Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4959
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  • Title: Gender Subversion and LInguistic Castration in Fifteenth-Century English Translations of Christine de Pizan [translations excised her authority and her authorship; moreover they cut away her feminizing influence, removing or masculinizing all that she offered for female empowerment].
  • Source: Violence Against Women in Medieval Texts.  Edited by Anna Roberts.  University Press of Florida, 1998.  Pages 161 - 194.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Authority Christine de Pizan, Poet Postmodern Theory Translation Women Authors Woodcuts
  • Geographic Area: British Isles;France
  • Century: 15- 16
  • Related Resources: Following on the work of Derrida, Jane Chance argues for the notion of a gendered translation. Looking at fifteenth-century English translations of the literary works of Christine de Pizan, Chance notes how Christine's work has been masculinised by the inclusion of a male voice and, in turn, a male subjectivity. English translators even went so far as to omit passages about women and arguments in favour of women, masculine woodcuts of female deities and, in some cases, attributed her work altogether to a male author. Chance decries this as "scholastic violence against women" (173). While her essay may not fit into any conventional definition of violence, it illuminates yet another essential area of research for historians of misogyny." From the review written by Sara Butler of "Violence Against Women in Medieval Texts," "Medieval Review" (TMR ID: 96.12.11). [Reproduced by permission of the "Medieval Review."].
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  • Table: Nine Figures. Figure One A small Othea presents her book to Hector who dominates the scene. Woodcut frontispiece to Robert Wyer's 1540 printed English translation of Christine's "Epistre Othea." Figure Two A Large Othea presents her book to a young and small Hector in Christine's "Epistre Othea" (London, British Library MS Harley 4431, fol. 95 v.) Figure Three Woodcut in which Thamaris the Amazon queen is represented as a man. From Robert Wyer's 1540 printed English translation of Christine's "Epistre Othea, the C. Hystoryes of Troye." Figure Four Again from Wyer's translation. The judgement of Paris in which the dominant Paris judges the kneeling goddesses. Figure Five Echo is depicted as Queen Margaretha and Narcissus is King Henry VI in Wyer's English translation of "Epistre Othea, the C. Hystoryes of Troye." Figure Six A masculinized Ino scatters her gain uselessly in Wyer's English translation of "Epistre Othea, the C. Hystoryes of Troye." Figure Seven The figure of Caesar Augustus is enlarged and the female figures are either diminished (the Sybil) or eliminated (the Virgin Mary) in Wyer's English translation of "Epistre Othea, the C. Hystoryes of Troye." Figure Eight A standing Sibyl explains the Virgin and child in the sky to a kneeling Caesar Augustus in Christine's "Epistre Othea" (London, British Library MS Harley 4431, Fol. 141). Figure Nine The God of Love receives from a messenger Christine's poem; or alternatively the God of Love hands his "Letter" to a messenger. From Christine's "Epistre au Dieu d' Amours" (London, British Library MS Harley 4431, fol. 51).
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  • Year of Publication: 1998.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0813015669
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