Explicitation in Gaspar Wilkowski’s Polish Translation of Edmund Campion’s Rationes Decem
Clarinda E. Calma
In the sixteenth century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a multicultural and multidenominational country, where religious freedom was guaranteed by the General Warsaw Confederation Act of 1573. This climate of religious tolerance allowed a culture of public theological dispute to flourish within the realm. Printed in Vilnius in 1584, Gaspar Wilkowski’s Dziesięc mocnych dowodów [Ten Strong Reasons]—a translation of Edmund Campion’s Rationes decem—captured this culture of controversy and polemical dispute. To understand the significance of Wilkowski’s book this essay will situate it in its wider historical context of cross-confessional debates between Catholics and the Polish Brethren. Three other books will be discussed to demonstrate that Wilkowski’s translation was clearly written as an instrument of polemical dispute. A textual analysis of the work shows a change of emphasis from Campion’s book, consequently affecting the reader’s reception of the translated work. Understanding how the translator, in this case Wilkowski, made conscious changes in the original text to accommodate the particular needs of his target readership helps explain the purpose and structure of the Polish translation. In short, Wilkowski wanted to make his translation as relevant to his readers as possible.
The book is divided into three main parts. In the first part, the presence and impact of British recusants in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth are discussed. Part two deals with subversive publishing and its role on the intellectual culture of the Elizabethan Settlement. Part three deals with the impact of national censorship laws on book circulation to the Continent.