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1 The History and Theory of Reception

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that the concept of reception is older than is thought; that, even so, the recent 'turn' in this direction is a significant one; that the concept of 'cultural translation' is useful in reception studies; that a number of problems plague scholars who try to trace the history of the reception of particular texts or other cultural artefacts; and that despite the problems, this approach continues to illuminate intellectual history. A recent collective study of More's Utopia in early modern Europe shows very clearly how editions and translations may be analysed to reveal the history of reception, based as it is on a careful analysis of the German, Italian, French, English, Dutch and Spanish translations of the text together with the paratexts that appear, disappear and on occasion reappear in different editions. It would be good to see Jean Bodin's major works treated in the same way.

Keywords: cultural translation; Jean Bodin; reception



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