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Medieval Translation Theory and Practice (FR7188)

Option coordinator: 
Dr James Hadley, Dr Brendan O'Connell, Dr Mark Faulkner and Dr Igor Candido.

Module Title

Medieval Translation Theory and Practice

Module Description

  • the aim of the module
  • the structure of the module
  • the style of delivery
  • the assessment

(200 words max)

This module examines the history of translation in medieval Europe, exploring the factors that made the medieval perception of translation so distinct from our own, and considering the lasting effects of translation on vernacular literary canons. The module will begin by examining Roman and medieval translation theory, and will then consider a series of historical moments, cultural encounters, and the texts and translations resulting from them. The module is delivered in weekly two-hour seminars, co-taught by staff from the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, and the School of English.  Assessment consists of one essay (approx. 5000 words).

Indicative Module Structure:
titles only

Week 1


Week 2

Theories of Translation

Week 3

Latin to Vernacular Translation

Week 4

Vernacular to Latin Translation

Week 5

Dante's and Petrarch's new genres and the formation of European Canon

Week 6

Boccaccio as an Innovator of Classical Genres: Griselda in Petrarch and Chaucer

Week 7


Week 8

Chaucer and Translation

Week 9

Trilingual Langland

Week 10


Week 11

Modern Translations of Medieval Texts

Week 12


Set text(s)

A reading list will be provided for each seminar. For an excellent overview of the key themes of the module, see Rita Copeland, Rhetoric, Hermeneutics and Translation in the Middle Ages: Academic Traditions and Vernacular Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).