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Language Acquisition; Translation: Specialization: Literary Translation I

Course 2010-2011

Admission Requirements



“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 exits 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. The second half 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 at home. Students are free in their choice of source language: English, Dutch, French, Chinese, Old English, Klingon… In the first six weeks of the 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.
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 f the contributions made by translation theorists, stylisticians, literary scholars and philosophers.

Course Objectives

  • Knowledge of stylistics
  • Ability to apply one’s knowledge and understanding of stylistics in translating a literary text


The timetable will be available from July 1 onwards on the Department website.

Mode of Instruction

One three-hour tutorial per week.


Class paper; annotated translation


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

Literary Translation I reader available on Blackboard.


Students can register through uSis.

Contact information

English Department, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103c. Phone: 071 527 2144, or mail: