Acquisition through translation: the rise of the vernaculars in early modern Europe

Event Date: 
02 May 2017 to 04 May 2017

Padova, Italy


Early modern Europe develops its vernacular national literatures through a process of acquisition and translation: the emergence of the standard modern languages entails a competition with the dominant Latin culture, which remains the prevalent medium for the language of science, theology and philology until at least the eighteenth century. In this process, translation plays a very special role: in a number of significant instances we can read, in the widely disseminated process of translation, a policy of acquisition of classical – and by definition authoritative – texts that contribute to the building of an intellectual library for the emerging nation. At the same time, the transmission of ideas and texts across Europe constructed a diasporic and transnational culture: the emerging vernacular cultures acquired not only the classical Latin models, incorporating them in their own intellectual libraries, but turned their attention also to contemporary, or near-contemporary, vernacular texts, conferring them, through the act of translation, the status of classics. The present conference investigates all aspects of this phenomenon of cultural politics in Early Modern Europe, with particular attention to the exchange and cultural connections in Western Europe between the invention of printing and 1650.


Languages of the conference: English, German, Italian. Please send an abstract (roughly 500 words) and a short curriculum by 30 November 2016 to Alessandra Petrina and Federica Masiero

Submission date for papers: 
30 Nov 2016