Bourdieu in Translation Studies: The Socio-Cultural Dynamics of Shakespeare Translation in Egypt, by Sameh Hanna (New York: Routledge, 2016) 232 pages.
From National to Entangled Histories
The last decade has witnessed a remarkable internationalization in conceptual history. Research covers more countries and languages than ever before, and there have been a number of very good comparative studies. This article reflects on the possibility of taking conceptual history beyond comparison. Like nations, languages can no longer be considered as naturally given entities, but have to be viewed as profoundly shaped by historical exchanges. This brings conceptual history into a dialogue with translation studies in a common attempt to unravel how equivalents between languages have been created by the actors.
Early-Modern and Current Perspectives
This article attempts to refine the understanding of translation, thus contributing to evaluate its role in reception theory and in the history of ideas. A discussion of on the character, theories, and practices of translation in early-modern times is its entry point of analysis. During this period, what mattered in the first place was not the extent to which the translated text succeeded or failed in making the source text and its "original" ideas accessible in the target language, but rather the extent and the way in which the source text was instrumental in pursuing the agenda set by the translator or others in compliance with specific contexts. Such a perspective on translation seems also appropriate to current modes of inquiry for which translation is not an instance of inter-cultural communication, aiming to penetrate the Other in its fullness and make it intelligible in its otherness, but a communicative act whose purposes are predominantly intra-cultural and consist in supporting domestic agendas to which the translated text looks instrumental.
Hebrew Literature and Christian Mission
In this article, I examine the character and reception of the Hebrew translations of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Shakespeare’s Othello and Romeo and Juliet, Tiedge’s Urania, and the New Testament produced in the second half of the nineteenth century by Isaac Salkinson, a Jew converted to Christianity and employed as a missionary by the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews. I focus on a salient feature of these translations, that is the use of biblicizing techniques. In contrast to previous studies, I tie the production of all of Salkinson’s translations to his activity as a missionary.
Translations of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice as a Case in Point
In the Western world, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is controversial due to its stereotypical description of Jews as evil and greedy. In China, the work was not widely known until its translations came out. This article deals with two Chinese renderings of Shakespeare’s classic, by Laura White (1914–1915) and Shiqiu Liang (2001/1936) respectively, which reconstruct the image of Shylock and Jews on the basis of the translators’ perceptions of the original figure, combining their identities and social backgrounds. In imagology, based on the ideas of Pageaux (1989/1994), the image of the ‘other’ can be analysed on three levels: lexical items, larger textual units, and plot. On the face of it, the image of the ‘other’ in translation can originate in either the source or target culture. However, the present article, which focuses on the lexical level, shows that there is a third possibility – a lexicon that blends two or more cultures.
A Methodological Inquiry into Reception in the History of Ideas
This article addresses the methodological issues involved in the study of interlingual translation as an avenue of reception in the history of ideas. In particular, it assesses the possible uses of linguistic contextualism and conceptual history (Begriffsgeschichte) in this endeavour. It argues that both of these approaches have been, or are capable of being, far more sensitive towards the phenomenon of reception and, indeed, this is an area where cross-fertilization between them (often commended in general but rarely if ever in specific terms) is a practical possibility. Perspectives from Rezeptionsgeschichte may provide useful tools for building bridges between them. A few case studies in translation history are then critically examined, and on the basis of the foregoing methodological reflections propositions are made for further refining the approach taken in those case studies.
Biological Concepts and Their Careers beyond Biology
Jan Surman, Katalin Stráner and Peter Haslinger
This article introduces a collection of studies of biological concepts crossing over to other disciplines and nonscholarly discourses. The introduction discusses the notion of nomadic concepts as introduced by Isabelle Stengers and explores its usability for conceptual history. Compared to traveling (Mieke Bal) and interdisciplinary (Ernst Müller) concepts, the idea of nomadism shifts the attention from concepts themselves toward the mobility of a concept and its effects. The metaphor of nomadism, as outlined in the introduction, helps also to question the relation between concepts' movement and the production of boundaries. In this way conceptual history can profit from interaction with translation studies, where similar processes were recently discussed under the notion of cultural translation.