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Radical Translations


We are in the process of collating and annotating information about translations of radical texts produced between 1789 and 1815 in Britain, France, and Italy. The project's digital resource is available on the website and consists of three parts:

  1. Resources, providing a systematic bibliographical description of our corpus of print and manuscript resources, including source texts, translations, and the paratext of translations
  2. Agents, a prosopography collecting biographical information about ca. 475 radical translators, some of whom remain unidentified, with the aim of uncovering relationships and connections
  3. Timeline, where events relevant to the intersection of political radicalism and the history of publishing in the three language areas have been marked, to contextualize the movement of texts in translation. 

The database is not in its final release phase. We have taken the decision to share work-in-progress online, partly to give scholars interested in specific texts and/or translators that are already in the database immediate access to the work so far, and partly in the hope that users will give us feedback enabling us to improve any aspects of the database, whether these be substantive, presentational, or functional.

To leave feedback on the current version of the database please email Dr Brecht Deseure (brecht.deseure@kcl.ac.uk) or Dr Nigel Ritchie (nigel.ritchie@kcl.ac.uk)

A more detailed overview of the categories, terminology, and conventions we adopted to construct the database can be found in the Editorial Handbook.  

A technical overview will be added to the site in due course, for now for more information on the technical solution developed in collaboration with King's Digital Lab please refer to the in progress documentation.


Click on Resources to browse the full list of texts or use the search function. 

The list view shows resource title, a tag indicating whether a text is a source-text or a translation, date and place of publication, and a list of contributors. You can switch between ‘List’ and ‘Map’ view by clicking on the tabs. The ‘Map’ view is based on the place of publication. 

Click on a resource’s title to open the full record. The ‘Key’ tab to the right of the page provides a helpful glossary of the terms and icons used. You can also hover over bold underlined text to display a definition of specialized and newly introduced terms. By clicking on the place of publication you can visualize it on a map. Where the full text of a Resource is available online, we have included its URL. 

Further down you’ll find the list of contributors and their roles (e.g. author of source text, translator, publisher). ‘Related resources’ lists paratexts, source texts, translations, other editions, and larger works that a resource is part of (e.g. in the case of periodicals). Blue tags indicate the status of the Related resources (translation or source text) and whether they themselves have translations or other editions linked to them. For some Resources, additional information is provided in the ‘Notes’ field. When a translation has a paratext, that is described in a separate Resource record linked to it. Paratext records often use the Notes field to describe the paratext and excerpts from it are quoted in the Summary.

Use the clickable links to discover connections between different people and resources in our database. 

The free text search lets you search titles and contributors for one or more words. 

Results are plotted on a histogram with years on the x-axis to show the frequency distribution of resources across time. 

To return more targeted results, you can add filters. There are 4 main filters, which are found just below the free-text box and select results by their status as Paratexts, Source texts or Translations, and by the year of publication. 

Click on ‘More filters’ to refine your search further. If your search does not return the expected results, we suggest you try and remove single filters or clear all filters.  


Just like for Resources, Agents can be perused as a list and in map view, and via the search functionality. This category includes both Persons and Organizations such as publishers and associations of various kinds. Use the ‘Main filters’ to limit your search results to one of the two sub-groups. 

The majority of Agent records for Persons detail basic biographical information: date and place of birth and death, gender, languages known, main place of residence and other places of activity, a schematic description of their ‘Role(s)’ and occupations, and a link to their entry in the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF). A shield icon indicates their status as noble. All these elements can be filtered by clicking on ‘More filters’. 

For some lesser known and/or anonymous Persons the information available is incomplete. In some cases, record details are complemented by a narrative biography, accessible via the ‘Biography’ tab. 

Database resources to which an Agent has contributed, and their specific role in relation to them, are listed under ‘Contributions’.

Agents are connected to one another via the ‘Knows’ classification. This is a generic indicator that maps networks in the widest possible sense, without specifying the degree or kind of relationship. Their memberships of Organisations are recorded as well, as a further way to reconstruct agents’ networks. 


The timeline provides an at-a-glance overview of translations, source texts, and a selection of historical events pertaining to the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Ireland and the United States. Other countries in the timeline only relate to places of publication and do not have an accompanying political chronology.

Hover over or click on the icons on the graph to reveal more information about texts and events. Navigate the timeline to observe the rhythm of translation and political activity and discover correlations between the three language areas and across time. 

Filter by country or type of event to look for specific connections.