Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of History

Title

Linnaeus' restless system: Translation as textual engineering in eighteenth-century botany

Language

English

Abstract

© 2014 Taylor & Francis. In this essay, translations of Linnaeus’ Systema naturae into various European languages will be placed into the context of successively expanded editions of Linnaeus’ writings. The ambition and intention of most translators was not only to make the Systema naturae accessible for practical botanical use by a wider readership, but also to supplement and correct it, and thus to shape it. By recruiting more users, translations made a significant contribution to keeping the Systema up to date and thus maintaining its practical value for decades. The need to incorporate countless additions and corrections into an existing text, to document their provenance, to identify inconsistencies, and to refer to relevant observations, descriptions, and illustrations in the botanical literature all helped to develop and refine techniques of textual montage. This form of textual engineering, becoming increasingly complex with each translation cycle, shaped the external appearance of new editions of the Systema, and reflected the modular architecture of a botanical system designed for expansion.

Publication Date

2014

Source Publication Title

Annals of Science

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

DOI

10.1080/00033790.2014.929742

ISSN (print)

00033790

ISSN (electronic)

1464505X

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