Digital Network Analysis Meets Translation History: Insights from the Pilot Project “Translation and Print Networks in Stuart and Commonwealth Britain, 164160”

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 4:30 PM
Marquette Room (Hilton Chicago)
Marie-Alice Belle, Université de Montréal
This presentation showcases the pilot project, “Translation and Print Networks in Stuart and Commonwealth Britain, 1641-1660”, at the Université de Montréal. Based on the corpus of British translations printed during the Civil Wars and the Interregnum, it explores the critical potential of digital network analysis and visualization tools for the historical study of early modern translations.

While there have been recent calls by Translation Studies scholars to apply historical network analysis methods to the production and circulation of translations, none have specifically addressed the early modern period. Conversely, translations and translators are being gradually recognized as “actors” in early modern English social and material networks (see e.g. 6DFB, RECIRC), but no project so far has systematically engaged with the corpus of translations produced in the period.

Our starting point, therefore, is the data collected as part of a previous project in the Cultural Crosscurrents Catalogue of British printed translations, 1641-1660 (forthcoming on the Folger Library’s Miranda digital platform). We interrogate the liminal spaces of printed translations (imprints, dedications, encomia, etc.) to reconstruct, analyze, and visualize networks of print production, linguistic exchange, social belonging, and ideological identities, as encoded in the printed translated book in those polarized years of British political and cultural history.

We are currently gathering data into various kinds of sub-corpora designed to explore the full range of applications of digital network analysis – from international networks of print production and circulation to individual translators’ or printers’ ego networks; and from homogeneous translation communities to more diffuse phenomena, such as the presence of women in British translation and print networks.

We will discuss our data collection methods, as well as the various digital tools explored in this pilot study, which (if funding permits) is to expand into an international, collaborative project covering the whole early modern period (1473-1660).