Réka Forrai

CML Senior researcher (SDU)

Senior researcher

Department of History 

Centre for Medieval Literature


Mail: forrai@sdu.dk

Research and projects

By formation I am a classicist and a historian, and consequently what fascinates me most in the study of medieval Latin literature lies at the crossroads of philology and history. I am interested in the social, political, religious embeddedness of literary activity, and in particular that of translation as a way of creating new texts and ultimately, new canons.

My main research expertise lies in the field of Greek to Latin translations in the Middle Ages. I am currently approaching this subject from three angles: texts, institutions and theoretical frameworks.

  1. For better understand the scene of Greek Latin translation movements, a lot of groundwork still needs to be done. I am therefore trying to unearth translations that are unedited or little known, still lying around in manuscript formats awaiting editions (in particular translations of Moses of Bergamo, Angelo Clareno).
  2. While medieval translators didn’t have the institutional backup that modern translators have (e.g. university programs in language learning and translating, publishing houses, associations) they certainly didn’t operate in a social void. I study the institutional panorama they had at their disposal: papal, royal, imperial and bishopric courts, as well as monasteries  and universities, and see how they formed and shaped the medieval Greek-Latin translation projects by making language acquisition and the acquiring of texts possible, by employing and thus supporting the translators in various functions, and by providing a network for disseminating these translations. I am currently working on a monograph on the papacy’s role in Greek-Latin transfer of knowledge, from the 7th to the 13th centuries.

  3. Recently I have also been experimenting with applying modern translation theories onto the medieval Greek-Latin translation projects as a way to refresh the discourse with modern theoretical terms and arguments that would change and enrich both our questions and results. I am working in particular with Andre Lefevere’s theory on translation as rewriting, and Mona Bakes model of translation narratives and conflict management.