Reversing Babel: Translation Among the English During an Age by Bruce R. O'Brien

By Bruce R. O'Brien

Reversing Babel: Translation one of the English in the course of an Age of Conquests, c. 800 to c. 1200, begins with a small puzzle: Why did the Normans translate English legislation, the legislations of the folk that they had conquered, from outdated English into Latin? fixing this puzzle intended asking questions on what medieval writers considered language and translation, what created the necessity and wish to translate, and the way translators went in regards to the paintings. those are the questions Reversing Babel makes an attempt to reply to by means of offering proof that comes from the realm during which not only Norman translators of legislations yet any translators of any texts, despite languages, did their translating.Reversing Babel reaches again from 1066 to the interpretation paintings performed in an past conquest—a handful of vital works translated within the 9th century based on the alleged devastating impact of the Viking invasions-and consists of the research as much as the wave of Anglo-French translations created within the past due 12th century while England was once part of a wide empire, governed through a king from Anjou who held strength not just in western France from Normandy within the north to the Pyrenees within the south, but in addition in eire, Scotland, and Wales. during this longer and wider view, the influence of political occasions on acts of translation is extra simply weighed opposed to the impression of alternative components reminiscent of geography, commute, exchange, neighborhood, developments in studying, rules approximately language, and behavior of translation. those components coloured the touch events created in England among audio system and readers of other languages in the course of might be the main politically volatile interval in English history.The number of medieval translation one of the English, and between these translators operating within the larger empires of Cnut, the Normans, and the Angevins, is impressive. Reversing Babel doesn't attempt to describe it all; relatively, it charts a direction during the facts and attempts to respond to the basic questions medieval historians may still ask while their resources are

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Additional resources for Reversing Babel: Translation Among the English During an Age of Conquests, c. 800 to c. 1200

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So against an inferential understanding of what motivated translators, chapter 3 studies the motives of those translators who chose to say why they worked. Their motives can be grouped and analyzed, but reveal as much about what the more learned English translators wanted us to think they were doing as about why they actually translated. Nevertheless, these are the least opaque pieces of evidence about motive and suggest the kinds of pressures and needs that drove many textual translations. Once the translator had something to translate and a reason to do it, all that was left was the hard work of translating.

Some of this I have done; but a book aiming at such a comprehensive goal is too far beyond my linguistic expertise. But I also would not have written this one if I thought that conclusions I could draw from studying this very intensively translating culture were not valid or worthwhile—and, importantly, useful not just for the study of the history of translation, but also for the more terrestrial understanding of the Anglo-Saxon, AngloScandinavian, Anglo-Norman, and Angevin worlds. The focus does not often shift far from the England inhabited principally by English-speaking people, so that these greater changes can be watched in a common linguistic space, well defined and known, over which political, intellectual, and cultural waves pass.

A Worcester family whose grandparents had heard Bishop Wulfstan II (c. 40 The needs of scholars to delimit their fields of study between Old and Middle English should not make us forget how imperceptible such boundaries were to contemporary speakers. Did a woman in twelfth-century Winchester know or care that she no longer had in her culture a standard written language? 41 It is difficult to know what sense the English had of the existence of different dialects of their language. 42 There is no Anglo-Saxon label for West Saxon, early or late, or for Kentish.

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