chappuys; it was then translated into English, in 1561, by Thomas Hoby; into German first by Laurentz Kratzer in 1565, and then, in 1593, by Johann Engelbert Noyse. But the translations that will determine the success of the book are the Latin ones: in 1561 by Johannes Turler, in 1571 by Bartholomew Clerke (see BURKE, though his conclusions need to be complemented with analysis in the domain of linguistics and rhetoric). A comparable case is that of Della Casa’s Galateo, translated into French by Jean du Peyrat Sardaloys in 1562 (another, anonymous translation would be published in Geneva by Jean de Tournes in 1598); it was translated into Spanish twice, once in 1582 by Lucas Gracián Dantisco and once in 1583 by Domingo Becerra; Natan Kochhaff translated it into Latin in 1580, and Robert Peterson into English in 1576 (possibly using a French intermediary); in 1595, Nicholas Fitzherbert, working in England, translated it into Latin, having it published in Rome by Gigliotti. There is also a bilingual, Italian-French edition (Trattato de’ costumi […] fatto nuovamente italiano e franceze a commune utilità di quelli che si dilettano dell’una e l’altra lingua e delle buone creanze. Le Galathee faict nouvellement en italien et françois pour l’utilité de ceux qui se delecte en l’une et l’autre langue, et sont curieux de savoir toutes choses honnestes) printed in Lyon by Alessandro Marsili in 1573, and a quadrilingual edition by Jean de Tourne (accompanying his own, new translation with those by Kochhaff and Becerra) published in Geneva in 1598.
Stefano Guazzo’s Civil conversatione (1574) also enjoyed great popularity in Europe; it was translated into French in the same year (1579) by Belleforest and Chappuys, and into English (probably via the French) by George Pettie in 1582 (until the Czech version in 1613).
No less important is the circulation of love treatises, starting with Bembo’s Asolani, translated into French by Jean Martin in 1545. Leone Ebreo’s Dialoghi d’amore, published by Blado in 1535 (see NARDI, DAGRON), were translated into Latin in 1564 (printer in Venice by Francesco Senese) by Giovanni Carlo Saraceni; into Spanish (published in Venice) once in 1568 by Guedeliah ben Yahia, then in Zaragoza in 1582 by Carlos Montesa, in 1590 in Madrid by the Inca scholar Garcilaso de la Vega; into French by Denis Sauvage (“Le ser Du Parc”, translator in 1550 also of Gelli’s Circe and in 1581 of the Histoire de Paolo Jovio) in 1551 (with reprints in 1557, 1580, and 1595), and in the same year, probably, by Pontus du Tyard (published in Lyon by Jean de Tournes and reprinted in 1598).
Besides, Chappuys would translate Equicola (Les six livres de la nature d’amour) in 1584 (reprinted in 1589 and 1598) and Niccolò Franco (Dix plaisans dialogues) in 1579, while Jacques Lavardin in 1588 translated Traité de l’amour humain by Flaminio De Nobili.
The work shall also be extended to other treatises (probably Betussi, Domenichi, Doni, Gottifredi, Guazzo, Piccolomini, Sansovino, Speroni, Tullia d’Aragona). See MONTADON.
8. Translations of plays.
The translation of plays is conditioned by the genres, such as comedy (in Italy, the distinction is between comedy in Italian and in a local dialect), farce, sacred drama, tragedy, pastoral, melodrama, as well as by the context in which these plays are staged: thus we distinguish between city comedy, rustic comedy, classical comedy. Above all, as noted by Machiavelli in his Discorso intorno alla nostra lingua, there is a contraposition between”una gentil compositione et uno stilo ornato et ordinato” and “quei sali che ricerca una comedia”.
A symptomatic case, given its precociousness, is Celestina (the editio princeps in the sixteen-act version, Comedia, is dated 1499; that in twenty-one acts, Tragicomedia, is dated 1502) and its translations (PACCAGNELLA). The Tragicocomedia di Calisto e Melibea novamente traducta de spagnolo in italiano idioma was printed in 1506 in Rome by Alphonso Hordognez (Ordoñez, see KISH). This text enjoyed immediate popularity and was reprinted, first in Milan (1514, 1515) and then in Venice (from 1515 to 1553, with the Arrivabene edition in 1519 introducing the title Celestina which has given European fame to the comedy, and then with two editions in Spanish, including the one in 1553 by Giolito with an explanatory glossary); the translation and its various editions soon became intermediary instruments for the European circulation of the text. In 1520 Christof Wirschung published Ain hipsche Tragedia von zwaien liebhabenden mentschen ainem Ritter Calixstus unn ainer Edlen junckfrawen Melibia genant, openly declaring its derivation from the Italian version; he would re-translate it in 1534. In 1527 a Celestine was published in Paris, explicitly “translate dytalien en francois” and republished in 1529 with the same caveat (that would then disappear in subsequent reprints). In 1578 there is a new translation by Jacques Lavardin (who had already translated Barlezio, and in 1590 would translate De Nobili); on his own admission, it was based on an Italian version. The French version, together with the Italian translation and the Spanish original, appear to be the basis of the English translation by James Mabbe, in a first version (of which we only possess the indication of the date, 5 October 1598) as Tragick Comedye of Celestine, then converged in the printed version of 1631.
The Italian comedy will enter France in 1543, with Charles Estienne’s translation of Intronati; but the most successful author (given also the “regularity” of his comedies) is doubtlessly Ariosto. Among his comedies, only the Suppositi is translated (in 1545 by Jacques Bourgeois, more an adaptation than a translation, and in 1552, as La comédie des Supposez, by Jean-Pierre de Mesme, as a complement to his Grammaire italienne), together with Le Negromante (in 1573 by Jean de la Taille). In 1566 in England George Gascoigne publishes The supposes; he will also translate Dolce’s Giocasta. Three of Ariosto’s comedies (Necromanticus, Lena, Decepti) will be then translated into Latin by Juan Pérez de Toledo, together with Ingannati (Suppositi), in Comoediae quatuor published in 1574.
The theatrical model that will dominate in the end is the later one, as shown by the translation undertaken by Pierre de Larivey of Dolce, Nicola Bonaparte, Lorenzino de’ Medici, Grazzini, Vincenzo Gabiani, Niccolò Secchi, Girolamo Razzi, Ligi Pasqualigo. Larivery works in two stages, publishing six “comédies facétieuse” in 1579, and another three as late as 1611.
An increasingly marked codification of literary genres, together with a new approach to tragedy in Italy initiated by Giangiorgio Trissino (his Sofonisba is printer in 1524), bring in 1559 to the translation of La Sophonisbe in prose undertaken by Mellin de Saint-Gelais, while Claude Mermet will prepare a verse translation in 1584; an element contributing to the popularity of tragedy in France is the translation-adaptation of Giraldi Cinzio, undertaken by Jean-Édouard Du Monin in 1585 (within his own Le Phoenix) with Orbecc-Oronte. Tragédie. Torquato Tasso’s Aminta, first staged in 1573 but published in 1580 in Cremona and in 1581 in Venice, by Manuzio, is translated in 1584 by Pierre de Brach (as part of his Imitations, he includes “Aminte fable bocagere” and “Olimpe imitation d’Arioste”) in décasyllabes; there is a second, anonymous translation in prose (attributed to Pierre Le Loyer) in 1591; finally, there is an instance of plagiarism with the Tragi-comédie pastoralle by Claude de Bassecourt (1594). The success of this new genre, pastoral tragicomedy, recorded in 1576 with Luigi Groto’s Pentimento amoroso, is immediately reflected in Roland Brisset’s translation, Le Diéromène ou le repentir d’amour, published in 1591; Brisset himself would publish, two years later, Le Berger fidèle, a translation in mixed verse and prose of Giovan Battista Guarini’s Pastor fido.
9. Translations, traductions, re-writings and re-fashionings.
This programme is not directly pertinent to the main project, although it will provide useful data for the history of translations. These are often published as autonomous or originals by the translator, omitting the name of the real author, or else they serve as starting points for plagiarisation or re-workings. An example of how translation can become a re-created work derived from imitation, continuation and re-working is the sequels to the Amadigi and the Palmerín by Mambrino Roseo (Sferamondo in particular).
Another example is Chappuys. His Mondes célestes, terrestres et infernaux are said to be “tirez” (taken) from the works of Doni. In actual fact, they are word-for-word translations of the Marmi with sometimes blatent insertions, like the Monde des Cornuz. Sansovino was also a favourite reservoir for such operations. L’estat of 1585 omits its source (which is not only Del governo et amministratione di diversi regni published in Venice in 1567, but also Sigonio) as does L’art des secretaires (in the singular in Sansovino: Del secretario).
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