Translating Grotius' De Jure belli ac Pacis: Courtin vs. Barbeyrac

Meri Päivärinne

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This paper aims to shed more light on the history of translation of academic texts in the eighteenth century with a descriptive case study of two early French translations of Hugo Grotius’ De jure belli ac pacis, by Antoine de Courtin, in 1687, and Jean Barbeyrac, in 1724. Academic texts have been translated following two traditions that emerge from different views of translation. I call the first one straight translation, which sees translation as simple transmission of knowledge to new languages, and the second one commentary translation, which engages translators in the actual academic discussion itself, creating new knowledge. The textual analysis of the paratexts of these translations leads to theoretical implications for the critical debate about norms and agency. The debate about academic translation, as an intracultural activity, was thus quite different from the contemporary literary arguments about belles infidèles.
Translated title of the contributionGrotiuksen De Jure Belli ac Pacis ranskannoksista: Courtin vs. Barbeyrac
Original languageEnglish
JournalTranslation studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Bibliographical note


Fields of Science

  • 612 Languages and Literature
  • 615 History and Archaeology

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