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The A. Owen Aldridge Prize Citations 2010

2010 Prize Winner:

The 2010 Aldridge Prize for Best Comparative Essay by a Graduate Student is awarded to Belén Bistué of The University of California at Davis for her essay “The Task(s) of the Translators: Multiplicity as Problem in Renaissance European Thought.”

The author focuses on the work of the fifteenth century humanist Leonardo Bruni, who first used the verb “traducere” to indicate the act of linguistic translation in his De interpretatione recta (ca. 1424). By exploring both the practices of team and solo translation and the theoretical writings on translation of the period, Bistué shows how the collaborative translation practices of the Middle Ages gave way to the single translator model that has pervaded to this day. Bistué claims that this shift was a corollary of an early modern demand for unity in language, politics and religion. The essay is well-argued, has a clear thesis and a logical structure, and the author is clearly extremely well-versed in the subject material. It can be read profitably both by medieval and Renaissance scholars and by those generally interested in translation studies.

In the words of one judge, Bistué's essay is “thought provoking, with great insights on a very important issue.” Another notes that “this is a fantastic essay, compelling in every way. It embodies all the qualities wished for in an A. Owen Aldridge essay: it coordinates careful and original close readings with extensive historicization, it comments explicitly on what it might contribute to the discipline of comparative literature as a whole, it combines a specific focus with general import, and it is written in accessible language while never dumbing down any of its points. If the exquisite fusion of grace, intelligence and diligent scholarship of this essay is indicative, then the future of our profession is in truly great shape.”

2010 Aldridge Prize Committee:
Emily Apter, University of New York (Chair)
Gang Zhou, Louisiana State University
Peter Paik, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee