Translation, according to F.O. Matthiessen, was the means whereby “the Renaissance came to England” – both directly, with vernacular versions of Greek and Latin books, and through the mediation of other European cultures. “Horizontal” translation, however – i.e., in Gianfranco Folena’s definition, translation from contemporary European tongues – was not considered to be as important as its “vertical” counterpart. If there was no doubt that bringing classical antiquity to England was a worthwhile enterprise, the necessity of “Englishing” Italian, French, or Spanish books was not to be taken for granted. Consequently, Thomas Hoby and John Harington attempted to defend their versions of Castiglione’s Cortegiano (1561) and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (1591) by appealing to classical sources and authorities. In their paratexts, both translators drew parallels between their source authors and illustrious writers of the past (Cicero for Castiglione, Virgil for Ariosto); and they also defended the practice of translating contemporary texts by mentioning various examples of classical translation. The prestige of “vertical” translation was thus exploited to heighten the status of their “horizontal” versions – an operation which paradoxically demonstrated the perceived inferiority of modern Europe and its languages to the languages and culture of antiquity.

The Superiority of Classical Translation in Sixteenth-Century England: Thomas Hoby and John Harington

morini massimiliano
2019-01-01

Abstract

Translation, according to F.O. Matthiessen, was the means whereby “the Renaissance came to England” – both directly, with vernacular versions of Greek and Latin books, and through the mediation of other European cultures. “Horizontal” translation, however – i.e., in Gianfranco Folena’s definition, translation from contemporary European tongues – was not considered to be as important as its “vertical” counterpart. If there was no doubt that bringing classical antiquity to England was a worthwhile enterprise, the necessity of “Englishing” Italian, French, or Spanish books was not to be taken for granted. Consequently, Thomas Hoby and John Harington attempted to defend their versions of Castiglione’s Cortegiano (1561) and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (1591) by appealing to classical sources and authorities. In their paratexts, both translators drew parallels between their source authors and illustrious writers of the past (Cicero for Castiglione, Virgil for Ariosto); and they also defended the practice of translating contemporary texts by mentioning various examples of classical translation. The prestige of “vertical” translation was thus exploited to heighten the status of their “horizontal” versions – an operation which paradoxically demonstrated the perceived inferiority of modern Europe and its languages to the languages and culture of antiquity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2670509
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