… til Rusin-Strutar och Tortebotnar: Översättningars nytta enligt förord till svenska översättningar av antik litteratur under 1700-talets första hälft


  • Johanna Akujärvi University of Lund




Swedish translation, translation of the Classics, paratexts, reasons to translate, use of translation


For candy cones and layer cakes: The use of translations according to Swedish translators of classical literature from the first fifty years of the 18th century.

This is a study of prefaces and dedications to Swedish translations of Greek and Roman literature from the first fifty years of the eighteenth century. The introductory paratexts of this period are highly homogenous. Most cover the following five topoi: the importance of the chosen text is specified; the text and author are introduced; the usefulness of the translation is discussed; the principles of translation are touched upon; and, in conclusion, translators anticipate and try to deflect criticism of their work. Not only are the same topoi found in most translatory prefaces and dedications, but are moreover often filled with very similar arguments. The focus of this study is on the most central topos, that of the usefulness of the translation. As a rule, during this period translators tended toward utilitarian arguments to justify their translations. The use could be argued (1) to be the moral value of the text, (2) to help students to learn Latin and, to a lesser extent, Greek, (3) to make the subject-matter of the texts available to readers with no Greek or Latin, or (4) to further the development of the Swedish language and poetry. These utilitarian arguments are illustrated with quotations from the translatory paratexts and discussed with reference to contemporary debates.


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Peer-reviewed articles