Translating Ancient Greek Drama in the Early Modern Period

'The ‘Translating Ancient Greek Drama in the Early Modern Period’ research strand aims at understanding the early modern reception of ancient drama from a cross-cultural, multilingual, and transnational perspective. It began in 2018 with Giovanna Di Martino (UCL) and Cécile Dudouyt (Sorbonne Paris Nord), and now includes Malika Bastin-Hammou (Université Grenoble Alpes) and Lucy Jackson (Durham).

Translation theory and practice in the early modern period have been at the core of a series of events held in Oxford and Paris and are now the object of the volume Translating Greek Drama in Early Modern Europe: Theory and Practice (15th-16th centuries), co-edited by Malika Bastin-Hammou, Giovanna Di Martino, Cécile Dudouyt, and Lucy Jackson. The book widens the geographical and linguistic scope of the studies of the reception of ancient Greek drama in this period by approaching it as a European phenomenon. Latin translations are particularly emblematic of this broader scope: translators from all over Europe latinised Greek drama and, as they did so, developed networks of translators and practices of translation that could transcend national borders. The chapters collected in the volume demonstrate that translation theory and practice did not develop in national isolation, but were part of a larger European phenomenon, nourished by common references to Biblical and Greco-Roman antiquities, and honed by common religious and scholarly controversies. In addition to situating these texts in the wider context of the reception of Greek drama in the early modern period, this volume opens avenues for theoretical debate about translation practices and discourses on translation, and on how they map on to twenty-first-century terminology. 

The book largely emerges from two conferences in particular, which took place in 2018 (Translating Greek Tragedy in Early Modern Europe) and 2019 (On Translating Greek Drama in Early Modern Europe (ca. 1400-1600)), and which brought together researchers focusing respectively on translation practices and theories of ancient Greek drama throughout Europe between the 15th and 16th century. 

Since 2019, we have moved forward in time, organising two more conferences on the translation of ancient Greek drama from the beginning of the 17th to the end of the 18th centuries: Translating Ancient Greek Drama in Europe 1600-1750, online, on 11 December 2020, which was supported by Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, Université Grenoble Alpes, the APGRD, and University College London; and Translating Ancient Greek Drama (1600-1800), at University College London, on 24 June 2022, which was supported by the Leventis Foundation, Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, the APGRD, UCL’s Centre for Early Modern Exchanges, and Université Grenoble-Alpes.

As part of these conferences, there featured practice-based papers that analysed early modern translations through performance practice. See the 'theatre translation workshops' section for more information.