Ovid and Chaucer: Metamorphoses and Metapoetry in Translation

Académique ou spécialiste
22.11.2021 17:15 - 19:00

Ovid and Chaucer: Metamorphoses and Metapoetry in Translation
Dr Juliette Vuille
While Chaucer was notoriously resistant to the process of allegoresis which led to so many medieval
reinterpretations of Ovid’s works, I will argue in this paper that his interest in the Roman poet lay
most pointedly in the metapoetic aspect of Ovid’s writings, that is to say Ovid’s way of writing poetry
about writing poetry. Chaucer was particularly tickled when Ovid reflected through the poetic form
on the instability of the auctor and auctoritas constructs as well as the problem of art to transmit
meaning accurately. I will posit that Chaucer recognised in Ovid’s works the use of metamorphosis to reflect on the process
of poetic inventio as a transformation of reality, but also of his sources, into a new literary product. In
Chaucer, the metapoetic metamorphosis is perfected and goes underground, on a textual rather than
a physical level, being deployed by the vernacular author to reflect on poetic inventio, but also, and
most importantly, to think about the process of transmission through translation. After a short discussion of Ovid's own metapoetic reflection through metamorphosis, I shall discuss
two of Chaucer’s Ovidian passages in which I feel the translation process is influenced by his
predecessor's engagement with metapoetics: The ekphrastic representation of the Dido and Aeneas
story at the beginning of the House of Fame, and the Ceys and Alcyone episode that introduces
the Book of the Duchess.
22.11.2021 17:15 - 19:00
Site MIS 11 / Salle Salle Laure Dupraz
Rue de l'Hôpital 4, 1700 Fribourg
Institut d'études médiévales
Juliette Vuille