Two books about one text: on the genesis of 'Epitaph for an era' (2019) and 'Confronting Crisis' (2020)
In 2009 De Jong began translating the Epitaphium Arsenii, a passionate defence of Abbot Wala of Corbie (d. 836), written by his pupil, the monk Paschasius Radbertus (d. c. 860). Wala/Arsenius was one of Charlemagne’s cousins, who rebelled against Louis the Pious in 830. This epitaph (funeral oration) is one of the cornerstones for the modern narrative of the decline of the Carolingian empire. Not just its idiosyncratic Latin posed a challenge, but also De Jong's need to become a political and a literary historian. Out of years spent in the intimate company of one text came two books. In this talk she reflects on this process, and on the interdependence of translation and historical analysis.
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