Faculty Research at Morehead State University


The Recent Boom in Translations of Antonio Jose da Silva

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One of the most neglected but potentially fascinating branches of scholarship is the history of translation, and in particular, of the trends in translation. Much can be learned from a study of which works are chosen for translation, the frequency with which a given author or national literature is translated, and the impact of the translations on the literature of the new language in which the work appears. My English version of Anfitrião, ou Júpiter e Alcmena by Antônio José da Silva will be coming out later this year (2010). Towards the end of the project, I became aware that my work was part of a sudden burst of translations of the plays of this unjustly neglected author. Why, after nearly three centuries, have five translators in twenty-two years devoted their efforts to a playwright almost unknown outside the Portuguese-speaking world? In the end, perhaps, no satisfactory or instructive explanation will emerge, but the problem seems sufficiently intriguing to warrant some exploration.