Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


Translation of the Month

November 2022

Immaculate Deception and Further Ribaldries: Yet Another Dozen Medieval French Farces in Modern English. Edited and translated by Jody Enders. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022. ISBN 9780812225297 (pbk); 9780812254006 (hbk); 9780812298598 (ebk). Available with a subscription from JSTOR.

Pieter Balten, Detail from A Flemish Kermis with a Performance of the Farce
Pieter Balten, Detail from A Flemish Kermis with a Performance of the Farce 'Een cluyte van Plaeyerwater', c. 1570, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain).

"Did you hear the one about the Mother Superior who was so busy casting the first stone that she got caught in flagrante delicto with her lover? What about the drunk with a Savior complex who was fool enough to believe himself to be the Second Coming? And that's nothing compared to what happens when comedy gets its grubby paws on the confessional. Enter fifteenth- and sixteenth-century French farce, the "bestseller" of a world that stands to tell us a lot about the enduring influence of a Shakespeare or a Molière. It's the sacrilegious world of Immaculate Deception, the third volume in a series of stage-friendly translations from the Middle French. Brought to you through the wonders of Open Access, these twelve engagingly funny satires target religious hypocrisy in that in-your-face way that only true slapstick can muster. There is literally nothing sacred.

Why this repertoire and why now? The current political climate has had dire consequences for the pleasures of satire at a cultural moment when we have never needed it more. It turns out that the proverbial Dark Ages had a lighter side; and France's over 200 rollicking, frolicking, singing, and dancing comedies—more extant than in any other vernacular—have waited long enough for their moment in the spotlight. They are seriously funny: funny enough to reclaim their place in cultural history, and serious enough to participate in the larger conversation about what it means to be a social influencer, then and now. Rather than relegate medieval texts to the dustbin of history, an unabashedly feminist translation can reframe and reject the sexism of bygone days by doing what theater always invites us to do: interpret, inflect, and adapt."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

Ikone der Heiligen Eudokia, Einlegearbeit in Stein und Elfenbein, 10. Jh.Indexers select a translation each month that is significant in the ideas it presents.  This gives users an opportunity to see a range of newly translated medieval works of importance for women's and gender studies.  It also will build an archive of references to translations that will be useful as classroom readings.

Depending upon the content, an entire work may be indexed as a single title like the vita of a saint or the collected cartularies of a countess.  But in many cases the translation deals only in part with issues involving women and gender.  In those instances, indexing goes to a deeper level, identifying and describing specific sections within a text.  For example, there are 93 records for pertinent sections in the Siete Partidas.

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There are currently over 1800 records for translations in Feminae.  There are also over 300 records for editions in original languages.

Feminae welcomes unpublished translations and editions that authors may wish to make available.