Life, liberty, and the pursuit of linguistic parity : multilingual perspectives on the declaration of independence
Journal of American History
Reading these fascinating essays on translations of the Declaration of Independence into various languages-including Russian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, French, and Spanish-what emerges is how remarkably paradoxical that document is. It is clearly both revolutionary and universal. Yet, we should perhaps remind ourselves of the inevitable contradiction in those two claims. If it is revolutionary, its precepts run counter to mainstream tradition: They contravene received wisdom and contradict normative experience, which together constitute the basis of the universal. In other words, if the declaration is revolutionary, how can it be universal?
Copyright © 1999 Organization of American Historians
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Eoyang, E. (1999). Life, liberty, and the pursuit of linguistic parity: Multilingual perspectives on the declaration of independence. Journal of American History, 85(4), 1449-1454. doi: 10.2307/2568265