Volume 10, Numéro 22, Pages 19-36

Alexander Ross’s “translation” Of The Koran: Its Cultural Motivation And Its Ideological Functions In Mid-seventeenth-century England And After

Authors : Bouteldja Riche .


Many critics have already bothered themselves with the criticism of the first English “translation” of the Koran into English by Alexander Ross in 1649. One of the most outstanding essays in the critical literature about this work is the one presented by Nabil Matar in 1998. Matar throws new light into the context and political circumstances in which this “translation” of a “translation” of the Koran took place trying in the process of analysis to answer questions usually raised in translation studies of this kind. However, by the time we finish reading Matar’s study, we are overtaken by the desire to go over the issues treated in it by taking a larger historical perspective than the one Matar has taken in his study, and by bringing in politics, ethics and poetics as determining factors in Ross’s derivative “translation” of the Koran. In doing so, we do not need to go to the usual blame put on Ross for the inferior quality of his “translation.” We consider that traditional translation studies issues like fidelity to the original, the non-mastery of the language of the first source text (Arabic) and the second source text (French) as well as questions of equivalence are secondary for us.


The Koran, Translation, Cultural, Ideological Functions, Alexander Ross