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Is translation child’s play? Circulation of knowledge in Lomonosov ’ s Kratkij rossijskij letopisec s rodosloviem (1760) and its translations

Wim Coudenys, Vladislava Warditz


Pages 046 - 069

DOI https://doi.org/10.13173/WS.66.1.46




1765 and 1767 saw the publication of the German, respectively the English translation of Lomonosov’s Kratkij rossijskij letopisec s rodosloviem (1760). For the very first time the European reading public could find out how Russians saw their own history. These translations testified to Russia’s ascent both as an empire and as a part of European learned society, and were made by youths who wanted to further their own career and were neither professional translators nor historians. In this article, we argue that the translations of Lomonosov’s Kratkij rossijskij letopisec should not be studied as an isolated act of cultural transfer but as an episode in a longer history of circulation of knowledge. We demonstrate the complexity of this circulation by reassessing the ‘quality’ of these translations and positioning them in that longer history of circulation of knowledge by analysing the distribution of historical concepts (Begriffe) in Lomonosov’s original and its translations.

The article is written in English.



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