This workshop explores the movement of ideas across territorial and linguistic borders in early modern Europe by means of translation. It combines research in intellectual history with new work on translation studies and book history, and attempts to enhance our understanding of cultural transfer processes by studying ideas from their original inception, through the textual production process, down to their readers and users.

Conveners: Prof. Dr. Thomas Munck (Glasgow), Dr. Gaby Mahlberg (Newcastle)

The workshop’s methodology is based on Peter Burke’s concept of ‘cultural translation’, which considers translation as an act that does not simply render texts in a different language but also adapts and reconfigures them for different cultural contexts. This process at times involves considerable editorial interventions and changes to facilitate a work’s reception and re-use. Translators, editors and bookseller-publishers thus played a more important role in cultural transfer processes than might be suggested by their often anonymous existence. Besides, an author’s professed intention may not match a text’s actual reception and impact: the processes of translation, adaptation and re-dissemination could give a text an entire life of its own beyond the control of its original creator. This workshop therefore brings together research on the impact of texts across linguistic and territorial borders in historical context.