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Radical Translations

Council Room, Strand Campus

Napoleone entra a Milano Bagetti

Over the last three years, the Radical Translations Project has worked to uncover the mobility of revolutionary language – tracking not only what it said, but how it travelled, where it went and what it became. The digital resource we have created maps the 3-way circulation of translations and people between Britain, France and Italy in the revolutionary period (1789-1815) through cross-referencing four distinct datasets: on people, places, texts and events. In the convulsive political climate of revolution, translation was not simply a new container for an esteemed original. It was also a type of direct action, as revolutionaries and their sympathizers turned to translation as a type of revolutionary practice.

Recovering the role of the translator as a historical actor has required multiple competencies drawn from a variety of fields, including history, translation studies, literature and linguistics, all of which have different frames of reference when it comes to studying the past. In trying to grasp the scale and speed of revolutionary change, digital tools have provided perspectives that reach across these methodological divisions, even as they present challenges of their own.

Join us for this 2-day international workshop, which will establish a dialogue with scholars and whose work we have drawn upon in order to deepen our understanding of how these different methodological perspectives can help reconstruct the entangled histories of the period and beyond.

Everyone welcome - no need to pre-register.


Friday, November 4

9-9,25am: Arrival and registration, tea and coffee

9,30-9,45am: opening remarks

9,45-11,15am: Session 1 Chair: Maurizio Isabella (QMUL)

Lieven d’Hulst (KU Leuven), ‘Extending translation and connecting viewpoints: two challenges for translation historians of the French Revolution’

Silvia Tatti (Roma La Sapienza), ‘Italian Translations and Translators in France (1789-1815)’

Coffee break

11,45am-1,15pm: Session 2 Chair: Erica J. Mannucci (Milano Bicocca)

Haim Burstin (Milano Bicocca), ‘Political Activism and Administrative Careers at the Time of French Revolution’

Kate Astbury (Warwick), ‘Entangling of English and French Texts in the Revolutionary Decade: Essays, Novels and Theatre’


2,30-4pm: Session 3 Chair: Rosa Mucignat (KCL)

Ruth Ahnert (QMUL), ‘Information Flow’

Mark Philp (Warwick), ‘Shared Lexicons/Disparate Signs: Language and Visual Culture in France and Britain 1780-1850’

Coffee break

4,30-6pm: Session 4 Chair: Paul Hamilton (QMUL)

Sanja Perovic (KCL), ‘Radical Translations: Texts, People, Commitments, Methods’

Rosa Mucignat (KCL), ‘Visualising Translation: Radical Translators and their Networks’

Erica Mannucci (Milano Bicocca), ‘Between Italy and France: Political identities in poetical translations’

Saturday, November 5

10-11,30: Session 1 Chair: Sanja Perovic (KCL)

Rachel Hammersley (Newcastle University), 'Genre, materiality, and intention in the French revolutionary translations of James Harrington's political works'

Sonja Lavaert (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), ‘D’Holbach’s Radical Critique of Hierarchy and Translation as a Revolutionary Method’

Coffee break

11,45-1,15: Session 2 Chair: Nigel Ritchie (KCL)

Richard Whatmore (University of St. Andrews), ‘The Transformation of Radical Politics at the End of Enlightenment’

Carine Lounissi (University of Rouen), ‘Writing in French on the American Revolution in the 1770s and 1780s: the role of translation and of translators’


2,30-4pm: Session 3 Chair: Jacob McGuinn (KCL)

Mary-Ann Constantine (University of Wales Trinity Saint David), ‘Wales and the French Revolution: Lessons Learned, New Directions’

Ian Haywood (University of Roehampton), ‘Republic of Europe’

Concluding remarks/Discussion