Translation in the pre-modern world

Middle Eastern Literatures

Karla Mallette

Middle Eastern Literatures, 2017


Translation occupies a central place in current theories of world literature, but it is not the only way in which texts circulate beyond their original cultural and temporal contexts to become world literature. This article explores the shifting relationship between language and territory, contrasting modern languages as territorially bound by the nation-state with pre-modern cosmopolitan languages that transcended territorial location. Drawing upon the complex translation process of the works of Aristotle from the Abbasid translation movement of the eighth through 10th centuries to the multiple print editions of competing translations of Aristotle’s works published in Venice in the 16th century, the article argues that world literature often results from the confluence of the broad reach of a cosmopolitan language and the mobility of translation.

Full article – Taylor and Francis Online

Karla Mallette, ‘Translation in the pre-modern world’, Middle Eastern Literatures, 20. 1 2017.

Taylor and Francis Online