Schleiermacher’s Icoses. Social Ecologies of the Different Methods of Translating




Schleiermacher’s Icoses is the first book-length study of the 1813 Academy address “Ueber die verschiedenen Methodes des Uebersetzens”; in addition to celebrating its 200 years of influence, the book undertakes a comprehensive examination of the whole argument, from its theory of hermeneutics to its foreignizing theory of translation and all the passing “poetic” elements on which Schleiermacher’s rhetoric always so heavily relied. The “icoses” in the title are specifically an articulation of the Gefühle/feelings that lie at the heart of Schleiermacher’s hermeneutics—specifically, his insistence that feelings are shaped by society, and so seem “objective” or “universal,” but are experienced inwardly by each individual, so that they seem “subjective” and “private.” Research-based “feeling one’s way into an author” is guided by culture, and is therefore not, pace certain twentieth-century hermeneutical philosophers, mystical but “icotic.”


Robinson’s intriguing study of Schleiermacher’s 1813 Academy address “On the Different Methods of Translating,” which grew out of an article commemorating its bicentennial, is the first book-length commentary on the address. Robinson works meticulously through the entire text, both the German original and his own English translation, exposing its logical and other argumentative flaws mercilessly, but in order not to attack or dismiss it, rather to show that logic is not the right interpretive lens through which to view Schleiermacher’s project. The right lens, Robinson suggests, is what he calls “icoses”: social ecologies that shape our thought and convictions as members of a social group. The result is a fresh look at Schleiermacher’s address and the hermeneutics that inform it, and one that generates surprising new insights into foreignization, feeling-based hermeneutics, and the Romantic ethos of estrangement. (Radegundis Stolze, Technische Universität Darmstadt)

Robinson’s reading of Schleiermacher deals in detail with the whole address, and more, bringing out numerous problems that have remained hidden, dormant, and should be discussed. It provocatively picks up what any close reader feels: Schleiermacher’s is not a highly coherent account of translation -­ it got some things right but left many gaps and contradictions. Robinson’s inquiry suggests how the unresolved problems might be approached in an unexpected way: by a hermeneutic blurring of distinctions between the subjective and the objective, the psychological and the linguistic, the individual and the social. (Anthony Pym, Professor of Translation and Intercultural Studies, Rovira i Virgili University, Visiting Professor Monterey Institute of International Studies)


ISBN: 978-606-8266-72-5 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-606-8266-57-2 (eBook)

Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 20 × 13 × 2 cm
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