Early in 2016, Prof. Angela Tiziana Tarantini (Monash University) and Chris Griffiths completed an analysis of a 1924 Italian translation of Coriolanus and Julius Caesar. Their analysis addressed how the depiction of Rome in the translation of Shakespeare was used in support of fascist ideology in the early 1920s. The translation features a critical introduction by scholar Giuseppe de Lorenzo, which outlines a intriguing argument in which the Senecan ideal that Shakespeare found in the heroes of the Plutarch and Livy is held to be synonymous with the emerging fascist ideals of the period.
Their English translation of de Lorenzo’s essay is currently under consideration and will be published in the near future.
Special thanks to Julia (Xiaohong) Min (Monash University), who has shared and commented on her experience of translating poems by Su Dong-po & Li Quinzhao. Her responses will be valuable in developing our research further, and we look forward to her participation the future.
This collaborative project was undertaken with a multi-lingual, multi-disciplinary team in the 1980s. The work still fires Julia’s imagination, and she is keen to continue this type of translation project in the future.
By Chris Griffiths
I am currently undertaking translations of German scholarship on the reception of Shakespeare. My current translation piece concerns the “controversial” translations of Hans Rothe in the twentieth century. This piece will be completed and submitted for publication by early 2017.
Dr Birgit Oehle and I have been investigating Dorothea Tieck’s nineteenth-century translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Tieck was the daughter of Ludwig Tieck, who, with August Schlegel, was among the most prominent of German translators of Shakespeare. Hers were the first full German translation of all 154 sonnets; the previous translator of the sonnets, Karl Lachmann, had omitted sonnets 134, 135 and 151 on the grounds that they were untranslatable (in relation to the two former) and obscene (in reference to the latter).
We may conduct our analysis of these pieces using Jessica Trevitt’s “triangulated” methodology, which attempts to deconstruct the “source-target” binary of mainstream translation studies by identifying other cultural forces that impact on translations processes. We may propose, for example, that the key cultural relationship of these translations was not between the source-English and target-German, but rather Germany’s reaction against French classicis, which prompted an embrace of the Germanic naturalism of Shakespeare.
The Shakespeare Library, LMU, Munich.
By Chris Griffiths
In late July 2016, Dr Birgit Oehle and I spent some productive days doing research at the Munich Shakespeare Library at LMU in Munich. We uncovered materials relating to the history of German translations of Shakespeare, and came up with a number of interesting pieces of German Shakespeare scholarship that have not been translated. Some of these will be translated in collaboration by myself and Birgit, and with students enrolled in German studies at Warwick. All of these pieces represent different levels of difficulty in translation (scholarly and archaic language is a significant obstacle, even for fluent speakers), and we are considering the possibility of a collected volume of these translations for Anglophone Shakespeare scholars.
Thanks and acknowledgements are due to Bettina Boecker and the staff at the Munich Shakespeare Library for their kind assistance in our endeavours.