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Translating Ovid’s Heroides: Three Middle English Collections of Women
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This work foregrounds gendered metaphors of translation in three collections of “good” women’s lives adapted and compiled from Ovid’s Heroides (Epistulae Heroidum): Geoffrey Chaucer Legend of Good Women, John Gower’s Confessio amantis, and Osbern Bokenham’s Legendys of Hooly Wummen. While these texts remain understudied, I argue that these collections constitute the authors’ most overt representations of themselves as English translators. As each poet restrains and restricts the “heathen” women’s complaints during translation, he likewise restrains and restricts the feminized “heathen” tongue: English. By identifying how these and other early English authors theorized their approach to translation, I demonstrate that metaphors of reproduction, exile, and female writing are replicated in important vernacular works up until the end of the sixteenth century. Chapters examine how the three authors appropriate Ovid’s poetic exile, the poets’ gendered ventriloquism as a vernacular authorial position, and the texts’ engagements with the Catalog of Women genre and its emphasis on feminine reproduction.
catalogs of women
Brenner, Caitlin R (2019). Translating Ovid’s Heroides: Three Middle English Collections of Women. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from