Professor Michelle Bolduc

Professor Michelle Bolduc to give her inaugural lecture, ‘Medieval Translatio(n), Modern Rhetoric’

A professor in Translation Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, Professor Michelle Bolduc, who is also the new Director of our Masters programme, will give her inaugural lecture on Wednesday 8 February.

Having newly joined Exeter in the Autumn of 2016, Michelle’s research centres on intersections: of periods (the medieval and the modern); of disciplines (translation and rhetoric; literature and philosophy), and of modes of creating and disseminating ideas (translatio and migration; textual and visual). Her current research is rooted in the medieval notion of translatio, and specifically how it provides a framework for understanding the rediscovery of (or the recovery of) Classical rhetoric in our modern era.

Michelle's research issues parallel challenges to rhetoricians and translators alike: that rhetoricians, focused on communication, would do well to take seriously translation as the foundational means of communicating and sharing ideas between different cultures and languages, and conversely, that translators, whose training may be limited by an emphasis on the linguistic and semantic levels of interlingual and intercultural transfer, and who are too often unaware of how closely related translation and rhetoric were in history, would do well to explore the particular philosophical (and not just stylistic) tools that rhetoric has to offer.

Speaking ahead of the lecture, she said: “The inspiration for this lecture originates in my own translation of Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca’s New Rhetoric Project. It attempts to explain that their radical ‘turn’ to rhetoric, which they characterised as a humane response to the postwar crisis of reason, came about by means of translation, and indeed the translatio of Ciceronian rhetoric.”

Date: 2 February 2017

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