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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Translation studies have generally burgeoned as a field of scholarly investigation in recent decades. This article considers the fortunes of Medieval Latin literature in Modern English translation. The translation of Medieval Latin into English has received only very short shrift. Medieval Latin played only a marginal role in the process: professionalization presupposes a profit motive that is rarely imaginable where Medieval Latin texts or translations are at stake. Despite the cultural significance that is accorded to Latin books, the decision of which texts to translate and publish is governed largely by purely commercial factors. Cultural institutions counterbalance the market, and Latin has suffered from lacking such institutional backing. In the second half of the twentieth century, a few prolific translators who earned their livings through their craft became well known among readers of high-cultural literature. The dearth of professional translators of Medieval Latin results partly from the fragile status of translating within the large culture and especially within academic culture, but it also reflects the marginality of medieval Latin literature.

Keywords: medieval Latin literature, Modern English, translation studies, professionalization, profit motive

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