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Vernacular Translation in Dante's Italy
Illiterate Literature

$108.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature

  • Date Published: February 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107001138

$ 108.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Translation and commentary are often associated with institutions and patronage; but in Italy around the time of Dante, widespread vernacular translation was mostly on the spontaneous initiative of individuals. While Dante is usually the starting point for histories of vernacular translation in Europe, this book demonstrates that The Divine Comedy places itself in opposition to a vast vernacular literature already in circulation among its readers. Alison Cornish explores the anxiety of vernacularization as expressed by translators and contemporary authors, the prevalence of translation in religious experience, the role of scribal mediation, the influence of the Italian reception of French literature on that literature, and how translating into the vernacular became a project of nation-building only after its virtual demise during the Humanist period. Vernacular translation was a phenomenon with which all authors in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Europe – from Brunetto Latini to Giovanni Boccaccio – had to contend.

    • First book-length treatment of medieval Italian translation
    • Puts forward a new reading of what vernacular translation was all about in this place and time
    • A fresh interpretation of the circumstances of the creation of The Divine Comedy
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Overall the volume is a thought provoking invitation to look anew at the whole phenomenon and will doubtless become a touchstone in debates over the origins of translation practice at a time when translation studies is becoming an increasingly vocal research field in its own right."
    -STEPHEN J. MILNER,The University of Manchester

    "Alison Cornish writes a detailed and brilliant study of the dual osmosis through the diaphragms of languages between France and Italy..."
    -Modern Language Review

    "This innovative work of scholarship will be very useful for specialists in Dante and Italian Studies as well as non-specialists in the fields of English, Comparative Literature and Translation Studies. It breaks new ground in that it is the first book-length treatment of the general phenomenon of volgarizzamenti in Italy—that is, the traditions of translation or “vernacularization” of Latin and French works into the Italian vernacular(s) between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries in Italy.... The book is impressive both for its boldness and its humility. Only an intrepid scholar would undertake to address in a comprehensive manner such a complex phenomenon..."
    --Comptes Rendus

    "This book will be obligatory reading for anyone interested in the contours of vernacularity in fourteenth century Italy, an exciting and stimulating exploration of its riches and manifest aspects."
    --Miglior Acque

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107001138
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 159 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Dressing down the Muses: the anxiety of volgarizzamento
    2. The authorship of readers
    3. Cultural ricochet: French to Italian and back again
    4. Translation as miracle: illiterate learning and religious translation
    5. The treasure of the translator: Dante and Brunetto
    6. A new life for translation: volgarizzamento after Humanism.

  • Author

    Alison Cornish, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Alison Cornish is Associate Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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