Monday, March 19, 2012

More translations: German, Italian, Russian, Dutch

Updated July 21, 2014. See this essay for a subsequent important discovery! 

 As we saw in the last essay, the first translation of Hoyle was a 1753 Portuguese edition. I'll continue to discuss later translations, but I can not be as exhaustive as I am with the English versions. I have not seen all of the books I intend to discuss and am dependent on secondary sources such as library catalogues and the work of Manfred Zollinger.

A year after the Portuguese translation, Hoyle's treatise on whist appeared in Germany as Kurzgefaßte Anweisung zum Whist-Spiele. Aus dem Englischen des Herrn Hoyle nach der neuesten Ausgabe übersetzt. As the title notes, it is translated from the latest edition, the "eighth" London edition of 1748.  No publisher or place of publication is noted, although someone more familiar with mid-Eighteenth century printing in Germany may be able to identify the ornaments appearing on the title page or the final printed leaf, pictured below. Zollinger has located a second edition of 1768 and there appear to be many German gaming anthologies that reprint portions of Hoyle. Finally, as I noted in the essay on Bob Short's Short Rules for the Game of Whist, that work was translated to German in 1793.

The final leaf
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1754 German edition
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Nearly two dozen printings of Hoyle's Whist appeared in French, the first in 1761. We will postpone discussion of them for another essay, but note here than French versions were printed in many locations: Paris, Amsterdam, Turin, Vienna, Brussels, Liege, and The Hague. The conclusion is that it is much more useful to talk about the language of translation than the place of publication when discussion the continental editions of Hoyle.

In 1761, Hoyle wrote An Essay Towards Making the Game of Chess Easily Learned, printed for Thomas Osborne. The work was translated into Italian in 1768 as Il giuoco delli scacchi con alcune regole, ed osservazioni per ben giuocarlo del signore Hoyle Inglese tradotte nel nostro idiom, printed in Florence by Gio. Batista Stecchi and Anton-Giuseppe Pagani. This appears to be the only translation of the treatise on chess and I have found no Italian translation of Whist.

Whist was, however, translated into Russian as Sokrashchennoe opisanie vybrannoe iz sochineniia G. Goilia o igrie nazyvaemoi vist obnarodovannoe v Anglii v 1750 godu, printed in Saint Petersburg in 1769 by Tipografii Akademii nauk. Unsurprisingly, it was translated not from English, but from French. The title page suggests that the French translation was from a 1750 English edition, but as we have seen, that text was established in 1748. A single copy survives at the Library of Congress.

1790 Dutch translation
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One final translation appeared in the eighteenth century, a 1790 Dutch edition of Hoyle's treatises on whist, quadrille and piquet, pictured at right and titled Volledig onderwijs in het whist-, omber-, quadrille-, en piket-spel. The game of ombre is included as well, though the text would not have been that of Hoyle. I am not able to trace the text to any particular edition of Hoyle's Whist--the chapters, for example, do not match up in an obvious way with the chapters of the English editions. The title continues "met de nodige toelichtingen voor de Nederlandsche speelers" that is "with necessary explanations for Dutch players" suggestion that there is some original text in the book.

In due course, I will discuss some of the many translations of Hoyle into French.

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