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A Companion to Medieval Translation


Comparative Literature Program


This chapter explores some of the ways in which modern literary theory opens insights into medieval European translations. Rather than drawing a distinction between theoretical approaches that apply to medieval studies and those that do not, I will explore a few examples that might in turn inspire readers to their own insights. It is my hope that over time readers of this Companion to Medieval Translation will posit many more modern theoretical approaches to medieval translation than can be suggested here. We might even imagine that some of the particularities of medieval European theories of translation could themselves be codified as approaches to texts from other times and places. It is the nature of theory, after all, to exceed its context. Connections grow by analogy across times, places, and cultures. In keeping with this volume’s focus, my comments are primarily addressed to Latinate and Germanic languages, although some aspects may apply to other language groups (and Arabic should certainly be included among the medieval European languages).