Linnaeus’ Restless System: Translation as Textual Engineering in Eighteenth-Century Botany

Annals of Science

Bettina Dietza

Annals of Science, 2015


This article discusses translations of Linnaeus’ Systema naturae into various European languages, in the context of successively expanded editions of Linnaeus’ writings. The ambition and intention of most translators was not only to make the Systema naturae accessible for practical botanical use by a wider readership, but also to supplement and correct it, and thus to shape it.

This form of textual engineering, becoming increasingly complex with each translation cycle, shaped the external appearance of new editions of the Systema, and reflected the modular architecture of a botanical system designed for expansion.

Published online: 16 Jul 2014