Sederi Yearbook 22

Sederi 22
Sederi 22 — 2012
Berta Cano Echevarría & Ana Sáez-Hidalgo
Francisco J. Borge López
ISSN 1135-7789


Oana-Alis Zaharia , “Translata Proficit: Revisiting John Florio’s translation of Michel de Montaigne’s Les Essais.” SEDERI 22 (2012): 115-136.


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This paper considers John Florio’s famous translation of Montaigne’s Essays as a source of invaluable insight into the Elizabethan practice and theory of translation. In the letter addressed to the reader, Florio strongly advocates the use of translation as a means of advancing knowledge and developing the language and culture of a nation. Echoing the Elizabethan debate between the defenders and detractors of translation, his preface provides precious information on the various Elizabethan understandings of the role of translation. Casting himself in the role of a “foster-father”, Florio foregrounds the idea of translation as rewriting of the original text into a new creation. While most scholars have emphasised solely Florio’s augmentation of Montaigne’s text and his fondness for addition, paraphrase and alliteration, the present paper intends to demonstrate that this dimension of his translation is frequently complemented by Florio’s tendency to render the text closely, even word for word at times.

Keywords: John Florio; Montaigne’s Les Essais; Elizabethan practice and theory of translation; rewriting; fondness for words; literal translation.




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