Rethinking agency and creativity: translation, collaboration and gender in early modern Germany

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This article proposes a re-evaluation of the phenomenon of collaboration in European cultural history. First, it identifies the existence of a tradition of literary and translational collaboration across seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe which has been only hinted at in the literature to date and demonstrates that collaboration took a particularly distinctive form in the German-speaking states. Second, the article reveals a hidden tradition of women who worked together with male colleagues as intellectual equals and published translations which contributed to the national agenda of cultural regeneration. The article argues that collaboration should be understood as a valid and creative form of authorship, as it was at the time, thus pointing to new ways of interpreting the history of literature and translation. It also suggests that we should rethink women’s involvement in collaborative (male-female) partnerships and read these relationships as positive and productive, thus offering new ways of interpreting women’s history.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-102
JournalTranslation Studies
Issue number1
Early online date18 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2017


  • Collaboration, gender, agency, Germany, female translators, history