Babel : Adventures in Translation

2 (1 rating by Goodreads)
By (author)  , By (author)  , By (author)  , By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


This innovative collection of essays shows how linguistic diversity has inspired people across time and cultures to embark on adventurous journeys through the translation of texts. It tells the story of how ideas have travelled via the medium of translation into different languages and cultures, focusing on illustrated examples ranging from Greek papyri through illuminated manuscripts and fine early books to fantasy languages (such as J.R.R. Tolkien's Elvish), the search for a universal language and the challenges of translation in multicultural Britain.

Starting with the concept of Babel itself, which illustrates the early cultural prominence of multilingualism, and with an illustration of a Mediterranean language of four millennia ago (Linear A) which still resists deciphering, it goes on to examine how languages have interacted with each other in different contexts.

The book also explores the multilingual transmission of key texts in religion, science (the history of Euclid), animal fable (from Aesop in Greek to Beatrix Potter via La Fontaine, with some fascinating Southeast Asian books), fairy-tale, fantasy and translations of the great Greek epics of Homer.

It is lavishly illustrated with a diverse range of material, from papyrus fragments found at Oxyrhynchus to Esperanto handbooks to Asterix cartoons, each offering its own particular adventure into translation.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 207 x 244 x 20.32mm | 952.54g
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • 65 Illustrations, color
  • 185124509X
  • 9781851245093
  • 796,803

Table of contents


1 Babel: Curse or Blessing? (Matthew Reynolds)
2 'Debabelization': Creating a Universal Language (Dennis Duncan)
3 Translating the Divine (Matthew Reynolds)
4 An Epic Journey: Translating Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (Stephen Harrison)
5 Translating Tales: Beast-fables around the World (Stephen Harrison)
6 Traversing Realms of Fantasy (Katrin Kohl)
7 Negotiating Multilingual Britain (Katrin Kohl)
8 Languages Lost in Time (Dennis Duncan)
Further Reading
show more

Review quote

"Accompanying an exhibition at the Bodleian, and beautifully illustrated by some of the library's treasures, this collection of essays about translation is a visual and intellectual treat."--Tatler "As a book accompanying an exhibit, Babel: Adventures in Translation is, unsurprisingly, extensively -- and quite sumptuously -- illustrated. . . the pieces. . . present quick, broad overviews of quite a variety of translation- and language-related subjects beyond the merely obvious. Along with the many illustrations, it makes for an agreeably thought-provoking collection."--Complete Review
show more

About Dennis Duncan

Dennis Duncan is Munby Fellow in Bibliography, University of Cambridge. Stephen Harrison is Professor of Latin Literature, University of Oxford, and Fellow and Tutor in Classics, Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Katrin Kohl is Professor of German Literature, University of Oxford, and Fellow and Tutor in German, Jesus College, Oxford. Matthew Reynolds is Professor of English and Comparative Criticism, University of Oxford, and Fellow and Tutor in English Language and Literature, St Anne's College, Oxford.
show more

Rating details

1 rating
2 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 0% (0)
3 0% (0)
2 100% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X