CTIS Seminar: Shifting Characterisations of the ‘Common People’ in English Retranslations of Thucydides: A Corpus-based Analysis
|Starts:||14:00 5 Dec 2019|
|Ends:||15:30 5 Dec 2019|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public|
Characterisation is the process through which readers may distinguish from each other the various actors depicted in a narrative and develop an understanding of their individual traits and qualities. This presentation aims to demonstrate how a digital corpus-based methodology can help us to explore the ways in which translators often intervene in this process when they adapt texts for new audiences in new linguistic and cultural contexts. The use of corpus analysis software tools is valuable, I argue, because it can enhance our ability to engage with the accumulation of textual cues relevant to the dynamic construction of a specific protagonist but spread throughout a translated narrative. It thus permits the systematic creation of detailed character profiles for different actors within single translations and facilitates the efficient comparison of such profiles across multiple retellings of the original work.
The discussion will be illustrated with a case study, developed as part of the Genealogies of Knowledge project (http://www.genealogiesofknowledge.net/). This compares the shifting characterisations of the ‘common people’ in two English-language retranslations of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, the first produced by Samuel Bloomfield in 1829, the second by Steven Lattimore in 1998. My analysis highlights the extent to which Bloomfield’s early nineteenth-century rendering of this classical Greek text – and its description of the non-elite members of Athenian society in particular – was shaped by this translator’s anti-democratic concerns and his belief that the common man was not sufficiently intelligent or responsible to be entrusted with participation in the political decision-making process.
Organisation: University of Manchester
Biography: Henry Jones is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester’s Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies. His current research interests include corpus-based translation studies, the reception of classical Greek authors in nineteenth-century Britain and retranslation theory. Having joined the Genealogies of Knowledge project in April 2017, he has been closely involved in the construction of the Genealogies of Knowledge Modern English corpus as a resource for scholars interested in the role of translation and other sites of mediation in the historical evolution and contestation of political and scientific discourse. Links: http://www.genealogiesofknowledge.net/ https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/henry.jones.html
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