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Renaissance Cultural Crossroads

Professor Brenda Hosington, Associate Fellow in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, was awarded £182.000 by the Leverhulme Trust to fund a three-year project (2007-2010) entitled 'Renaissance Cultural Crossroads: An Analytical and Annotated Catalogue of Translations, 1473-1640'. This bibliographical project involved a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Demmy Verbeke (2 years) Dr Sara Barker (1 year), and a Doctoral Student, Susanna de Schepper, and has recently culminated in the production of an online catalogue of translations (, a conference and related volume of essays, and a study of translation in Renaissance Britain based on the data provided by the catalogue.

The project arose from the belief that translation was central to the dissemination of knowledge in the Renaissance. Translated works constituted crossroads where languages and cultures met and intersected, enabling nations and individuals to communicate, to exchange ideas, and to advance social and political movements which thus transcended national boundaries. Nowhere was this more true than in Britain, where in the years 1473 to 1640 over four thousand translations were printed, involving almost thirty languages, over one thousand translators, and roughly twelve hundred authors. Yet despite the large number of translations and the crucial role they played, no complete record of them existed.

This web-based analytical and annotated catalogue was modelled on the Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England in 1475-1640 and its updated online version, the English Short-Title Catalogue. However, the Renaissance Cultural Crossroads Catalogue entries contain far more information about the source text and its translation, the languages used, the translator, and the author. The catalogue also includes separate fields for intermediary translators, who number over ninety, and intermediary translations. Lastly, it provides information on the liminary materials accompanying many translations, listing prefaces, prologues, epilogues, and dedicatory epistles and verses, as well as identifying their authors.

The key feature of the catalogue is the search engine, which will enable users to conduct surveys of multiple aspects of translation in the period. The Keyword Search covers the entire database, turning up any word in any field in all the entries in the catalogue. The Advanced Search is for users seeking specific results pertaining to fields such as the languages employed, the subjects covered (of which there are 109), the biographies of the translators, some of whom are identified for the first time, and the names of the printers, publishers and book-sellers who produced and distributed translations. As a research tool, the Renaissance Cultural Crossroads Catalogue will have enormous and immediate practical value for scholars working in many branches of Renaissance studies. However, it will also function in a wider perspective as a repository of information for all who are interested in the history of ideas and the international transmission of culture.

Contact information:

Principal Investigator was Prof. Brenda M. Hosington 

Researchers were: Dr Demmy Verbeke and Dr Sara Barker

Doctoral Student was Susanna De Schepper 


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