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Rhetorical Ethos and the Translator's Self in Early Modern England

Fri, April 1, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Park Plaza, Floor: Fourth Floor, Franklin Room


While early modern English translation prefaces had long been overlooked as pertaining to a “pre-theoretical” stage of translation history (Steiner 1976), recent research has instead demonstrated their importance, not only in terms of theoretical debates on translation (Rhodes 2013), but also as crucial places of authorial self-fashioning and strategic “visibility” (Coldiron 2012). Translation metaphors and commonplaces have rightly been underlined, as well as the impact of Cicero’s treatises in the development of an “oratorical” approach to translation (Boutcher 2000) in early modern England. Missing, however, from the critical debate is the role of Aristotle’s model for rhetorical self-presentation, or ethos, as defined in his Rhetoric – a staple text in the Humanist curriculum. This paper will trace Aristotle’s categories of rhetorical ethos through a variety of prefaces and other liminal texts, thus examining their significance to the fashioning of the translating self in early modern England.