Medieval Translations and Cultural Discourse

Medieval Translations and Cultural Discourse

The Movement of Texts in England, France and Scandinavia

Sif Rikhardsdottir

An examination of what the translation of medieval French texts into different European languages can reveal about the differences between cultures.
Throughout the Middle Ages, many Francophone texts - chansons de geste, medieval romance, works by Chrétien de Troyes and Marie de France - were widely translated in north-western Europe. In the process, these texts were frequently transformed to reflect the new cultures in which they appeared. This book argues that such translations, prime sites for cultural movement and encounters, provide a rich opportunity to study linguistic and cultural identity both in and through time. Via a close comparison of a number of these texts, examining the various modifications made, and drawing on a number of critical discourses ranging from post-colonial criticism to translation theory, the author explores the complexities of cultural dialogue and dissent. This approach both recognises and foregrounds the complex matrix of influence, resistance and transformations within the languages and cultural traditions of medieval Europe, revealing the undercurrents of cultural conflict apparent in medieval textuality.

Sif Rikhardsdottir is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland and Vice-Chair of the Institute of Research in Literature and Visual Arts.

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Table of Contents

The Imperial Implications of Medieval Translations: Textual Transmission of Marie de France's Lais
Behavioural Transformations in the Old Norse Version of La Chanson de Roland
Narrative Transformations in the Old Norse and Middle English Versions of Le Chevalier au Lion [or Yvain]
Female Sovereignty and Male Authority in the Old Norse and Middle English Versions of Partonopeu de Blois
Appendix: Summaries of the Versions of Partonopeu de Blois


A ground-breaking model for the future of translation studies. MEDIUM AEVUM

[T]his book offers models for further studies of adaptations from Old French narrative texts into Old Norse, Middle English, and other languages. For those in medieval French studies. FRENCH STUDIES

[T]truly impressive in the range of its historical and geographic coverage. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

[A] significant contribution to romance in a European context and an invitation to look over the traditional boundaries--linguistic, national and academic--of medieval studies. It will disappoint no one interested in the richness and complexity of medieval textual culture. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

[H]elps us to understand the relationship between writer, culture and story. [...] it covers terrain carefully and thoroughly and contain[s] many fascinating insights. BIBLIOBUFFET.COM

Author Bio

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland

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