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Visual narrative: The 'Aeneid' woodcuts from Sebastian Brant’s edition of Virgil (Strasbourg 1502) in Thomas Murner’s translation of the 'Aeneid' (Strasbourg 1515)


Frick, Julia (2019). Visual narrative: The 'Aeneid' woodcuts from Sebastian Brant’s edition of Virgil (Strasbourg 1502) in Thomas Murner’s translation of the 'Aeneid' (Strasbourg 1515). In: Besamusca, Bart; de Bruijn, Elisabeth; Willaert, Frank. Early printed narrative literature in Western Europe. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 241-271.

Abstract

Thomas Murner’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid into German (Strasbourg: Johann Grüninger 1515) is accompanied by a selection of 112 of the 143 Aeneid woodcuts from the complete edition of Virgil’s works edited by Sebastian Brant. The latter had been published by Johann Grüninger in Strasbourg in 1502, thirteen years before Murner’s translation. Research has demonstrated that Brant was involved in the production of the woodcuts as a “concepteur”: the extremely detailed interpretation of the text by means of images implies a thorough knowledge of Virgil’s text, while the resulting visual narrative, in addition to the textual understanding supplied by the Latin writing, creates a striking and absorbing display. It can be demonstrated that Thomas Murner knew Brant’s edition and this raises the question of whether Murner was influenced by the familiar woodcuts in his translation of the Aeneid. He, just like Brant, attributed great value not only to the illustrative and mnemonic function of the image, but also to the close relationship between the text and the image. Indeed, the influence of the Aeneid illustrations on Murner’s understanding of the Latin text can be observed in some places in his translation, demonstrating a dual translation process: the transposition of the Latin text into a pictorial form, which was then translated back into the German language.

Abstract

Thomas Murner’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid into German (Strasbourg: Johann Grüninger 1515) is accompanied by a selection of 112 of the 143 Aeneid woodcuts from the complete edition of Virgil’s works edited by Sebastian Brant. The latter had been published by Johann Grüninger in Strasbourg in 1502, thirteen years before Murner’s translation. Research has demonstrated that Brant was involved in the production of the woodcuts as a “concepteur”: the extremely detailed interpretation of the text by means of images implies a thorough knowledge of Virgil’s text, while the resulting visual narrative, in addition to the textual understanding supplied by the Latin writing, creates a striking and absorbing display. It can be demonstrated that Thomas Murner knew Brant’s edition and this raises the question of whether Murner was influenced by the familiar woodcuts in his translation of the Aeneid. He, just like Brant, attributed great value not only to the illustrative and mnemonic function of the image, but also to the close relationship between the text and the image. Indeed, the influence of the Aeneid illustrations on Murner’s understanding of the Latin text can be observed in some places in his translation, demonstrating a dual translation process: the transposition of the Latin text into a pictorial form, which was then translated back into the German language.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of German Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:430 German & related languages
Language:English
Date:2019
Deposited On:15 Feb 2020 10:59
Last Modified:07 Apr 2020 07:26
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISBN:978-3-11-056300-9
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110563016-009
Related URLs:https://www.degruyter.com/viewbooktoc/product/495837?rskey=BnK6nv&result=1 (Publisher)

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