Citing the oeuvre of Hans Jacob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen by way of illustration, SPP-Mercator Fellow Levy Bastos (Rio de Janeiro, UERJ) will provide theoretical and practical insights into the translation of Early Modern literature. Grimmelshausen’s novels, and in particular his Simplicissimus Teutsch as well as its sequel Courasche, are among the few examples of German Baroque literature that are still read today, thanks in part to their relatively extensive translation history.
One focus of the analytical reflections will be Bastos’s translation of Courasche into Brazilian Portuguese. Bastos set out to translate Grimmelshausen’s narrative world into Portuguese in such a way as to retain the text’s (Early Modern High) German character. The translation is thus intended to help present-day readers engage with the historical alterity of the Baroque period. At the same time, at the level of the present—as the translation’s target culture—, Bastos proceeds on the fundamental assumption that no one can carry out a translation in a space devoid of ideas, values, and worldviews. On the contrary, he conceives of translating as a political act in which the translator is also guided by a certain perception of reality and their own specific (social) position. In Bastos’s view, to translate therefore means to decide.