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Literary Translation 2: The other side of the tapestry


Admission requirements

This course is open only to students registered for the Translation in Theory and Practice specialization.


“There are few efforts more conducive to humility than that of the translator trying to communicate an incommunicable beauty. Yet, unless we do try, something unique and never surpassed will cease to exist except in the libraries of a few inquisitive book lovers.” Many will disagree with this quotation by the American classicist and teacher, Edith Hamilton (1867-1963), herself the author of beautiful translations of Greek tragedies. They would argue that reading a translation is like looking at “the other side of a tapestry” (Cervantes): it is not difficult, but actually impossible and should therefore not be tried at home – or in tutorial. However, this (i.e. trying) is precisely what we are going to do in this course.

We will explore some of the issues (like the one above) in literary translation that scholars in different times and cultures have asked themselves. Part of the course will be in the form of translation workshops, led by one or two students who have prepared short, annotated translations of fiction, poetry or prose drama at home.

At the end of the course, students are aware of the challenges involved in literary translation. Furthermore, they are aware of its interdisciplinary nature and of the contributions made by translation theorists, stylisticians, literary scholars and philosophers.

Course objectives

  • Course objective 1: knowledge of current debates in literary translation;

  • Course objective 2: knowledge of stylistics;

  • Course objective 3: ability to apply one’s knowledge and understanding of stylistics in translating literary texts.


The timetable is available on the MA English website

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load: 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours

  • Preparation for seminars (literature study, stylistic analyses, translations, annotated translations): 112 hours

  • Seminars: 28 hours

Assessment method


Average mark of two submitted annotated translations with source text and target text analyses (mid-term and end-of-term) (100%)


There are resits for the mid-term and end-of-term translation assignments. Marks for the annotated translations need to be at least 6.0. Students can only resit a course component if the mark for the component is a fail.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • additional reading materials

  • announcements

Reading list

Reading materials to be made available on Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English.

Students other than MA Linguistics need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof