Translation in Theory and Practice: The Case of Johann David Michaelis’s Prize Essay on Language and Opinions (1759)

In Stefanie Stockhorst (ed.), Cultural Transfer through Translation: The Circulation of Enlightened Thought in Europe by Means of Translation. Rodopi (2010)
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In this article Johann David Michaelis’s views of language and translation are juxtaposed with his own experience as a translated and translating author, especially with regard to the translations of his prize essay on the reciprocal influence of language and opinions (1759). Its French version originated in a close collaboration with the translators, while the pirated English edition was anonymously translated at second hand. The article reconstructs Michaelis’s relationship with the French translators and his renouncement of the English version, publicly condemned in London by Robert Lowth at the author’s request. These two processes represent different contemporary modes of translation and shed new light on emerging theories of linguistic and cultural transfer.

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Avi Lifschitz
University College London


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