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Early Theories of Translation by Flora Ross Amos

=Columbia University=

STUDIES IN ENGLISH AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

EARLY THEORIES OF TRANSLATION

EARLY THEORIES OF TRANSLATION

BY

FLORA ROSS AMOS

OCTAGON BOOKS

A Division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux New York 1973

Copyright 1920 by Columbia University Press

_Reprinted 1973 by special arrangement with Columbia University Press_

OCTAGON BOOKS A DIVISION OF FARRAR, STRAUS & GIROUX, INC. 19 Union Square West New York, N.Y. 10003

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Amos, Flora Ross, 1881- Early theories of translation.

Original ed. issued in series: Columbia University studies in English and comparative literature.

Originally presented as the author's thesis, Columbia.

1. Translating and interpreting. I. Title. II. Series: Columbia University studies in English and comparative literature.

[PN241.A5 1973] 418'.02 73-397

ISBN 0-374-90176-7

_Printed in U.S.A. by_ NOBLE OFFSET PRINTERS, INC. New York, N.Y. 10003

TO

MY FATHER AND MY MOTHER

_This Monograph has been approved by the Department of English and Comparative Literature in Columbia University as a contribution to knowledge worthy of publication._

A. H. THORNDIKE, _Executive Officer_

PREFACE

In the following pages I have attempted to trace certain developments in the theory of translation as it has been formulated by English writers. I have confined myself, of necessity, to such opinions as have been put into words, and avoided making use of deductions from practice other than a few obvious and generally accepted conclusions. The procedure involves, of course, the omission of some important elements in the history of the theory of translation, in that it ignores the discrepancies between precept and practice, and the influence which practice has exerted upon theory; on the other hand, however, it confines a subject, otherwise impossibly large, within measurable limits. The chief emphasis has been laid upon the sixteenth century, the period of the most enthusiastic experimentation, when, though it was still possible for the translator to rest in the comfortable medieval conception of his art, the New Learning was offering new problems and new ideals to every man who shared in the intellectual awakening of his time. In the matter of theory, however, the age was one of beginnings, of suggestions, rather than of finished, definitive results; even by the end of the century there were still translators who had not yet appreciated the immense difference between medieval and modern standards of translation. To understand their position, then, it is necessary to consider both the preceding period, with its incidental, half-unconscious comment, and the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with their systematized, unified contribution. This last material, in especial, is included chiefly because of the light which it throws in retrospect on the views of earlier translators, and only the main course of theory, by this time fairly easy to follow, is traced.


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