A Companion to Medieval Translation 9781641891844

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A Companion to Medieval Translation
 9781641891844

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A COMPANION TO MEDIEVAL TRANSLATION

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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library © 2019, Arc Humanities Press, Leeds

The authors assert their moral right to be identified as the authors of their part of this work. Permission to use brief excerpts from this work in scholarly and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is an exception or limitation covered by Article 5 of the European Union’s Copyright Directive (2001/​29/​EC) or would be determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94–​553) does not require the Publisher’s permission.

ISBN: 9781641891837 e-​ISBN: 9781641891844 www.arc-​humanities.org Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY

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CONTENTS

Acknowledgements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 JEANETTE BEER

Chapter 1. The European Psalms in Translation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 M. J. TOSWELL Chapter 2. The Old French Bible. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 CLIVE R. SNEDDON Chapter 3. Middle English Religious Translation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 IAN JOHNSON Chapter 4. Bible Translation and Controversy in Late Medieval England. . . . . . . 51 HENRY ANSGAR KELLY Chapter 5. Medieval Convent Drama: Translating Scripture and Transforming the Liturgy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 MATTHEW CHEUNG-​SALISBURY, ELISABETH DUTTON, and OLIVIA ROBINSON Chapter 6. Translating Romance in Medieval Norway: Marie de France and Strengleikar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 ERIN MICHELLE GOERES Chapter 7. Christine de Pizan, Translator and Translation Critic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 JEANETTE PATTERSON Chapter 8. Translation, Authority, and the Valorization of the Vernacular. . . . . . 97 THOMAS HINTON

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Chapter 9. Vernacular Translation in Medieval Italy: volgarizzamento. . . . . . . 107 ALISON CORNISH Chapter 10. Dante and Translation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 CHRISTOPHER KLEINHENZ Chapter 11. Chaucer and Translation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 MARILYN CORRIE Chapter 12. Alchemy and Translation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 EOIN BENTICK Chapter 13. Scientific Translation: A Modern Editor’s Perspective. . . . . . . . . . . 153 ANTHONY HUNT Chapter 14. Modern Theoretical Approaches to Medieval Translation. . . . . . . 165 MICHELLE R. WARREN Chapter 15. Observations on Translation by a Thirteenth-​Century Maître: Li Fet des Romains. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175 JEANETTE BEER Epilogue. Observations on Translation by the Oxford Professor of Poetry: Pearl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 SIMON ARMITAGE General Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 Appendix. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many people have contributed to this volume. The Taylor Institution Library in Oxford has been unfailingly helpful. Lady Margaret Hall and St. Hilda’s College, Oxford welcome me each term as a senior member. The Manciple of All Souls College, Oxford, Paul Gardner, facilitates my transatlantic commute by allowing me to stay in an All Souls College residence. The Medieval Seminar of Columbia University provides a collegial context to share research, and Columbia University Seminars have awarded me a Leonard Schoff Publication Award for two of my books. Ann Watkins, Research Librarian at Rutgers University Library, has located difficult sources

and given assistance during the final stage of manuscript preparation. Carol Sweetenham has worked with me in the early stages of the project. The Rev. Allan Doig, Canon Brian Mountford, Karen Pratt, Ian Short, and Roger Wright have provided informed answers to my research queries. Thanks are due finally to Simon Forde; to Simon Armitage for agreeing to be part of the volume, to Faber and Faber Ltd and to W. W. Norton and Company for granting permission to reprint Simon’s material; and to the authors who have contributed to the Companion to Medieval Translation.

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INTRODUCTION JEANETTE BEER

Translation was never more vital than in the Middle Ages. By its agency learning was shared (translatio studii) and power was legitimized (translatio imperii). Its heterogeneous products ranged from carefully worded legal contracts to creative literary transformations. It transmitted knowledge across time and across cultures, and enabled the medieval centuries to adopt pre-​existing models of excellence in order to create a new modern. It was an exciting time when whole worlds awaited (re)discovery and—​ to use Jerome’s word—​ “conquest.” Translation bridged the gap between past and present, but the legitimization of imperium and the transfer of culture were lofty abstractions in comparison with translation’s daily agenda in an age which as a whole was, according to Michel Zink, one vast translation enterprise: “Le Moyen Age tout entier est une vaste entreprise de traduction.”1 The exact date, or century, when Latin and Romance were perceived to be separate entities remains a subject for debate.2 Some landmark pronouncements from the Church are significant. As part of his programmatic vision to integrate Christian faith into his Frankish realm, Charlemagne stipulated in his Admonitio generalis (AD 789) that all priests (not only the episcopate) should study to fulfil their homiletic responsibilities toward their unlettered congregations. Further impetus to this initiative was provided by the Church’s Reform Councils of AD 813. To address the Church’s function to service an unlettered public, three of those councils recommended that the vernacular be used in sermons to lay parishioners. The directive from the Council of Tours was the most specific, urging: “ut easdem omelias quisque aperte transferre studeat 1  Zink, Preface to Galderisi, Translations médiévales, vol. 1, p. 9.

2  Roger Wright provides a socio-​linguistic approach to the development of the Romance languages in Ledgeway and Maiden, Oxford Guide, chap. 2.

in rusticam romanam linguam aut thiotiscam quo facilius cuncti possint intellegere quae dicuntur” (that everyone work to transfer those same homilies transparently into the rustic Roman(ce) or German tongue in order that all may more easily understand what is being said). Congregations must be instructed in a language they could understand. The need for translation generated a variety of texts to make legal, administrative, commercial, scientific, or medical material comprehensible; to gloss; and to provide devotional material for a lay congregation. Very few of these survived at first because Latin was the language of official record. The first surviving piece of French is “The Strasbourg Oaths,” named for the place where they were sworn. These oaths, variants of a formulaic sacramentum firmitatis and sacramentum fidelitatis, are preserved in the third book of a Latin history, Nithard’s Historiae de dissensionibus filiorum Ludovici Pii (Histories of the Dissensions of the Sons of Louis the Pious), written by Nithard in AD 842. They are written in what Nithard calls “lingua romana” (the “romance”/​“French” language) and “lingua teudisca” (the “German” language). Nithard’s quotation of them was unprecedented. In his century vernacular documents were peripheral aids, routinely lost or destroyed when their function was fulfilled. Latin was the language of record. The first of the Strasbourg Oaths was pledged by Louis the German to solemnize his alliance with his younger brother, Charles the Bald, against their older brother Lothair. Louis’s oath was pledged in French for the benefit of the French army, who then in French pledged the army’s support to Louis, even if their overlord Charles infringed the agreement. German versions of the same pledges were sworn by Charles and by the German army. Because the Strasbourg Oaths were official oaths prepared in a royal chancery, their preparation necessarily involved several stages. An initial draft of the documents would have

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been compiled in Latin, couched in carefully chosen phrases from a chancery formulary. When a composite of the relevant formulae was completed, the overall content would require approval not only within the chancery but also from the royal leaders or their political representatives. Since vernacular versions of the oaths were required, the Latin text would then be translated into “French” and “German” by the trilingual scribes of the royal chancery. Nithard as the royal historian had access to the chancery at all times and would presumably have used the drafts/​documents before presenting them as a verbatim record. (It is inconceivable that he would have transcribed them during the actual pledging.) Prepared in a royal chancery, polished by a royal historian, then preserved in an official history of the royal family’s dissensions, the Oaths present many challenges linguistically and otherwise, and Nithard’s motivation in preserving them remains unclear. Perhaps their preservation would ensure that in a decade of constant pledging and counter-​pledging these particular commitments would be remembered. But by the time he reached the third book of his Historiae, Nithard (the illegitimate son of Charlemagne’s daughter Berthe and the poet Angilbert) was patently disgusted by his duties toward his young overlord. Impatient with the squabbles of his royal half-​brothers, his attitude had soured into real distaste, and he regarded the disintegration of his/​ their grandfather’s empire as a sad disgrace. One wonders even whether he regarded the Oaths as graphic symbols of a new Tower of Babel! A twentieth-​century linguist’s description of the Historiae as “the oldest monument extant affirming the use of the French popular language” with the intent to further “the progressive emancipation of the French language”3 is anachronistically ridiculous. Nithard was a scholar who looked back with nostalgia to his grandfather Charlemagne’s empire; he did not include the Strasbourg Oaths in his sardonic, disillusioned Historiae to further the cause of vernacular translation. The Oaths were the only vernacular work to be preserved in a Latin history. (Caedmon’s Hymn in Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum might be mentioned also, although it is not clear whether the Anglo-​Saxon prose text copied alongside the Latin in four manuscripts is actually original.)4 Other early survivals were the Picardy eighth-​century Reichenau Glosses, numbering around 1,200. They were

compiled as translation aids in order to make the Vulgate more accessible by supplying (proto-​)French and Germanic equivalents for the Vulgate’s Latin. In the same century Arbeo, bishop of Freising, was responsible (ca. 780) for the preparation of an Old High German glossary now known as Abrogans which is the first word on a list of German equivalents for Latin words and phrases in the bishop’s sermons.5 Abrogans is the oldest extant book in the German language. Another early piece of ecclesiastical translation from Latin into the vernacular (the second earliest piece of French after the Strasbourg Oaths) is Eulalia. In the Middle Ages parts of the liturgy were often embellished with vernacular expansions, sometimes with pre-​existing music. The Eulalia sequence—​“sequence” was originally a musical term—​is a decasyllabic melisma upon the last syllable of the Alleluia, and is the first such vernacular expansion extant. It was composed at the Abbey of St. Amand-​les-​Eaux, one of the main centres of scholarship in the late ninth century, to celebrate the discovery of the young saint’s bones at Barcelona in 878. It survives in a single manuscript, Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale 143, and its orthography was apparently designed to specify vernacular production in performance by a choir at least some of whose members were German-​speaking. (It has been suggested that Hucbald, choirmaster and author of the musical treatise Harmonica Institutio, may have composed it.)6 In Europe other parts of the Mass also—​ the Introit, Kyrie, and Gloria, for example—​were frequently troped. The earliest of these originated in France, especially Limoges, but several compositions by Notker Balbulus, Tutilo, and other monks from St. Gall survive, as well as early examples from Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and northern England. As long as these tropes were attached to the Mass, they were lyrical embellishments. When, in the tenth century, however, they were transferred to the early morning service of Matins, the dramatic potential of such dialogues as the Easter Interrogatio “Quem quaeritis in sepulchro, Christocolae?”/​ Responsio “Iesum Nazarenum crucifixum, o caelicolae” was realized. The dialogue was sung by choirs and cantors who impersonated the Marys and the angel, obeying stage-​directions in the manuscripts which prescribed their costumes, manner of delivery, and stage-​props. When these tropes employed the vernacular, as did Eulalia, they exemplify translation in its

3  Rohlfs, From Vulgar Latin, p. 69.

6  See Wright, Late Latin and Early Romance in Spain and Carolingian France, pp. 129–​35.

4  Frantzen, Desire for Origins, pp. 135–​36, 145–​47, and 165–​66.

5  St. Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. 911.

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richest sense, encompassing not only linguistic but also musical and dramatic re-​presentation. Another early survival is a fragment of parchment, “The Valenciennes Fragment,”7 containing bilingual notes for a sermon about Jonah from the first half of the tenth century. It survived by serendipity because its single folio was trimmed vertically and horizontally to serve as binding for an unrelated Latin manuscript. Mutilation, deterioration, and its Tironian shorthand have made the text exceptionally difficult to decipher. Obviously its jottings were intended for private use and not for preservation. Underlinings, corrections, and abbreviations which are often personal rather than standard add to its complexity. Moreover, the Jonah sermon was not from an authorized homiliary. A “sermon de circonstance,” it contains Scriptural material, commentary (from St. Jerome), and a poignant exhortation that the congregation unite with prayers, penitence, and alms to plead for God’s protection from pagans and bad Christians: “de paganis e de mals christianis.” The threat is spelled out even more urgently and specifically when the congregation is urged to “pray to Him for deliverance from the heathen who has done us so much harm”: “preiest li qe de cest pagano nos liberat chi tanta mala nos hab[uit]fait.”8 In its century, the Valenciennes Fragment was valued only for the parchment on which it was written. Now the very unpretentiousness of this sermon in the raw makes it invaluable as a record of early Church practices. Its bilingual jottings provide a unique glimpse of the translation process in action when a Latin homily is converted into an early vernacular. Early pieces of translation often owed their survival to similarly extraordinary circumstances. The Valenciennes Fragment was valued only as a piece of parchment to bind a Latin manuscript together. The so-​ called Springmount Tablets, six wooden tablets with the Psalms inscribed on their wax surface, were found in a bog in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim in 1914. They date from the seventh or early eighth century. The Cuthbert Gospel of St. John was discovered alongside the body of St. Cuthbert (d. 698) when the saint’s tomb was opened in 1104 to translate the saint behind the high altar. It had travelled in the tomb during the translation 7  Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale 521. For further details on the Strasbourg Oaths and the Jonah fragment, see Beer, Early Prose in France, pp. 30–31 and pp. 41–49. 8  Beer, Early Prose in France, p. 48, lines 212–​13. For further textual detail on the Strasbourg Oaths and the Jonah Fragment, see Beer, Early Prose in France, pp. 15–​64.

Introduction

of the saint’s body from its first burial on Lindisfarne to its final resting-​place in Durham—​his community fled the Danes, traversed the north of England for eight years, settled in Chester-​le-​Street, then moved again a century later when the monks fled to Ripon, then to Durham.9 In later centuries, the Gospel escaped the despoilings of the Reformation, changed hands several times in later centuries, and was eventually bought in 1911 by the British Library, aided by various funds and foundations. The unpretentious leather-​bound copy of St. John’s Gospel in seventh-​century uncial script is the oldest book in the West to survive in its original binding, and in 1911 was the second most expensive book ever sold.10 The fortuitousness of these survivals is a reminder of how much early translation into the vernacular has been lost. A recent survey of translations from the French Middle Ages provides concrete information about all early pieces of translation that are extant in France.11 An overwhelming majority of early texts provided devotional material for lay congregations, and half of the entire corpus consists of hagiographic or religious texts, reflecting the pastoral and instructional role of translation throughout the Middle Ages. Other significant statistical patterns emerge. There is, not surprisingly, a quantitative difference between the earlier and later centuries: a total of ca. 100 translations from the eleventh and especially the twelfth centuries increases to ca. 2,600 in the thirteenth and, most especially, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Translations from Latin (including Latin translations of Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew sources) dominate. “Horizontal” translations from other medieval languages are relatively few: ca. fifty from Italian, ca. fifty from Iberian, five or six from Saxon and Germanic sources, and ca. ten from Arabic. Surveys of extant medieval translations elsewhere have not been done, but similar trends would presumably be apparent. When translation into the vernacular extended beyond immediately pragmatic contexts, literalism was of less importance. Without the necessity to transmit faithfully an authoritative text, whether biblical or legal, translators could cater to their prospective audience, blending imitation with innovation and using their sources freely to break with antiquity while using it as a model. Interpretive translation

9  For details of St. Cuthbert’s translation, see Doig, “Sacred Journeys/​ Sacred Spaces.”

10  The British Library bought it for nine million pounds. See Burghart, “Saved in Translation.” 11  Galderisi, Translations médiévales.

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was a fundamental strategy in medieval composition.12 Translation then became appropriation, succession, and re-​ creation. When formal and structural equivalence between source and translation was subordinated to appropriateness and appeal, treatises could become poetry, epics could become romance, and sermons could become drama—​ or vice versa. In the trilingual context of post-​Conquest England Marie de France translated/​ adapted the lais of Breton jongleurs, antiquity’s fables, and Latin saints’ lives for her late-​twelfth-​century French/​English audience—​the French lai was probably her creation. Her transformations of Breton material into love adventures in French octosyllabic rhyming couplets established the popularity of the new genre which was translated into several languages, most notably Middle English, Middle High German, and Old Norse. The most influential product of creative translatio was the roman, medieval translation’s lasting gift to European literature. Like a fossilized resin that traps and preserves in itself the early stage of an evolutionary life-​form, the French word for the genre—​“roman”—​and the English word “romance” embody the translation process metre en roman. The roman originated in the Latin word “Romanus” (Roman). With the shift from the Latin language into Romance, “parabolare romanice” (to speak in Roman fashion, i.e., in the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire) came to designate Romance speech; then by metonymic transfer to Romance’s written products; and finally to the most popular product that resulted from the process of putting Latin into Romance, namely the roman. Crystallizing the translative process within its name, the roman represents translation at its most creative, translatio as inventio. Early examples were the Roman de Thèbes (ca. 1150), which freely adapted Statius’s Thebaïs; the Enéas which rendered Virgil’s Aeneid selectively; and Benoît de Ste-​Maure’s Roman de Troie (ca. 1155), which retold the Trojan War from various sources without recourse to Homer’s original. The genre climaxed in the Roman de la Rose, one of the most well-​known works in medieval vernacular literature. Its author Guillaume de Lorris introduced the work by citing “un auctor qui ot non Macrobes” (an author called Macrobius) to validate the “senefiance” (meaningfulness) of dream visions, claiming that in his Roman de la Rose “l’art d’Amors est tote enclose”13 (the Art of Love is here contained in its entirety), an obvious reference to Ovid’s 12  For translatio as interpretatio, see Kelly, “The Fidus interpres,” pp.  47–​58.

13  Guillaume de Lorris, Le Roman de la rose, ed. Lecoy, vol. 1, lines 7, 37–​39.

Ars amatoria. However Guillaume’s homage to the ancients was immediately followed by the claim that “La matire est et bone et nueve” (The subject-​matter is both good and new), explicitly recognizing the creative aspects of translatio. For Guillaume translatio was inventio. His continuator Jean de Meun used many more classical sources, this time with scholastic intent, citing auctores then disengaging himself from them in controversial contexts, and using translation as a cover: “je n’i faz riens fors reciter”14 (I’m only quoting other people’s words on the subject [here, women’s foolish ways]). Widely read, Le Roman de le rose was translated into many languages and enjoyed a rich after-​life, provoking firestorms and inspiring disparate reworkings. Its manuscript tradition was rich, and continues to yield new information about translation, reception, and transmission. Such creative renaissances were abundant throughout the Middle Ages. The Companion to Medieval Translation treats highlights of medieval translation from its most literal to its most creative. Here is a preview of the chapters.

Preview

N.B. All English translations of foreign quotations are the authors’ own unless designated otherwise. Each chapter provides its own bibliography. The principal vernaculars treated in the volume are Latin, French, Anglo-​ Norman, Italian, English, Old Norse, German, Arabic, and Hebrew.15 The range and approach of the chapters is broad, covering religious, especially biblical, material (chap. 1 to 5 and materials in chap. 7 and 10); medieval romance (chap. 6); science (chap. 12 and 13); selected individual translators: Marie de France (chap. 6), Chaucer (chap. 11), Christine de Pizan (chap. 7), and Dante (chap. 10); individual translators’ personal observations on their translation, medieval and modern (chap. 15 and 16); post-​ medieval translation (chap. 14, 16, and elements of chap. 1, 3, and 5); and discussion of theoretical underpinnings (chap. 8, 14, and 15). Translation may be treated in different ways: as performance, for example, or as re-​performance and reinterpretation through illustration, or as rhetoric—​ classical theories of rhetoric underpin some chapters, modern theoretical models inform others. Readers may also find occasional differences 14  Jean de Meun, ed. Lecoy, vol. 2, line 15204.

15  More extensive information on the Hebrew Bible may be found in Lewis Glinert’s 2017 The Story of Hebrew, reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement by Robert Alter.

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of opinion:  concerning the date of the first complete translation of the Bible; the treatment of the Middle English Bible (orthodox or radically revisionist?); and the authorship of the Fiore (Dante or another?). The following summaries may be helpful. Chapter 1, M. J. Toswell’s “The European Psalms in Translation,” outlines the history of psalm translation across Europe. Long before the Bible functioned as a single unit, individual parts of it—​the Pentateuch (Hebrew Torah), the Psalms, the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles—​functioned independently. Psalters were used for instruction and for institutional/​personal devotion. Adopting two fifth-​century quotations from Cassiodorus to structure her tripartite chapter, Toswell demonstrates how in different times and places medieval translation of the Psalms served pedagogy; personal engagement and devotion to God; and communal devotion. Inherently a bilingual and sometimes a trilingual text, the Christian Psalms functioned variously throughout medieval Europe, shifting back and forth from the sacred Latin to the serviceable vernacular, and developing differently according in differing linguistic situations and manners of engagement. Chapter 2, Clive R. Sneddon’s “The Old French Bible,” outlines the evolution of biblical translation in France. The Bible was—​and is—​is the only major sacred book to be read almost exclusively in translation, but “Bible” needs definition because medieval conceptions of it were different from our own. The word “bible,” from the Greek stem biblion (book) and cognate with bibliotheca (library), originally meant a collection of books before the word shifted into the Christian/​ religious domain. This older sense of a general collection of books survived through Latin into Romance, and was still found occasionally in thirteenth-​century France. Scriptural translation began with the translation of individual biblical parts, then moved to the translation of the entire Bible in the thirteenth century. Biblical translations in France took many forms including verse adaptations in the late twelfth century and prose versions in the mid-​thirteenth century. The Old French Bible was first identified and described by Samuel Berger in the late nineteenth century, and the criteria for dating it have remained virtually unchanged since then. It cannot have been composed later than its oldest extant manuscript, dated ca. 1260, and a reasonable suggested date for its translation is ca. 1220–​1250. Other details, for example its patrons and its translators, are less clear. Sneddon lists the primary sources for the Old French Bible, which survived because it was the first complete Bible translation. Its revival

Introduction

in the fifteenth century demonstrates that its particular mix of framework commentary and translation still appealed to an interested public. Chapter 3, Ian Johnson’s “Middle English Religious Translation,” surveys the repertoire of religious translators, examines their attitudes and procedures, and provides samples of a representative range of texts. Working from Joannes Januensis’s definition of translation in the authoritative dictionary of the time, the Catholicon, Johnson shows that for them to “translate” was to convey meaning and therefore involved not only linguistic transfer but also interpretative elaboration. Although not auctores, the translators’ textual powers were substantial. As compilers, they could select, combine, re-​ order, juxtapose, and suppress material. As commentators, they could adjudicate the sententia of source-​ material, mediating authoritative textuality. And as preachers, they could use the vernacular to expound Christian teaching and scriptural textuality. Orm’s Ormulum (ca. 1180) is an English rendering of Latin for a non-​ anglophone French speaker with a French audience, an unusual product from the marginalized native culture of post-​Conquest Norman England. Richard Rolle’s 1340s commentary-​translation of the Psalter conveys both the literal sense of the Vulgate and its sententia, which Rolle expounds allegorically, historically, and anagogically. The Oxford-​based Wycliffite Bible, the most ambitious medieval English religious translation, was produced in the 1370s. It reflects the highest translation standards of its time and survives in more copies than any Middle English text. The “Early Version” is a clause-​by-​clause rendering of the Latinate syntax while the “Later Version” is more idiomatic and reads more fluently. The prologue to the Later Version contains the most complete statement extant in English on the philosophy and pragmatics of late medieval vernacular translation. The Stanzaic Life of Christ, commissioned by a layman, was composed at much the same time as the Lollard Bible. Its immediate sources were Ranulph Higden’s Polychronicon and Jacobus de Voragine’s Legenda aurea. The poet quotes Latin authorities and translates them into English stanzas. Topics are divided, and labelled in the manner of a reference work. Nicholas Love, Carthusian prior of Mount Grace, translated the pseudo-​Bonaventuran Meditationes vitae Christi in his Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ (ca. 1410). It survives in more manuscripts than any other Middle English prose work except the Lollard Bible, was printed nine times before 1535, and was publicly mandated by the archbishop of Canterbury for the edification of the faithful. Hagiographic translators faced a less rigorous

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challenge than Scriptural translator/​interpreters. The East Anglian Augustinian canon Osbern Bokenham translated several female saints’ lives into verse from the Legenda aurea for the edification of various named gentlewomen in his mid-​ fifteenth-​century Legendys of Hooly Women. He prefaces his life of St. Margaret with a prologue that combines Aristotelian structuring with chatty autobiographical comment in what Johnson describes as “an endearing hybrid of scholastic discourse and gossipy piety.” Chapter 4, Henry Ansgar Kelly’s “Bible Translation and Controversy in Late Medieval England,” treats controversies concerning biblical translation in a period in England when many biblical adaptations and translations, including the fourteenth-​century translation of the whole Bible into English, were made. Kelly details the various contemporary opinions concerning the Englishing of the Bible; the debates about the advisability of translating Scripture into the vernacular which continued long after the two versions of the Middle English Bible were completed; and the often selective copying of the Middle English Bible. Controversial itself, the chapter argues boldly that the case for Wycliffite content, origins, or reception of the Middle Engish Bible has not been made. It is perhaps not surprising that the Middle English Bible, the most popular work of the English Middle Ages, continues to inspire passionate debate.16 Chapter 5, “Medieval Convent Drama: Translating Scrip­ ture and Transforming the Liturgy,” jointly written by Matthew Cheung-​ Salisbury, Elisabeth Dutton, and Olivia Robinson, examines two manuscripts that translate Scriptural and liturgical material for dramatic presentation in a convent. The two manuscripts examined are Chantilly, Musée Condé MS 617, a late fifteenth-​century play manuscript copied in the Carmelite convent of the Dames Blanches at Huy (in modern Belgium), and a later version in which the material is rearranged and adapted in an early seventeenth-​century manuscript in the convent archive: Liège, Archives de l’Etat, Fonds Dames Blanches de Huy, Chantilly, Musée Condé MS 386bis. The manuscript contains five plays, two of which translate Scriptural narrative into vernacular French. The first begins with a prologue declaring that the performance is to honour the Virgin Mary, then moves to Joseph, Mary, and the Nativity material, the visits of the shepherds—​and shepherdesses!—​ and the Magi. The second contains Herod’s plan to slaughter 16  For a different perspective on the Middle English Bible, see Chapter 3. Also Solopova, Manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible and The Wycliffite Bible.

the Innocents, Herod’s revenge on the three kings, and the visit of St. Anne, Mary Salomé, and Mary Jacob to the Holy Family, and the Purification. The non-​Scriptural interpolations, which add shepherdesses and surround the infant Christ with his female line of his mother, her two sisters, and his grandmother, are presumably adjustments to adapt the material to a convent audience. The scribe of Chantilly, Musée Condé MS 617, Sister Katherine Bourlet, was a nun, as was her sister Ydon, and their mother is listed as a donor and friend in the convent’s existing Obituary. Thus their convent provides concrete evidence of the ways in which medieval women made important contributions to translation through their various roles as listeners, readers, recipients, benefactors, writers, and even scribes and actors. The later Liège manuscript contains a single play, and brings modifications and adaptations, among them an expanded prologue addressing the Prioress and female audience, and the addition of a female-​voiced prophecy from the Sibyl. The chapter examines textual examples of the ways in which translation operates on three levels in the context of a medieval convent: a) in the translation from Latin to the vernacular and in the translation of biblical stories from page to stage; b) in the translation of the liturgy, which is both glossed and incorporated into the dramatic action; and c) in the translation of the plays themselves from one specific context to different times, places, and spaces. Chapter 6 moves away from religious/​devotional translation with Erin Michelle Goeres’s “Translating Romance in Medieval Norway.” This chapter illustrates how cultural difference brings about transformative change when a medieval translator, cognizant of the cultural climate in which he intends to launch his work, reconstitutes his source-​material to ensure its appropriate reception by a new audience. King Hákon, king of Norway from 1217 to 1263, was the translator’s patron, and the king’s interest in European culture determined the international focus of Hákon’s whole reign. Courtly literature was one of the many foreign products the king desired and promoted. There were distinctive differences between the twelfth-​ century Anglo-​Norman context in which, unbidden, Marie de France dedicated her translations of Breton lais to Henry II of England, and the elite masculine context of King Hákon’s court in thirteenth-​century Norway where heroic sagas and other Scandinavian forms of narrative had dominated. Writing in the first-​person singular, Marie presents her translations as a private intellectual endeavor. The Old Norse narrator depicts the act of translation as stemming directly from the Norwegian King Hákon himself.

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He uses the plural “we,” preferring to emphasize the communal nature of Strengleikar. The aims of Strengleikar are public: to educate and to entertain. The new prologue, although rendering Marie’s fairly closely, depersonalizes the woman’s voice and indicates the new directions that will characterize the Old Norse prose translation, including a list of musical instruments on which his translated texts will be performed. Chapter 7, Jeanette Patterson’s “Christine de Pizan, Translator and Translation Critic,” examines translation as seen in the works of the extraordinarily influential Christine de Pizan (1364–​ca.1430), author, translator, royal advisor, and public intellectual. Christine, hyper-​conscious that she was a female reader of learned works in a predominantly masculine learned culture, read translations critically for their biases and agendas. Sparking the “Querelle de la Rose,” she attacked the Roman de la rose for promoting Ovid’s Ars amatoria, a work she claimed was inappropriately named an art of love, and exposed Jean de Meun’s misogynistic use of the auctores. In the Rose debate, in the Livre de la Cité des dames, and in various other works defending women, Christine argued that the clerical tradition falsified source texts when transmitting Latin culture through misleading translations, misogynistic glosses, and the disingenuous use of quotations. Critical of such translations and of vernacular citations that failed to transmit Latin learning reliably and ethically, she regarded translation as a force for good, however, and lauded Charles V for his efforts to promote translatio studii and bring Latin learning to lay readers. Her own deployment of translation was multi-​faceted: direct translation coexists with paraphrase, compilation, and commentary. Patterson provides examples of the various strategies by which Christine critiques her sources, then focuses upon Christine’s translation of Proverbs 31:10–​31 in Book I, Chapter 44 of the Livre de la Cité des dames (1405). Christine’s feminized rewriting of Augustine’s De civitate Dei drew inspiration and examples from Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris and many other sources, transforming material intended for a masculine Latin-​reading culture to serve a readership of laywomen reading in the vernacular. Without explicitly attacking previous translations and interpretations, Christine counters their misognyny by decontextualizing the source to provide an updated portrait of a praiseworthy woman and of “femenins ouvraiges” (female works). Chapter 8, Thomas Hinton’s “Translation, Authority, and the Valorization of the Vernacular,” discusses the conceptualization of vernacularity and diglossia in the Middle Ages, selecting textual examples from across medieval Europe to

Introduction

illustrate the changing relationship between Latin authority and vernacular textuality over several medieval centuries. Hinton begins with Occitan poetry because of its early international prestige in the twelfth century and beyond. The earliest known Occitan grammatical text, Raimon Vidal’s Razos de trobar dated between 1190 and 1213, attempts to introduce a grammatical standard for correct composition, and in the same century Jofre of Foixà in the prologue to his Regles de trobar presents lyric composition as a craft to be taught alongside the Latin artes poetriae and artes dictaminis. Several adaptations and imitations associated with either Catalunya or Italy followed in the thirteenth century. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 provided an impetus for vernacular translation in order to improve communication between the Church and its flock. Pierre d’Abernon’s Lumiere as lais, completed in 1267, a vernacularized theological encyclopedia derived from the Elucidarium, and Rauf de Lenham’s Kalender (1256) sought to transmit knowledge to a wider community, using French as a suitable vehicle because it was “comprehensible to all.” The monk Gautier de Coinci opted for French to compile his Miracles de Nostre Dame (ca. 1214–​1233) because without translation the fifty-​ eight miracles and eighteen songs of devotion to the Virgin Mary would have been inaccessible to the lay community. Thus, while redirecting the vernacular’s authority on the subject of secular love toward the sacred, he simultaneously subverted Latin’s authority by demonstrating that Marian devotion could find fitting expression in French. Works by Henri de Crissey, Giles of Rome, and Dante challenged Latin’s centrality. Royal patronage, especially during the reign of Charles V, encouraged the translation of scores of scientific and theological from Latin into the vernacular, and Nicole Oresme proudly asserted the value of his translational activity as a contribution to the future development of French as a vehicle for cultural expression. The linguistic situation in medieval Britain was more complex, with Flemish, Danish, and the Celtic languages present in certain geographic areas, while French, English, and Latin were in widespread use as the languages of culture and of record. French in England was an established alternative to Latin by the fourteenth century, as the Oxford Thomas Sampson’s instructions in the art of letter-​writing demonstrate. Nicole Bozon’s Contes moralisés (composed after 1320); an early fifteenth-​century copy of the thirteenth-​century Somme le Roi; and the fifteenth-​century Donait François, copied by the monk Richard Dove, all provide evidence of the crucial

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role of translation in the valorization of the vernaculars as languages of authority. Chapter 9, Alison Cornish’s “Vernacular Translation in Medieval Italy: volgarizzamento,” treats the vast vernacular literature that was produced in Italy to meet the needs of a non-​ clerical public. This corpus developed contemporaneously with Italian literature in the middle of the thirteenth century. An early example was the lyric translation of an Occitan canso by Folquet of Marseille, but most of the products were in expository prose. Notaries were daily translators, as were mendicant preachers, while merchants and bankers regularly kept register-​books and records. Tuscan was the dominant language of the surviving products, not through any deliberate policy promoting regional prestige but through the sheer volume of production and demand in that area. The most intensive period of volgarizzamento from French and Latin was between the middle of the thirteenth century to the middle of the fourteenth. It was not a movement to substitute Italian versions for the original sources: the transposition of texts from another vernacular, especially French, often introduced so many Gallicisms that the linguistic shift seemed minimal, as illustrated by the Franco-​Italian/​Franco-​Venetian language of “translated” chivalric romances. The instability of the target language in the first period of vernacular translation invited continual updating and modification, often producing multiple versions of the same text. This ongoing process of rewriting makes it difficult to identify which version of a translation should be considered the original. Dante, whose work might appear to be a volgarizzamento, disdained petty vulgarization, but his Commedia had a public that was already primed by the vernacularizations of classical, historical, encyclopedic, and moral texts in the second half of the thirteenth century. Chapter 10, Christopher Kleinhenz’s “Dante and Trans­ lation,” discusses the role of translation in the work of Dante who, although not renowned primarily as a translator, understood and exercised the power of translation to enrich all his compositions. Using Massimiliano Chienti’s taxonomy, Kleinhenz arranges his material under the headings of trasferimento (the simple act of moving one text [e.g., in Latin] into another [e.g., in Italian] without changes); traduzione parola-​per-​parola o uno-​a-​uno (a rendering of a text word by word, maintaining the identical word order); traduzione letterale o fedele (a literal and faithful version of a text that attempts to capture its original contextual meaning); traduzione modulate (a version of a text, in which Dante takes certain grammatical liberties similar to those

found in the medieval volgarizzamenti that employed the techniques of expolitio [saying the same thing with different words] and amplificatio [paraphrasing and expanding upon a text for rhetorical purposes]); traduzione libera (a rather loose version of a text that contains notable variations and departures from the original text); and traduzione di servizio (Dante’s rendering of his own Italian text into Latin in another of his works). Kleinhenz’s selected examples show how Dante added meaning and importance to his work by using well-​known sources to new purpose, and his comments on the allusiveness of Dante’s translation practices demonstrate the importance of broad contextual reading for the proper understanding of medieval texts. At the end of the chapter Kleinhenz addresses the Fiore, a thirteenth-​century Italian translation of the Roman de la rose that is sometimes attributed to Dante. He notes that in the ongoing dispute over its attribution thirteen other possible authors have been suggested in addition to Dante: Durante di Giovanni; Dante da Maiano; Brunetto Latini; Rustico Filippi; Lippo Pasci dei Bardi (or “Amico di Dante”); Dante degli Abati; Folgore da San Gimignano; Antonio Pucci; Guido Cavalcanti; Francesco da Barberino; Immanuel Romano; Cecco Angiolieri; and Guillaume Durand. Kleinhenz finds no strong argument for Dante’s authorship of this shortened verson of the Rose (3,248 lines in Italian sonnets compared to the 21,750 lines of the Old French text), although he recognizes that it is very different from the pedestrian, sentence-​by-​sentence prose volgarizzamenti of Latin and French works that circulated at the time. He notes that in De vulgari eloquentia, Dante relegated the sonnet (and the ballata) to the inferior ranks of poetry, but hypothesizes that the Fiore could have been an exercise or proving ground for a young poet such as Dante. While the Fiore remains an interesting and ambitious venture in Italian literary translation, it is not the sort of translation Dante practised in his other works, however. Chapter 11, Marilyn Corrie’s “Chaucer and Translation,” examines the role of translation in Chaucer’s work, from his acknowledged “translacion” to his multi-​faceted, sporadic use of a multitude of sources. Familiar with Latin texts from the time of his schooling onwards, and living and working in a context that brought him in constant contact with French-​and Italian-​speakers, Chaucer assumed the challenging task of using the English language for purposes it had not previously served, and experimented with poetic forms England had not previously enjoyed. Corrie illustrates the difficulties Chaucer confronted in his transposition of material from a Romance language into English with selected textual examples. Today

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Chaucer’s translation achievements tend to be overshadowed by his original compositions, but this is an anachronistic preference. One of his contemporaries, the French poet Eustache Deschamps, lauded Chaucer as “Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier” (Great translator, noble Geoffrey Chaucer), an accurate assessment of Chaucer’s significance as a translator in his own time. Chapter 12, Eoin Bentick’s “Alchemy and Translation,” outlines the transmission history of alchemy from third-​ century Egypt to fifteenth-​century England. This medieval science sought to transmute and transform base metals into gold, i.e., to “translate” in the fullest sense of the word. Paradoxically, however, the secrets of alchemy resisted translation. Inherited from foreign and ancient gods, alchemical knowledge needed to be guarded rigorously and revelation was in constant conflict with secrecy. In the first seven centuries of the Christian era, alchemical texts were primarily in Greek. The expansion of the Islamic Empire in the seventh and eighth centuries added alchemical translations from renowned Arabic philosophers to the large number of Greek scientific and philosophical texts by such authors as Aristotle, Galen, and Hippocrates. In the twelfth century this Arabic-​influenced alchemy entered the Latin West through programmes of translation, most notably the prolific translation school at Toledo. By the fifteenth century, the secrets of alchemy were being translated into the vernacular tongues in large numbers both by non-​alchemical writers (Jean de Meun, John Gower, Geoffrey Chaucer, and John Lydgate) and by explicitly alchemical poets (George Riley and Thomas Norton). Italy produced alchemical poems that were attributed to Dante and the Franciscan Frate Elia. In the fourteenth century there was alchemical material in Occitan, Czech, Dutch, and German. In the second part of the chapter, Bentick focuses upon Jean de la Fontaine’s La fontaine des amoureux de science (The Fountain of Lovers of Knowledge) (1413) and Thomas Norton’s Ordinal of Alchemy (1477), which explore in their different ways the incongruities between alchemy’s need to preserve its elite secrets and the fact that the authors are translating these secrets from the language of the intellectual elite into “the language of fools.” Chapter 13, Anthony Hunt’s “Scientific Translation:  A Modern Editor’s Perspective” outlines the history of scientific translation in medieval Europe beginning with the first great surge in the eleventh century after the ninth-​century Hellenization of Islam. In this immense field medicine dominates, followed by astrology, astronomy, and alchemy.

Introduction

There are treatises on divination (including geomancy), pharmacology, uroscopy, physiognomy, ophthalmology, mathematics, hippiatry, geometry, chiromancy, meteorology, botany, and even falconry. Some manuscripts, notably herbals and bestiaries, are elaborately illustrated. The contribution of Greek and Arabo-​ Latin science was immense in the Middle Ages and for almost four hundred years medical students in Europe studied from textbooks derived from Muslim authors writing in Arabic. Hunt details the contributions of medieval scientific translation, then discusses the difficulties presented by the complex material from an editorial perspective. Textual fluidity is common. Works are often without unitary authorship, and it is rare to be able to match a translation with an exact manuscript source. Other difficulties arise from the many different methods of transcribing Arabic into Latin in the Middle Age. Abbreviations were easily confused—​a twelfth-​century translator comments on the problems resulting from non-​ observance of diacritical points which may be omitted, misplaced, or confused with splashes of ink! Language difficulties abound. In Spain and in southern France, for example, Jewish scholars translated Arabic works into Hebrew or French, which might be transliterated into Hebrew characters. More extensive work is needed in the important area of medieval scientific writing. At a time when digitization of manuscripts is making sources more accessible, the number of skilled paleographers who can read them accurately is diminishing. Chapter 14, Michelle R. Warren’s “Modern Theoretical Approaches to Medieval Translation,” explores ways in which modern literary theory may provide insights into medieval European translations. Warren’s approach is not dogmatic—​ the acrid theory wars of the 1990s are long gone, and post-​ structuralism has lost its dominance. Noting that the codified discipline of translation studies remains oriented toward contemporary contexts, Warren avoids distinguishing between theoretical approaches that apply to medieval studies and those that do not. She reminds readers that medievalists have been engaging with modern theory for as long as there has been modern theory, and cites a recent collection of essays edited by Emma Campbell and Robert Mills as a recent product of such engagement. She discusses important theoretical moments or, as she calls them, “signposts”: Walter Benjamin’s 1923 essay “Die Aufgabe des Ubersetzers”; Derrida’s 1985 essay “Des Tours de Babel”; and Lawrence Venuti’s 1998 The Scandals of Translation: Toward an Ethic of Difference, and highlights polysystems theory, which

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reinforces some of Venuti’s conclusions concerning the politics of language and market value, an area where the historical and the modern literary canons do not always coincide and may even be in conflict. Polysystems theory pinpoints how changing communication technologies are influencing both linguistic and material transfers, and therefore the future of medieval studies. Her own published work is at the intersection of medieval and postcolonial studies, but Warren invites readers to move beyond the particularities of time, place, and language discussed in her chapter to inspire them to their own insights. Dialogue across domains fosters new synergies about translation studies, medieval studies, and comparative literature. Chapter 15, Jeanette Beer’s “Observations on Translation by a Thirteenth-​Century Maître: Li Fet des Romains,” examines assumptions about translation in the unexpectedly revealing explanations of the anonymous translator of Li Fet des Romains (also called La Vie Jules Cesar), the earliest extant work of ancient historiography and the first biography to be translated from Latin into a European vernacular. This massive translation/​compilation brings together all materials pertaining to Julius Caesar that were known in the early thirteenth century, and translates them into French. The translator comments from time to time as he proceeds, an unusual practice at the time but one that is invaluable now for the information it provides about the translator’s inherited literary assumptions as he bridges the divide between the Latin-​literate and “ces laies genz” (the illiterate). It is difficult to know whether the translator is ruminating aloud when he makes these comments—​which range from the translation of the auctores to contemporary politics—​or whether his remarks are intended as aids to fellow clercs or students who may want to follow his example. He does not identify the context from which he worked, although it was almost inevitably the University of Paris. His interpolated remarks about Paris, his geographic and political context, his sources and the occasional conflicts in their information, translative fidelity, and the rhetorical devices he favours, contribute greatly to our understanding of medieval translation (and other aspects of thirteenth-​century life). The epilogue, Simon Armitage’s “Observations on Translation by the Oxford Professor of Poetry: Pearl,” provides similarly personal comments on translation from a translator in our own century: Oxford University’s Professor of Poetry. Time and distance bring inevitable differences but, mutantis mutandis, translation remains as vital in the twenty-​first century as it was in the Middle Ages. We reprint Pearl’s preface

here as an epilogue by permission of Faber and Faber Ltd. and of W. W. Norton and Company. Pearl received the PEN Poetry Translation Prize in 2017. An appendix lists papers presented in annual Medieval Translation Theory and Practice sessions organized by Jeanette Beer for the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan from 1982 to 2017. This list is intended to suggest further research possibilities to readers who want to explore subjects that could not be covered in the present volume.

Historical Overview

Translation was as vital in the Middle Ages as it is today, but the different circumstances of medieval text production need to be recognized. Most crucial of all in the centuries before the invention of printing was textual mouvance. In the absence of definitive editions, medieval manuscripts were infinitely variable from the text itself to the size of the leaves, the inks, and the mise en page. Indeed, many apparently formal or ornamental features in medieval manuscripts—​ decorated initials, generous margins, punctuation marks, and glyphs—​were often as vital to legibility as the words themselves.17 Medieval contexts of bilingualism and trilingualism also were different from our own, as were translation’s prospective audiences. Authorities of state and church often involved themselves, separately and/​or together, in the business of translation as commissioner or translator (for example, Ptolemy Philadelphus, Charlemagne, Charles V, Alfonso X, Frederick II, Hákon I, and Hákon IV). At the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, Innocent III and the bishops of Christendom articulated a new vision of Christianity and of Christian society18 (although a recent study by Jeffrey Wayno suggests that the impact of the conciliar reform decrees depended upon their transmission, which was often problematic thanks to local traditions and poor communications).19 It is legitimate, indeed rewarding, to find modern/​ universal relevance in a medieval text, but the richest 17  See Wakelin, Designing English.

18  For the texts of the Lateran IV canons, see Constitutiones Concilii quarti Lateranensis una cum Commentariis glossatorum, ed. García y García, and for brief commentary and translations see Tanner, Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils. 19  Wayno, “Rethinking the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215.”

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appreciation of its literary allusiveness comes with broad contextual reading. Despite specific differences in time, place, and context, however, medieval and modern translators share the same spectrum of approaches, from precise word-​for-​ word literality to creative invention. The metonymic shift from “Roman” to roman embodied medieval translatio in all

Bibliography

Introduction

of its historic richness; later translation continues to exercise the same creative freedom, from Ezra Pound to Hollywood remodellers of the ancients. It is hoped that modern readers will more richly appreciate the similarities and the differences between medieval and modern translation practitioners through this Companion to Medieval Translation.

Alter, Robert. “Messianic Language.” Times Literary Supplement, May 18, 2019, p. 32. Beer, Jeanette. Early Prose in France. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1992. —​—​. In Their Own Words: Practices of Quotation in Early Medieval History-​Writing. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. Burghart, Alex. “Saved in Translation.” Times Literary Supplement, September 9, 2011, p. 15. Campbell, Emma, and Robert Mills, eds. Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory. Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012. Copeland, Rita. Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation: Academic Traditions and Vernacular Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Doig, Allan. “Sacred Journeys/​Sacred Spaces: The Cult of St. Cuthbert.” In Saints of North-​East England, edited by Margaret Coombe, Anne Mouron, and Christiania Whitehead, pp. 305–​25. Turnhout: Brepols, 2017. Frantzen, Allen J. Desire for Origins: New Language, Old English, and the Teaching of the Tradition. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990. Galderisi, Claudio, ed. Translations médiévales:  Cinq siècles de traductions en français au Moyen Age (XIe–​XVe siècles). 3 vols. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011. García y García, Claudio, ed. Constitutiones Concilii quarti Lateranensis una cum Commentariis glossatorum. Monumenta Iuris Canonnici. Ser. A: Corpus Glossatum 2. Vatican City, 1981. Glinert, Lewis. The Story of Hebrew. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017. Kelly, Douglas. “The ‘Fidus interpres’: Aid or Impediment to Medieval Translation and Translatio?” In Translation Theory and Practice in the Middle Ages, edited by Jeanette Beer, pp. 47–​58. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997. Lecoy, Felix. Le Roman de la rose. 3 vols. Paris: Champion, 1970. Ledgeway, Adam, and Martin Maiden, eds. Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Rohlfs, Gerhard. From Vulgar Latin to Old French. Translated by Vincent Almazan and Lilian McCarthy. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1970. Solopova, Elizabeth. Manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible in the Bodleian and Oxford College Libraries. Liverpool: Liverpool University Pres, 2016. —​—​. ed. The Wycllifite Bible: Origin, History and Interpretation. Leiden: Brill, 2017. Tanner, Norman P., ed. Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils. 2 vols. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1990. Wakelin, Daniel. Designing English. Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2018. Wayno, Jeffrey. “Rethinking the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215.” Speculum 93.3 (2018): 611–​37. Wright, Roger. Late Latin and Early Romance in Spain and Carolingian France. Liverpool: Francis Cairns, 1982. Jeanette Beer was born in New Zealand; has degrees from Victoria University, Oxford University, and Columbia University; is Professor Emerita of French, Purdue University, and a Senior Member of Lady Margaret Hall and of St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. She is the author of Villehardouin: Epic Historian (1968); A Medieval Caesar (1976); Medieval Fables: Marie de France (1981); Narrative Conventions of Truth in the Middle Ages (1981); Master Richard’s Bestiary of Love and Response (1986); Early Prose in France: Contexts of Bilingualism and Authority (1992); Beasts of Love: Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire d’amour and a Woman’s Response (2003); In Their Own Words: Quotation Practices in Early Medieval History-​Writing (2014); and eleven edited books (including three on medieval translation); and numerous articles and book-​chapters on medieval language and literature.

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1 THE EUROPEAN PSALMS IN TRANSLATION M. J. TOSWELL

In the exceedingly useful preface to his Expositio psalmorum, Cassiodorus follows Jerome in pointing out licet psalterium quartus codex sit auctoritatis diuinae, primum tamen tirones incohantes scripturas sanctas, inde legendi faciunt decenter initium.

(though the psalter is the fourth book authorised by God, it is fittingly the first with which novices begin when embarking on the holy Scriptures.)1

are, peculiarly, the words of the individual speaking from her or his own heart: Quicumque psalmi uerba recitat, quasi propria uerba decantat et tamquam a semetipso conscripta unus psallit et non tamquam alio dicente, aut de alio significante sumit et legit.

(Whoever recites the words of a psalm seems to be repeating his own words, to be singing in solitude words composed by himself; it does not seem to be another speaking or explaining what he takes up and reads.)2

The sixth-​century thinker discusses other important elements of the Psalms for the study and understanding of Christian doctrine, for deeper and more engaged devotion to God, for a true understanding of penitence, for beauty and sweetness when sung, for comprehension of the prophecy and wisdom of the Old Testament and especially of David, and for the instruction of the faithful as to the role of Jesus Christ. His study, Cassiodorus states humbly, is based entirely on the abundant and satisfying commentary of Augustine, with some new interpretations and a more concise approach. Thus this second major Christian commentary on the psalter emphasizes the role of the Psalms in teaching, emphasizes the many purposes of the Psalms in devotion and Christian engagement, and greatly emphasizes the way in which this approach is only slightly altered from earlier approaches, and really only does the same work, with very minor differences. Cassiodorus’s focus is on the continuity and the centrality of the Psalms in Christian devotion and thinking. The psalter is a fixed certainty, but one that each Christian must engage with individually and personally. Slightly earlier in the preface, Cassiodorus quotes Athanasius as suggesting that the Psalms

The psalter is a deeply personal book of the Bible, one that each individual Christian uses to offer words to God. In so doing, they reflect the words of Christ on the cross, who according to the evangelists (Matt. 27:46, Mark 14:62, Luke 22:69, John 19:24) used psalm verses to speak to or of God during his passio. The tradition of using the psalms to speak to God became the offices of the day, prayed by individual Christians throughout the Middle Ages. That daily prayer, the offices, is both an individual and a communal endeavour: both the clerisy and the laity sang the Psalms in Christian devotion. By the end of the Middle Ages, they often seem to have done so in translation, and particularly in poetic translation. The metrical psalters still in use today have their origins in late medieval metrical engagements with the psalms in the vernacular. The Scottish Metrical Psalter, written largely in ballad verse, was approved in 1650, but its project reached back to fourteenth-​century metrical psalms. It depended partly on the very first book printed in British North America, the metrical

1  Cassiodorus, Expositio Psalmorum, vol. 1, preface section 16, p. 22. Translation by Walsh in Explanation of the Psalms, p. 41.

2  Cassiodorus, Expositio Psalmorum, Vol. 1, p. 21. Translation by Walsh, Explanation of the Psalms, p. 41.

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psalter published in 1640 and known as the Bay Psalm Book. Similarly, the Dutch Metrical Psalter still in use today is very nearly the same as the metrical version produced, as part of the Reformation, by Petrus Datheen in 1566. He worked from the Marot/​de Bèze translation, often called the Genevan Psalter, in a very public tradition in Holland, in which it was common for groups of people to parade in the streets singing individual psalms.3 That is, the medieval tradition of psalm translation provided the groundwork for the outpouring of metrical psalms during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe.4 Here, then, lies the great challenge of thinking about the Psalms in translation in medieval Europe. Added to the personal and private engagement with the psalter of each Christian are both the pedagogic use of the Psalms as the first text that a student learns, the first thing a novice encounters in the monastery or nunnery, and also the public use of the Psalms in devotion, principally as a sung text or even a poetic reinterpretation. The history of the Psalms in medieval Europe is therefore both a pedagogical history of teaching and grammar, and a history of individual but also of communal engagement and learning, of speaking and writing, of thinking and expressing, of singing and meditating. The story of the psalter in medieval Europe is always a story of translation writ small, as the individual engages with the Psalms, and writ large, as nations and linguistic entities engage with the same text. Moreover, the story develops differently according to underlying conditions of language and engagement. In Anglo-​ Saxon England, for example, there was vernacular glossing of the Latin Psalms as early as the eighth century, bilingual psalters by the tenth century, and translations of the Psalms as stand-​alone texts in the late tenth or early eleventh centuries.5 In Spain, the first translation of the Psalms came as part of the famous translation of the complete Bible accomplished in 1280 by the Toledo School of Translators established and encouraged by King Alfonso X (the Wise). Spanish scholars argue that this was 3  Work on the Dutch Metrical Psalter is hard to locate. For a clean edition of the text see the National Library website entitled “De Psalmen Davids, ende ander lofsanghen” at www.dbnl.org/​tekst/​ dath001psal01 01/​. For a discussion of Datheen’s work see Grijp, “Psalms for the Lute,” pp. 2–​38. 4  See, for example, Leaver, “Goostly psalms and spirituall songes” and Zim, English Metrical Psalms. 5  See Toswell, The Anglo-​Saxon Psalter, passim.

the first complete translation of the Bible in Europe.6 However, parts of the Bible were being translated four hundred years earlier in northern Europe, the Psalms and Gospels into English, when not even the remotest possibility of translation was bruited in Spain. In Italy, the approach to translating the Psalms offers elements of both the English and the Spanish approach: translations of the seven penitential psalms were available, in Tuscan, in the late fifteenth century, but the evidence suggests that they were not reading texts. Pupils in elementary education in Italy through the sixteenth century learned to read from abbreviated Latin psalters, called psalteri piccoli, or salteruzzi, or psalteri da fanciullo.7 Thus, in Italy, psalters were certainly separated from the rest of the Bible and circulated individually, and in quite interesting configurations for young students, but they were not translated until the end of the fourteenth century, and in no case were the translated psalms used for pedagogical purposes. For their learning of the psalter, Italian students worked in Latin only. The history of psalm translation in the European Middle Ages is thereby a nuanced and fascinating one, more a story of context than it is a story of the authority and divinity of the Latin psalter. Gideon Toury and Itzhak Even-​Zohar would argue that the Psalms occupied a different point in the translational polysystem of each language, making it difficult to establish comparative translational norms and drawing implications from those norms and patterns.8 Nonetheless, it seems worth tracing here three lines of development: the Psalms used for pedagogical purposes in the learning of Latin, the Psalms used for meditating and ruminating upon the psalter in the vernacular, and the Psalms as poetry for singing individually and communally.

Translation for Pedagogy

At some point in the late sixth century or early seventh century, a set of six wooden “leaves” inlaid with wax (except on the outer sides of the two outer leaves) and bound together by a leather thong emerged from the Springmount Bog in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Inscribed on the wax were large 6  See Francomano, “Castilian Vernacular Bibles,” pp. 315–​37. There is manuscript evidence of a French translation, see Sneddon in Chapter 2. 7  See Black, Humanism and Education, pp. 34–​41.

8  See Even-​Zohar, Polysystem Studies. Also Toury, Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond.

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parts of Psalms 30–​32 in old Latin, corresponding relatively well to the Gallican Psalter, later known as the Vulgate.9 The Springmount Bog tablets, as they are known, demonstrate that basic introductory teaching of the Latin psalter was accomplished, probably from Cassiodorus onwards, by way of a scribe—​probably the long-​suffering teacher—​etching several psalms onto the tablets for the young oblate or novice to memorize, after which the wax would be smoothed and the next section inscribed. The student would be learning both the psalter and the language of Latin, which is why the text was inscribed in two careful columns with space setting each off. The tablets are small, measuring each about 21 cm by 7.7 cm; they were made to be carried about and perused privately. The earliest vernacular glosses in psalters are often similarly in relatively small manuscripts, perhaps reflecting this individualized and small-​scale pedagogy. The Blickling Psalter from Anglo-​Saxon England, written in the eighth century, has sporadic vernacular glosses, written in red ink to make them startlingly legible at the time, and placed above the hard Latin words (often nouns, but some verbs too) in some of the psalms.10 These date from after the original manuscript was created, but within the next generation or two, in the late eighth or very early ninth century. This is the earliest sign we have that individual Christians learning the psalter found it handy to crib a quick vernacular translation into the space above the word, rather as modern schoolchildren write translations of foreign words in above the print text of the foreign language they have been assigned to learn. These sporadic glosses tell us little that is useful about translation; they only alert us to the fact that in the eighth century an ordinary Anglo-​Saxon novice or monk had trouble with the hard words of the Latin psalter, and chose to scribble in some translations. That the scribbling took place in red ink, the colour normally used for rubrics and important insertions and annotations, suggests that for the writer the vernacular translation had valence. It mattered, and getting it written in was important and useful. In the next century, more such cribs, again for individual hard words in the Latin psalter, were written in above the line in the vernacular in the Blickling Psalter. These annotations are harbingers of a 9  McNamara, The Psalms in the Early Irish Church, pp. 31–​33, edited in Appendix 1, pp. 116–​19. 10  New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M. 776, also occasionally known as the Lothian Psalter. The Morgan Library localizes the manuscript to Northumbria, but many other options have also been proposed.

The European Psalms in Translation

tradition that by the tenth century involved quite copious and detailed vernacular glosses of the Anglo-​Saxon Psalms. In the Bosworth Psalter, for example, twenty-​nine psalms and six canticles have glosses which are more than sporadic and less than a full interlinear translation, but there are also extensive Latin glosses and annotations written in elsewhere in the manuscript. The codex is an elegant bilingual teaching text, providing the Psalms and commentary on them in two languages, the Old English vernacular offering simple cribs for novice scholars, and the Latin commentary offering more advanced patristic analysis.11 This tradition of explicating the Psalms for pedagogical purposes continued throughout the European Middle Ages, with notable further examples of the genre in Old English, in Old Irish, in Old Dutch or Old Low Franconian, and especially in Old High German with the work of Notker Labeo (ca. 950–​1022), the eleventh-​century teacher and translator working at the monastery of St. Gall. Rather than writing an interlinear gloss to aid in his pedagogy, Notker seems to have favoured embedding the Germanic vernacular directly in the Latin source text, producing what some call an interverbal gloss.12 Notker’s version, in at least one surviving manuscript, moves from psalm verse to psalm verse, providing the sacred Latin in red, the rubricated formal hand, and the vernacular translation, a full sentence, in black ink. Thus, for example, the opening of Psalm 150, one of the better-​known praise psalms, is as follows: Laudate dominum in sanctis eius. laudate eum in firmamento uirtutis eius. Lobit got chuit der propheta an sinen heiligen ce lezzist in sinero burc gisaminoton. Lobit in an dera festi sinero chrefte. An den heiligon skinit danne uuio festi sin chraft ist. Laudate eum in uirtutibus eius. laudate eum secundum multitudinem magnitudinis eius. Lobent in an sinero mahte. unde an dera menigi sinera michila.

11  The Bosworth Psalter is London, British Library, MS Additional 37517, a Roman version of the Latin psalter from the last quarter of the tenth century, but with the Latin and Old English glosses probably added later. Its provenance is southeast England, almost certainly Canterbury. See Rushforth, “Annotated Psalters and Psalm Study in Late Anglo-​Saxon England.” Also Blom, Glossing the Psalms, which focuses on Irish and West Germanic vernacular versions of the psalms. 12  An extreme version of this kind of gloss is the Old Frisian psalter fragment, which has each Latin word translated syntactically and lexically into the vernacular by the word immediately following it: see Bremmer, “Footprints of Monastic Instruction,” pp. 203–​33.

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(Praise the lord in his holinesses/​holy places/​saints; praise him in the firmament of his power. “Praise God,” said the prophet, “through his holinesses/​ saints, assembled at last in his city. Praise him in the firmness of his powers. Through the holinesses/​ saints/​holy places shines, then, how firm his power is.” Praise him for his mighty acts. Praise him according to the multitude of his greatness. Praise him in his strengths, and in the multitude of his greatnesses.)13

The technique used here allows Notker to provide additional information and interpretation, referring to how the holy places “shine” and thereby reflect the fortitude of God, and to how God is in his celestial city, corresponding in patristic exegesis to Jerusalem/​Heaven/​Paradise. Moreover, in addition to the Old High German translation with its small but telling additions, Notker also seems to have provided Latin annotations offering further explications. As Anna Grotans explains, Notker seems likely to have had his students look at and read the Latin, then read with his Latin annotations, then read with other commentaries in mind, and only last, to prove their deep comprehension, to translate into their vernacular.14 Unsurprisingly, that final translation would encompass all the previous learning, and would therefore have more details than those found in the Latin psalter. In this passage, Notker elaborates on the virtue and the power of the Creator, and extends the image of the building within which all Christians can be found praising the deity. He goes beyond “mere literal translation,” heading towards hermeneutic interpretation and even commentary. Notker’s psalter was a popular text in eleventh-​century Europe, copied several times and generally made available. Sometimes, the text was demanded even when it was not readily available. As the story goes, the empress Gisela, upon learning of Notker’s engagement with the psalter, demanded a copy of the work in 1027 when she visited the monastery after her crowning as empress to Conrad II. She wanted to learn too. 13  Slightly adapted from the Douay/​Rheims translation in 1609; see The Holy Bible: Notes by Challoner. For Notker’s Latin text and translation see Piper, Die Schriften Notker und seiner Schule. For Notker’s commentary see Tax, Notker latinus. I am extremely grateful to David Carlton for correcting and greatly improving my translation. I have kept some ambiguities that I think Notker intended: he blurred the distinction between the company of the saints and the less allegorical notion of “holinesses” or virtues, and also reached to the notion of “holy places” as well. 14  See Grotans, Reading in Medieval St. Gall, pp. 79–​109.

The preparation of psalter translations for primarily pedagogic reasons is easiest to identify in early medieval texts, but it was a practice that ran throughout the Middle Ages, and the teleological approach of interpreting glosses as if early, and adaptations or commentaries as if late would be mistaken. Grand manuscripts of the psalter as a separate text, as per Cassiodorus, intended for the training and development of young Christian minds date throughout the period. Thus, for example, the Eadwine Psalter in mid-​to late-​twelfth-​century England had three versions of the Latin psalms (Roman, Gallican, Hebrew) with extensive interlinear glosses and annotations, in Old English for the Roman, in Latin surrounding the Gallican text, and in Anglo-​Norman for the Hebrew version.15 The three Latin versions are in three vertical columns down the page, narrow ones on the inside of the page for the Latin/​Old English and Hebrew/​ Anglo-​Norman, and a double-​width column for the Gallican/​ Latin commentary later to be known as the Glossa ordinaria. A similarly grand twelfth-​century psalter from Palermo in Italy also has three columns of versions of the Psalms, but these were Latin, Greek, and Arabic versions.16 Made possibly for the royal chapel of the Norman king of Sicily, Roger II, the three columns are the same size but the Latin of the Gallican psalter, with rubrics to begin each psalm, runs down the middle of the page, adding weight and emphasis, with the Greek to the left in a different ink, and the Arabic to the right, right-​justified, in a much darker black ink, and with Arabic annotations on the liturgical use of each psalm. This splendid psalter was a teaching text, but also intended for display and ornament. Both pedagogy and symbol, it enjoined Christianity publicly and comprehensively. Finally, and much later but adhering to the same principles of both display and basic learning, the first translation of the psalter into Polish appears in another trilingual manuscript, the St. Florian’s Psalter of the mid-​fourteenth century, presented in two columns per page with each verse provided sequentially in the Latin, then the Polish, then the German version.17 The 15  The manuscript is Trinity College Cambridge MS R.17.1; the fullest analysis is Gibson, Heslop, and Pfaff, The Eadwine Psalter. 16  The Trilingual Harley Psalter is London, British Library, Harley MS 5786; the manuscript was prepared between 1130 and 1154.

17  Scholarship in English on this important Polish text, the first vernacular translation of the Bible in Polish, is limited. See Birnbaum, “The Vernacular Languages of East Central Europe in the Medieval Period,” pp. 384–​96. Also Ożóg, “The Intellectual Circles in Cracow.”

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Polish version is generally thought to have been copied from a version from the early thirteenth century, and it hews very close to the Latin source text. This version, with its grander take on an interlingual presentation, is one that Notker would approve. Given that it too appears to survive in a copy made for a great lady of the fourteenth century, possibly Margaret of Anjou, queen and first wife of Louis I of Hungary and Poland, or Queen Hedwig/​Jadwiga of Poland, the empress Gisela would approve too.

Translation for Meditation and Deep Personal Understanding

Another medieval woman seriously interested in the Psalms will serve as an opening point for the second kind of psalm exegesis and translation under consideration here. Eleanor Hull (ca. 1390–​1460) was a Lancastrian retainer in England, attached to the household of Jeanne de Navarre, the second wife of Henry IV. She translated a number of texts from French, including some relatively simple prayers and meditations, and, notably, a quite difficult commentary on the penitential psalms working from a French original that has not yet been found. In so doing she followed in a long tradition of deep study and contemplation of the Psalms. The system of pedagogy outlined above resulted in translations and commentaries of the Psalms for comprehension by novices and by Christians wanting to engage more fully with their religion. But it is also a book that Christian thinkers returned to as their understanding advanced. They translated and adapted the Psalms, and wrote extensive commentaries engaging with the text. Some modern scholars would separate those commentaries from the narrower notion of translation, but the line between the two can be very hard to draw. All commentaries begin with explication, and commentaries in the vernacular do that explication in the vernacular, albeit with a lot of code-​switching to the Latin psalter and to the standard Latin commentaries on the Psalms. Such was the practice of Eleanor Hull. And sometimes the commentaries begin with a translation and end with a more elevated and knowledgeable translation, rather as Notker did in the eleventh century. Sometimes the translations were intentionally very abstruse and learned, such as the psalter produced by Richard Rolle, claiming to reproduce the Latin syntax in unidiomatic English, with calques on the Latin source in the target text wherever possible. Rolle’s psalter translation and his extensive commentary underwent three separate and overlapping revisions by Wycliffite commentators, as recently elucidated

The European Psalms in Translation

by Anne Hudson, each of them for particular purposes of a community responding to the Psalms.18 The original Latin text and translation was apparently prepared by Rolle at the request of the Yorkshire anchoress Margaret Kirkby in the first half of the fourteenth century, but Rolle dug in and prepared more material for her serious study and engagement with the psalter beyond just the translation. This was by some way the most popular vernacular psalter in late medieval England, as nearly forty manuscripts of it survive. Richard Marsden suggests that its rather stilted nature, with its calques for the Latin wherever possible and its awkward syntax, indicates that Rolle’s first draft of this material was as an interlinear psalter, a version for a purely pedagogical purpose, but one that became elevated by copyists and perhaps by later revision into a psalter for private reading and personal meditation.19 The Lollards, whose tendencies were already present in Rolle’s version and in hints of other versions available at this early stage, further developed the material in the direction of what Michael Kuczinsky calls “moral discourse,” the use of the Psalms as a basis for ethical thinking and action.20 A similar trajectory can be traced in medieval France, albeit one somewhat complicated by the fact that the earliest translations of the Psalms in French survive in Anglo-​ Norman England. The earliest of these is from about 1115, the Montebourg Psalter now catalogued in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Douce 320; this is a close rendering of a Gallican psalter, with possibly some pointing for public reading in some of the twelve copies of this text. Slightly later, and definitely done for personal study, is the psalter commentary made for Laurette d’Alsace. The text is essentially a close translation with additions drawn from Gilbert de la Porrée’s Media Glossatura, done as a close interlinear version for the first fifty psalms, and then a looser translation with commentary for 18  The only available edition of Rolle’s psalter remains Richard Rolle of Hampole, The Psalter, or Psalms of David, and Certain Canticles; for the revisions, with an edition of the Latin psalter, the translation, and the various kinds of annotation and commentary in the eleven most relevant manuscripts, see Hudson, Two Revised Versions of Richard Rolle’s English Psalter Commentary.

19  See Marsden, “The Bible in English in the Middle Ages,” pp. 272–​95, 286. 20  See Kuczynski, Prophetic Song. Kuczynski’s remit includes the Lollards, John Lydgate, Richard Rolle, and William Langland, so his focus is more on the public use of the vernacular psalter for preaching, and as a model for poetry.

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the last hundred.21 Each verse is given first in Latin, then each phrase of the Latin is given again and analyzed according to one or more of the four levels of exegesis. In several of the manuscripts there is also a full interlinear translation, of which two versions exist; it seems relatively clear from the manuscripts that the interlinear version was copied from previous translations already in existence. The commentary is often literal, based, as the editor points out, “on a conflation of patristic sources (Augustine, Cassiodorus and Jerome) together with later accretions such the Glossa Ordinaria.”22 Laurette d’Alsace was the daughter of the Count of Flanders, and retired to the convent of Forest-​ lez-​ Bruxelles, where it would seem that she commissioned this material from as many as three different authors for her own edification and study. From about the same period exists a complete translation of the Bible into Old French, also probably the work of more than one translator.23 In the fourteenth century, Raoul de Presles completed extensive biblical translation for King Charles V, of which many extra copies of the Book of Psalms exist. This French tradition of translation into the vernacular from the early thirteenth century onwards (earlier if we include Anglo-​ Norman materials) suggests close personal interest in the Psalms and engagement with the text, notably by lay members of the elite. The existence of a half-​dozen copies of the commentary for Laurette d’Alsace further suggests real personal study and thought about the interpretation of this central book of the Bible. The tradition of this close study of the Bible in the vernacular led eventually to translations and meditations on individual psalms and especially to meditations on the penitential psalms, to primers in England, and to vernacular prayer books and mixed-​language Books of Hours elsewhere in Europe.

Translation for Public Devotion: The Communal Psalter for Singing and Liturgy

Perhaps the most difficult use of the vernacular psalter in the medieval world for the modern scholar to deduce is its use in public devotion, and yet it is clear that both monastic and lay communities engaged in the Psalms in their own language and in public. The Lollards certainly used their 21  See Rector, “An Illustrious Vernacular,” pp. 198–​206; and Rector, “The Romanz Psalter in England and Northern France in the Twelfth Century,” p. 38. 22  See Gregory, The Twelfth-​Century Psalter, p. 11.

23  See Sneddon, “ ‘The Old French Bible,’” pp. 296–​314.

extensive research and analysis of the psalter as grounds for preaching and discussion groups, judging by contemporary accounts of their practices. They read texts out, read annotations, discussed and argued. Their failure to believe in a fixed theology handed down by ecclesiastical authorities was precisely the problem that earned them their prohibition as a Christian sect. The Psalms also pervade the Christian liturgy, excerpted as incipits and antiphons and appearing in a set order in the daily monastic offices, in Books of Hours in abbreviated psalters and devotional snippets and liturgical explications, and in the weekly round of lay devotions as well. All of these materials were explicated in the vernacular in many languages. Moreover, the Psalms opened a door into poetic responses to Christianity. Many a Christian poet began with versions of the Psalms, from Bede’s adaptations in Latin poetry in the eighth century to the late Old English adaptation or translation known as the Paris Psalter or the metrical psalter, which constitutes the longest surviving poem in the early medieval vernacular of England. Engagement with the Psalms as a public text for reciting, reading, and singing continued through the later Middle Ages in Europe, and led to many metrical psalm translations. In England this pattern included the “closely literal psalm vernacularization,” as Annie Sutherland puts it, of the early fourteenth-​century Metrical Psalter from northern England.24 This translator happily wrenched syntax in Middle English to hold to a verbatim rendering of the Latin psalter—​except when the translator needed a rhyme. Here, for example, is Psalm 23 (Vulgate 22), “The Lord is my Shepherd”: 1 Laverd me steres, noght wante sal me; In stede of fode þare me loked he. 2 He fed me over watre of fode, Mi saule he tornes in to gode. 3 He led me ouer sties of rightwisenes, For his name swa hali es. 4 For, and ife I ga in mid schadw of dede, For þou with me erte, ivel sal I noght drede; Þi yherd, and þi staf of mighte, Þai ere me roned, dai and nighte. 5 Þou graiþed in mi sighte borde to be, Ogaines þas þat droved me; Þou fatted in oli mi heved yhit, And mi drinke drenkenand whilk schire es it.

24  Sutherland, English Psalms in the Middle Ages, pp. 94–​103.

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6 And filigh me sal þi mercy, And daies of mi life for-​þi; And þat I wone in house of Laverd isse In length of daies al with blisse.25

The edition is an old one and the northern dialect has its challenges, but the effort to keep the rhyme rolling along and the rhythm of the translation a clear and functional pattern is obvious. The translation is not sophisticated, but it leads directly in the next generation to the plethora of vernacular psalm translations in Britain of individual psalms, of psalms in primers, of the penitential psalms as a set, of Psalm 50 (the Miserere) on its own. As Michael Kuczynski points out, two of the more popular meditations of this sort were those attributed to Richard Maidstone (the confessor of John of Gaunt), and Thomas Brampton, a wholly obscure Franciscan.26 The most famous of these later translators was perhaps John Lydgate, but he worked in a long tradition of translating, paraphrasing, and abbreviating psalms for reading or singing aloud. That is the tradition that led in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to the political translation of the Psalms as hymns and new modes of expression. Martin Luther famously demanded the Psalms in the vernacular, and spoke of his desire to make the major texts of the Christian church into hymns for the laity, into texts that individuals and groups could sing. But, although he may not have been willing to acknowledge it, his urge to the vernacular was following in a tradition.27 In France, the single most famous and revered translation of the psalter is that of Clément Marot, whose work was continued and completed by Théodore de Bèze. Marot gave the king of France, Francis I, the first thirty psalms translated and prepared for singing in 1531, and it was his work of translating for song that inspired John Calvin in Geneva to argue for psalmody in the vernacular and hymnody which would bring Christianity to every individual. At the same time, Marot was working in a tradition of French psalm translation into verse, albeit one that began later than translation in England, the Low Countries, and Germany. Twelfth-​ century Anglo-​ Norman psalm translation includes both straightforward prose versions and rather fanciful tail-​rhyme 25  Stevenson, Anglo-​Saxon and Early English Psalter etc., vol. 16, pp. 65, 67. 26  Kuczynski, Prophetic Song, pp. 125–​35.

27  The history of the tradition since Luther has been well analyzed: see Duguid, Metrical Psalmody in Print and Practice; Zieman, Singing the New Song; and Hamlin, Psalm Culture and Early Modern English Literature.

The European Psalms in Translation

efforts, and already by the thirteenth century French authors were producing careful psalm translations and adaptations of individual texts. Moreover, they were doing so in poetry. Careful consideration of the history of psalm-​singing in the vernacular suggests that it began well before the famous efforts of the Reformation, which rather brought to fruition efforts that were already underway in many languages and countries. Since then, of course, there is a long tradition of setting individual psalms to music, and there remains a continuing tradition of Latin psalmody, often renewed and just as often re-​situated with reference to the Gregorian chants of the early tradition.28 The earliest neumes were written above Latin psalm-​texts, and singing the psalms, as Cassiodorus points out, remained a fundamental feature of Christian worship. By the late medieval period, some at least of that singing was in the vernacular, with psalm adaptations, or rhymed texts, or translations into ballad metre, or all of the above.

Conclusion

My distinctions above are arbitrary ones designed to organize the material of psalm responses into a taxonomy that can be addressed, but it has to be said that thinking about the Psalms in the Middle Ages was fluid and fluent. One critical issue with translation of the Psalms into the vernacular is that only rarely did a vernacular version appear without a Latin version. That is, the context of the vernacular psalter in Europe was a bilingual context. The Latin source (often not the text translated from, but a version of the psalter copied from a different manuscript) was always in dialogue with the vernacular target text. Sometimes the vernacular clearly had hegemony, but mostly the two were in balance, and sometimes it is clear that the sacred Latin text remains the more important. The Psalms were inherently a bilingual text in medieval Europe, with a lot of code-​switching in the commentaries and annotations that surrounded their European translations, and a clear sense that shifting back and forth between the sacred Latin and the useful vernacular was part and parcel of engaging with the Christian Psalms. Often, as noted here, the Psalms were even trilingual. The third language could be the Greek which psalm scholarship recognized, correctly, as the underpinning of the many Latin versions, or it could be another vernacular version that had some authority or some utility. But the Psalms always functioned 28  See Dyer, “The Singing of Psalms in the Early Medieval Office,” pp.  535–​78.

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in a multilingual context. Interestingly, the psalter scholarship using the vernacular often seems to have happened at the behest of a pious woman, often a queen or noblewoman but sometimes an anchoress or local leader who wanted to engage with this most important Christian text. The resulting text was often prepared in a splendid manuscript, sometimes with an elegant layout, often with miniatures and decorated initials, and sometimes with an entire project of decoration and embellishment. In many European languages, then, the psalter was the first full text translated into the vernacular. As such, it gained in authority and prestige. The history of psalm translation in the vernacular in the medieval period

in Europe remains an unwritten one, and one that should be written. The vernacular arrived at different times and with different approaches in different languages and cultures in Europe: early in Germanic cultures, but primarily focused on pedagogy; later but with a focus on communal understanding and psalm-​singing in others; and in all languages and cultures always with an underlying interest in personal engagement with the psalter.29 The untold story of the European Psalms offers evidence of an early and profound commitment to the interpretation and comprehension of this most central book of the Bible in many European vernaculars, for learning, for meditating, and for singing.

Bibliography Bebb, Llewellyn J. M. “Continental Versions.” In A Dictionary of the Bible Dealing with its Language, Literature, and Contents Including the Biblical Theology, edited by James Hastings, pp. 2–​38. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1907. Birnbaum, Henrik. “The Vernacular Languages of East Central Europe in the Medieval Period.” In The Man of Many Devices Who Wandered in Full Many Ways: Festschrift in Honor of János M. Bak, edited by Balász Nagy and Marcell Sebõk, pp. 384–​96. Budapest: Central European University Press, 1999. Black, Robert. Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy: Tradition and Innovation in Latin Schools from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Blom, Alderik H. Glossing the Psalms: The Emergence of the Written Vernaculars in Western Europe from the Seventh to the Twelfth Centuries. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2017. Bremmer, Rolf. “Footprints of Monastic Instruction: A Latin Psalter with Interverbal Old Frisian Glosses.” In Signs on the Edge: Space, Text and Margin in Medieval Manuscripts, edited by Sarah L. Keefer and R. H. Bremmer Jr. , pp. 203–​33. Leuven: Peeters, 2007. Cassiodorus: Explanation of the Psalms. Translated by P. G. Walsh. 3 vols. New York: Paulist Press, 1990. Cassiodorus, Flavius Magnus Aurelius. Expositio Psalmorum. Edited by M. Adriaen. 2 vols. Turnholt: Brepols, 1958. Duguid, Timothy. Metrical Psalmody in Print and Practice: English “Singing Psalms” and Scottish “Psalm Buiks” c. 1547–​1640. London: Ashgate, 2014. Dyer, Joseph. “The Singing of Psalms in the Early Medieval Office.” Speculum 64 (1989): 535–​78. Even-​Zohar, Itamar. Polysystem Studies. Tel Aviv: Porter Institute for Poetics, 1990. Francomano, Emily C. “Castilian Vernacular Bibles in Iberia, c. 1250–​1500.” In The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Christianity, edited by Susan Boynton and Diane J. Reilly, pp. 315–​37. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Gibson, Margaret, T. A. Heslop, and Richard W. Pfaff, eds. The Eadwine Psalter: Text, Image, and Monastic Culture in Twelfth-​ Century Canterbury. London: MHRA, 1992. Gregory, Stewart, ed. The Twelfth-​Century Psalter Commentary in French for Laurette d’Alsace (an Edition of Psalms I-​L). 2 vols. London: Modern Humanities Research Association, 1990. Grijp, Louis Peter. “Psalms for the Lute in the Dutch Republic and Elsewhere.” In The Lute in the Netherlands in the Seventeenth Century, edited by Jan W. J. Burgers, Tim Crawford, and Matthew Spring, pp. 2–​38. Newcastle-​upon-​Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. 29  The only survey in the field of Bible translation that addresses the medieval translations seems to be the rather outdated but surprisingly useful Bebb, “Continental Versions,” pp. 402–​20.

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Grotans, Anna A. Reading in Medieval St. Gall. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Hamlin, Hannibal. Psalm Culture and Early Modern English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. The Holy Bible: Notes by Challoner. Fitzwilliam: Loreto Publications, 2007. Hudson, Anne, ed. Two Revised Versions of Richard Rolle’s English Psalter Commentary and the Related Canticles. Early English Text Society, vols. 340, 341, 343. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012–​14. Kuczynski, Michael P. Prophetic Song: The Psalms as Moral Discourse in Late Medieval England. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995. Leaver, Robin A. “Goostly psalmes and spirituall songes”: English and Dutch Metrical Psalms from Coverdale to Utenhove 1535–​1566. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991. McNamara, Martin. The Psalms in the Early Irish Church. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000. Marsden, Richard. “The Bible in English in the Middle Ages.” In The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages, edited by Susan Boynton and Diane Reilly, pp. 272–​95. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Ożóg, Krzysztof. “The Intellectual Circles in Cracow at the Turn of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries and the Issue of the Creation of the Sankt Florian Psalter,” http://​polishlibraries.pl/​article.php?a=2. The manuscript is at Warsaw, National Library of Poland, Sankt Florian Psalter. Piper, Paul, ed. Die Schriften Notker und seiner Schule. III. Wessobrunner Psalmen. Freiburg: J. C. B. Mohr, 1883. Rector, Geoff. “An Illustrious Vernacular: The Psalter en romanz in Twelfth-​Century England.” In Language and Culture of Medieval Britain: The French of England c. 1100–​c. 1500, edited by Jocelyn Wogan-​Browne, pp. 198–​206. York: University of York Press, 2009. —​—​. “The Romanz Psalter in England and Northern France in the Twelfth Century: Production, Mise-​en-​page, and Circulation.” The Journal of the Early Book Society 13 (2010): 1–​38. Rolle, Richard of Hampole. The Psalter, or Psalms of David, and Certain Canticles. Edited by Henry Bramley. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1883. Rushforth, Rebecca. “Annotated Psalters and Psalm Study in Late Anglo-​Saxon England: The Manuscript Evidence.” In Rethinking and Recontextualizing Glosses: New Perspectives in the Study of Late Anglo-​Saxon Glossography, edited by Patrizia Lendinara, L. Lazzari, and C. Di Sciacca, pp. 39–​66. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011. Sneddon, Clive R. “ ‘The Old French Bible’: The First Complete Vernacular Bible in Western Europe.” In The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages, edited by Susan Boynton and Diane Reilly, pp. 296–​314. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Stevenson, J., ed. Anglo-​Saxon and Early English Psalter etc. 2 vols. Publications of the Surtees Society vols. 16 and 19. London: J. B. Nichol, 1843–​7. Sutherland, Annie. English Psalms in the Middle Ages, 1300–​1450. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Tax, Petrus, ed. Notker latinus: Die Quellen zu den Psalmen. 3 vols. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1972–​5. Toswell, M. J. The Anglo-​Saxon Psalter. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. Toury, Gideon. Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1995. Walsh, P. G., trans. Cassiodorus: Explanation of the Psalms. 3 vols. New York: Paulist Press, 1990. Zieman, Katherine. Singing the New Song: Literacy and Liturgy in Late Medieval England. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. Zim, Rivkah. English Metrical Psalms: Poetry as Praise and Prayer 1535–​1601. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987; repr. 2010. M. J. Toswell teaches English and Medieval Studies at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She has recently published The Anglo-​Saxon Psalter, co-​winner of the International Association of Anglo-​Saxonists award for best book in 2015; the translation of Jorge Luis Borges’s Ancient Germanic Literatures, Borges the Unacknowledged Medievalist: Old English and Old Norse in His Life and Work; and Today’s Medieval University.

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2 THE OLD FRENCH BIBLE CLIVE R. SNEDDON

The Old French Bible is the first vernacular translation of the entire Bible in medieval Europe, and it is orthodox; Samuel Berger established both points in 1884, as will be discussed below, and placed its composition between 1226 and 1250. It is followed by several other bible translations before 1500, which between them cast light on what the public expected of a bible translation in medieval France. Understanding the Old French Bible today involves identifying what its first audience expected. What is the thirteenth-​century understanding of a bible? What is the contemporary understanding of translation? What status does a vernacular require to permit any texts at all to be written in it? It also involves being aware of what the attitude of the Church was to vernacular bibles. What, if anything, has changed in Church attitudes since the Christian Bible was first formed in Greek? Today’s readers have inherited a history of bible translation composed in the sixteenth century, during the conflict between the reformers and the Catholic Church. Does this history reflect the expectations of French society in the thirteenth century, or does it need to be amended? Did those expectations change, and if so before or during the sixteenth century? It seems best to start with some definitions. What precisely is a bible? Its Greek stem “biblion” is cognate with that of “bibliotheca,” a library, and its earliest meaning seems to have been a collection of books. The Latin “biblia” then specialized to mean a collection of religious books, and then a collection of Christian religious books. Yet the older sense of a general collection of books survives through Latin into Romance, so that we find in thirteenth-​century France a satirical text entitled La Bible du Seigneur de Berzé (The Lord of Berzé’s Bible), which brings together various follies of the secular world. It is not therefore surprising that the books comprising the Christian Bible remained unspecified, until the pressure of religious conflict made the sixteenth-​century

Counter-​Reformation Council of Trent decide that a canon of Biblical books was necessary. All that can be said before then is that local custom and usage determined what books were normally included in any given copy of the Bible, which in Western Europe will typically have been in the Latin translation by St. Jerome which came to be known as the Vulgate.1 If the Bible was defined neither by its precise contents nor by its language, it could however be understood by its overall message, the message of salvation. The twelfth-​ century chanson de geste by Herman de Valenciennes has in the manuscript edited by Ina Spiele the incipit “Ci comence li viez testemenz et li noviaus” (Here begins the Old Testament and the New), showing the author conceived his work as presenting the Bible as a whole. The scribe of that same manuscript calls it Li Romanz de Dieu et de sa Mere et des Profetes et des Apostres (The Story of God and His Mother and the Prophets and the Apostles).2 If the overriding goal of the Church is the salvation of all who believe in Christ, it follows that the Word of God must be available in a language the faithful can understand. The precise form taken, whether through hearing it in the liturgy or through sermons or through individual books, is less important. This is the context of the early translations of parts of the Bible, as described by Bruce Metzger, in which the immediate driver of translation was the conversion of new populations not speaking Greek.3 By the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Western Europe was long since converted, 1  De Hamel, The Book and Bibles.

2  Spiele, Li Romanz de Dieu et de sa Mere d’Herman de Valenciennes, pp. 160–​61. The word romanz is used here in the sense of “vernacular account,” not “romance,” and the rubric summarizes all those who brought salvation to humanity. 3  Metzger, The Bible in Translation, pp. 8–​54.

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but the need for the laity to understand the message of salvation was unchanged. Twelfth-​ century bible translations into French include the Oxford Psalter and the Quatre Livre des Reis (Four Books of Kings). What emerges more explicitly in the next century is the extension of the vernacular into domains which had previously been the preserve of the high-​status language, Latin, as part of a conscious effort to demonstrate that French is worthy of equal status to Latin as a language of writing.4 At no point is there any evidence of Church hostility to bible translation in general, provided no unqualified person interpreted it, a point made explicitly by Pope Innocent III in 1199, and one which could lead to censorship but not of itself to prohibition.5 This is the context in which the Old French Bible appears. It is part of a virtuous circle in which being used for domains previously the preserve of Latin increases the status of Old French, and its increased status allows it to be used in yet more Latin domains. A similar process in England a century later sees the appearance of the Wycliffite Bible. The emergence of complete bible translations when the status of the vernacular was being consciously raised means that they are likely to conform to the academic expectations of the day. Translation as a discipline finds its place within the study of rhetoric, a discipline which goes back to antiquity, and which was the second of the seven liberal arts in the Arts degree of medieval universities. Translation is best described as an exercise in transposition, whereby other words had to be found for those in the given text. Since in this exercise there is no requirement to transpose the text into another language, another form could be tried, such as prose for a verse text or vice versa. Examples can be found in fifth- to sixth-century Latin works, such as Avitus’s bible epic De spiritalis historiae gestis (On the Deeds of Spiritual History),6 and Arator’s Historia Apostolica (Apostolic History), a verse version of the Acts of the Apostles.7 The translator thus had the freedom of an author, to choose the material for the intended audience, and to put it into the form which the translator judged was most appropriate for that audience. The same principles would on the face of it still apply, even when the translator is indeed transposing from one language to another. Hence the wide 4  Copeland, Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation, pp. 87–​150.

variety of forms and precise content found in French biblical translations during the Middle Ages. In thirteenth-​century France, the Bible was Latin. A Latin Bible would vary in its contents according to the use it was intended for. If it were a study bible, it would come in several volumes accompanied by the standard commentary on the Bible, the glossa ordinaria, which included definitions of individual words and relevant quotations from the Fathers. If it were for reading, it would come as plain text, in two volumes for the lectern in church or, after the progress in miniaturizing manuscripts in the thirteenth century, in a single volume for reading individually. It is the latter which is commonly known as the Parisian Bible; it had a format and set of contents that spread across Europe, acquiring some local variations on the way.8 Although lacking the commentary of the study bibles, the Paris Latin Bibles did normally have a set of prologues to the Vulgate as a whole and to many individual books to answer such questions as who wrote it, for whom, when, where or why. The Old French Bible was first identified by Samuel Berger, who fully described its contents.9 It follows the Paris Latin Bible in containing its books of the Old Testament, Apocrypha, and New Testament; it therefore excludes IV Esdras, except in one English copy of the Old Testament, and never translates the Epistle to the Laodiceans, which however is known in a late fifteenth-​century Picard New Testament. The new translation is anonymous, and lacks any preface or colophon which might tell us who wrote it, for whom, when, where, or why. Hence the only way to know what choices the translator made, is to begin with what the translation contains and what it lacks in comparison to Latin bibles of its period, and to consider choices made by other translations between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. The criteria for establishing when the Old French Bible was translated have remained unchanged since Berger’s day, though as will become apparent it may be possible to be a little more precise. It cannot have been composed before the so-​called Langton chaptering of the Vulgate, with minor changes the system used to the present day, which started to be used in Latin Vulgates from ca. 1200 until it became standard by ca. 1230. It cannot have been composed later than its oldest surviving manuscript, by common consent for more than a century the now incomplete Paris, BnF, MS fr. 899, dated to ca. 1260 by

6  Avitus, The Fall of Man.

8  Light, “Versions et révisions du texte biblique.”

5  Boyle, “Innocent III and Vernacular Versions of Scripture,” pp.  97–​107. 7  Arator, Aratoris Subdiaconi Historia apostolica.

9  Berger, La Bible française au moyen âge, pp. 120–​44.

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the art historian Robert Branner.10 The translation will thus have been made some time between 1200 and 1260, but if the Langton chaptering took time to establish itself, as it did, it may be more reasonable to suggest a date after, say, ca. 1220. More recently, Alison Stones has dated ca. 1250 Evora, Bibl. Pública e Arquivo Distrital, MS CXXIV/​1–​1, apparently a copy of the earliest state of the Old French Bible whereas Paris, BnF, MS fr. 899 belongs to its revised second state.11 This gives a dating of ca. 1220–​1250 for the translation of the Old French Bible. Robert Branner localizes his oldest surviving manuscript to a Parisian illuminator’s workshop, the Bari atelier, producing for a secular market, which makes it possible but not certain that the translation was made in Paris, a hypothesis supported by Stones locating the production of the Evora manuscript also in Paris. Comparing the contents of the Old French Bible with those of the Latin Parisian Bibles confirms that the intended audience of the two translations was not the same. Whereas those using the Latin Bibles would be trained in how to understand the text according to the accepted doctrine of the day, for the prospective readers of the Old French Bible, no such training could be assumed. Any translator would have a choice to make, either to supply all necessary commentary for lay readers, or to keep the text uncluttered and therefore readable. In the fourteenth century, Geoffroi de Picquigny proposed a complete fully commented French Bible as he explains in his 1321 prologue, but only one volume now survives. Jean de Sy in the 1350s worked on a similarly massive enterprise, which was cut short by the defeat of his patron King John II at Poitiers in 1356. A century earlier, the Old French Bible made a different choice. The Paris Latin Bible was followed in its form, with its initial illustrations, page headings, and chaptering to guide readers through each book, and its two-​column continuous text format, though the typically larger leaf size of most Old French Bible manuscripts makes it look more like a prose Arthurian romance. Although we lack the ownership evidence for the thirteenth century, the fact that the Old French Bible was from the beginning copied by professional scribes and illuminators makes it likely that its principal readers were the wealthy merchants and nobles who bought vernacular books 10  Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris during the Reign of Saint Louis, pp. 103, 106, 229, fig. 296; Berger, La Bible française au moyen âge, pp. 145–​56, thought Paris, BnF, MS fr. 899 older, and that the text of the Parisian Vulgate supported the chaptering evidence. 11  Stones, Gothic Manuscripts 1260–​1320, vol. 4, pp. 115–​28.

The Old French Bible

in general. For its content, the Old French Bible dispensed with the prologues that guide readers through the Paris Latin Bible, but, still in the continuous text format, took selected material from the glossa ordinaria, beginning with a passage from the prolegomena to the glossa which presents everything that follows as the account given in Genesis and Matthew of the first man Adam and the second man Jesus, thus relating the Old and New Testaments to each other by their opening passage and by their overall content.12 Cist livres est apelez Genesis por ce que il est de la generation du ciel et de la terre ou comancement, ja soit ce que il parole aprés de pluseurs autres choses, aussi come l’Esvangile Saint Matheu est apelee li livres de la generation Jhesu Crist. Et aussi come Moyses dist en ce livre commant li premiers homs fu criez de la terre qui estoit virge, qui pot engendrer les terriens homes en ceste vie trespassable, autressi l’Esvangile Saint Matheu moustre ou comancement commant li seconz homs fu nez de la beneoiste Virge Marie, ce est Jhesu Crist, qui les homes celestieux peüst bien engendrer en vie pardurable.13

(This book is called Genesis because it is about the generation of heaven and earth in the beginning, although it speaks afterwards of many other things, just as the Gospel of St Matthew is called the book of the generation of Jesus Christ. And just as Moses says in this book how the first man was created from the virgin earth who could beget earthly men in this transient life, so St Matthew’s Gospel shows in the beginning how the second man was born of the blessed Virgin Mary, that is Jesus Christ who would have been well able to beget heavenly men in eternal life.)

Berger in his description of the Old French Bible noted that some books were heavily glossed, others only moderately so, and the rest not at all. The heavily glossed books are Genesis and Joshua, which provide literal and spiritual glosses, Judges whose glosses are moral and spiritual, and Ruth with further spiritual glossing. The Octateuch thus

12  Passages from the Old French Bible are quoted from the critical editions by Quereuil or Sneddon, or from the specified manuscript. In each case, modern punctuation has been supplied, abbreviations expanded, and i/​ j and u/​ v distinguished. Quereuil and Sneddon added parentheses to identify the glosses, but italics are used here because parentheses have been used instead in this chapter for English translations.

13  Quereuil, La Bible française du XIIIe siècle, p. 91, before Genesis I proper begins.

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provides the means of understanding the programme set out in the opening to the whole translation, a programme which is entirely orthodox, and whose orthodoxy is underlined by anti-​Cathar glossing at Genesis 13:8–​9.14 Thereafter, a smaller number of mostly literal glosses appear in Job, the Psalms, and the Gospels, while the remaining books are essentially unglossed, though on closer inspection one or two, such as Jonah and Titus, conceal short literal glosses. The function of this programme of glossing would appear to be, first to give spiritual guidance to the lay reader; second to reinforce that by ensuring the letter of the most important books for the liturgy, the Psalms and the Gospels, could be understood independently by the devout; and third to teach acceptance of the divine will by providing similar guidance for Job. With this guidance, the Old French Bible assumes an intelligent reader for the unglossed books, including the law books, the history books, the Prophets, the Epistles, and Revelation. The most obvious source used by the Old French Bible for its glossing remains the glossa ordinaria, but it appears to have used more widely the commentary tradition available at the time of the translation, including in the Gospels the postils of Hugh of Saint-​Cher, completed by 1236, a later terminus a quo than is generally accepted if it can be shown that material found in these postils was not available elsewhere in the commentary tradition.15 As this overview makes plain, the Old French Bible translates different genres of text, with three different types of glossing. The most common genre is narrative, of which an example is given here with a spiritual gloss, from Genesis 21:3–​5: Abraham mist non a son fuiz que Sare li enfanta Ysaac, et le circonci a l’uitiesme jor, si come Diex li avoit comandé, quant il avoit ja .C. anz. Ja soit ce que la circoncision soit comandee par pluseurs choses, neporquant ele senefie especiaument Jhesu Crist, qui par le baptesme nos despueille du pechié au premier home; et aprés ce que nos serons resuscitez au Jugement, il tranchera de nos toute la mortalité et toute corrution [sic].16

(Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him, and circumcised him on the eighth day, as God had commanded him, when he was indeed a hundred years old. Although circumcision was

14  Quereuil, La Bible française du XIIIe siècle, pp. 166–​67.

15  Higgleton, “Latin Gospel Exegesis and the Gospel Glosses,” vol. 1, pp.  9–​17. 16  Quereuil, La Bible française du XIII siècle, p. 206. e

ordered for many things, nevertheless it means Jesus Christ especially, who by baptism takes from us the sin of the first man; and after we will be resurrected at the Last Judgement, he will cut off from us all mortality and all corruption.) The Psalms retain the balanced clauses of the Hebrew parallel poetic form, but may also have a literal gloss identifying what is referred to, as here from Ps 109:7: Il buvra del ruissel qui court en mi la voie, et por ce essaucera il son chief. C’est a entendre il aura des povretez et des tribulations terriennes, Diex li filz s’il est a savoir. Et por ce essaucera il son chief, c’est son pere.17

(He will drink of the stream which flows in the middle of the path, and for this he will raise his head. That is to be understood, he will partake of the earthly poverty and tribulation, God the Son if that is to be known. And for this he will raise his head, that is his Father.)

The Gospels are narrative texts, but like the Psalms have a certain number of literal glosses to elucidate what the text is saying, as here from Mark 10:40: Lors lor dist donques Jhesus: “Seoir a ma destre ou a ma senestre n’apartient mie a moi que ge le vos doigne, mes a cels a qui mon Pere l’a apareillié,” c’est a dire a cels qui le desserviront par lor bones huevres, et non mie a vos se vos ne le desservez par bones huevres.18 (So then Jesus said to them: “Sitting on my right hand or my left is not mine to give you, but is for those my Father has prepared it for,” that is to say for those who will deserve it through their good works, and not for you if you do not deserve it by good works.)

Examples of other styles may be found in the non-​narrative texts, such as the Prophets, Revelation, or Epistles, all essentially unglossed. The prophetic style reports what God says as a basis for future action, whereas Revelation describes a vision of what is to come; the Epistles involve presenting an argument to a remote audience, which needs to be convinced by what is said. For the Prophets, an example is taken from Isaiah 45:1: Ce dit Nostre Sires a mon roi, Cyre, del quel j’ai prist [sic] la destre main en couvenance que je li sozmete

17  Berne, Burgerbibliothek, MS 27, fol. 324v.

18  Sneddon, “A Critical Edition of the Gospels,” vol. 2, pp. 143–​44.

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devant sa face les genz, et que torne les dos des rois; et je ouverrai devant lui les portes, ne seront mie closes.19 (This says Our Lord to my King, Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken in agreement that I submit the nations to him before his face, and turn the backs of kings; and I will open the doors before him, and they shall not be closed.)

For Revelation, an example is taken from 21:1–​3:

Ge vi novel ciel et novele terre; le premier ciel et la premiere [terre] ala, et la mer n’est ja mie. Et je vi Jerusalem la sainte descendant del ciel, novele et apareilliee de Dieu come espouse, et aornee por son mari. Et je oi une haute voiz del ciel disant: “Veez ci le tabernacle de Dieu o les homes, et il habitera o els; et il seront son pueple, et il lor Dieu, et sera ouvec els.”20

(I saw a new heaven and new earth; the first heaven and earth went, and the sea does not now exist. And I saw the holy Jerusalem descending from heaven, new and prepared by God like a bride, adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying: “Here is the tabernacle of God with men, and He will dwell with them; and they will be his people and He their God, and He will be with them.”)

For the Epistles, an example is taken from I Corinthians 1:4–​8: Je rent graces a mon Dieu toz tens por nos [sic] en la grace de Dieu qui nos [sic] est donnee en Jhesucrist, quar vos estes riche en totes choses en lui, et en toute parole et en toute science, come li tesmoingz de Crist est confermez en vos en tel menniere que nule chose nos [sic] defaille en aucunne grace. Vos atendez l’avenement Nostre Seingnor Jhesucrist qui nos [sic] confermera desi en la fin sanz crieme el jor que Jhesucristz venra au jugement.21 (I give thanks to my God at all times for us, in the grace of God which is given us in Jesus Christ, for you are rich in all things in Him, and in all speech and all knowledge as the witness of Christ is confirmed in you in such a way that nothing is lacking to us in any grace. You await the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ who will make us firm without fear until the end, on the day when Jesus Christ will come in Judgement.) 19  Berne, Burgerbibliothek, MS 28, fol. 80v at its chap. XLIIII. 20  Berne 28, fol. 353v. 21  Berne 28, fol. 291r.

The Old French Bible

Whether narrative, poetic, prophetic, revelatory, or argumentative, all the styles come from the Latin source, and the translation adapts itself to them, all the more easily in so far as the translation is word for word. The one style that gives difficulty is the argumentative, where the translator normally breaks up the long period retained by the Latin from the Greek, as in this case where the dative participle “exspectantibus” in I Corinthians 1:7 has been resolved into a new clause. There is also the question as to whether or not Paul includes himself in his exhortations (modern Vulgate editions say not), which is the difference between “vos” and “nos.” This scribe makes the distinction between “u” and “n” very clear, but either the Latin source, the translator, or subsequent Old French scribes may have had difficulty deciding what was intended. A more detailed study of Titus in the Old French Bible confirms that the translator did not fully master Paul’s argumentative style.22 There is one other respect in which the Old French Bible follows the Paris Latin Bible. It is a translation in prose, whereas a verse translation was certainly possible, including with commentary, as can be seen in the later Bible of Macé de La Charité. The decision to translate in prose can be seen as a reflection of the view that prose is the language of truth, whereas verse is the language of fiction, which by definition is not true.23 More immediately, it may reflect rhetorical doctrine, in which Horace and Cicero recommended translating sense for sense, rather than word for word, which would put translators firmly in charge of what words they chose to use. The Old French Bible reads like contemporary French prose as if it were following rhetorical doctrine, and yet comparison with the Latin shows it to be a reasonably close translation. It seems to be steering a middle path between the views of St. Augustine and St. Jerome on translating the Bible. In 384, four years after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, Pope Damasus asked Jerome to prepare a new Latin translation of the Bible. This involved revising the existing Old Latin, a task completed without too much difficulty for the New Testament. But the more Jerome worked on revising the Old Testament, the more convinced he became that the Bible was a special case, which should not be translated sense for sense but word for word, on the basis that the full meaning of the biblical texts had to take into account 22  Sneddon, “Rewriting the Old French Bible.”

23  A more nuanced account is given by Klopsch, Einführung in die Dichtungslehren des lateinischen Mittelalters, pp. 9–​20, 74, 78–​79, 164–​65.

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every nuance of their wording, syntax, and order as expressed in the original Hebrew. By translating word for word, Jerome is attempting to minimize the number of human intermediaries coming between God and his word. This closeness to the Hebrew led Augustine to be concerned that Jerome might by consulting rabbis be exposing the Christian church to views it had explicitly rejected. He was also concerned that the faithful might be confused by apparently arbitrary changes to the language of the liturgy. In thirteenth-​century France, Latin remains the language of the liturgy, and the Old French Bible works solely from existing Latin commentary sources acceptable to the Church, so neither of Augustine’s concerns arises. Augustine’s preference for translating sense for sense removes no risk that does not already exist in the whole enterprise of translating the Bible, but hopes to avoid the introduction of new errors. Jerome’s view is that word for word translation is the only way of removing previous errors, avoiding new ones, and finding what God intended. The Old French Bible does not attempt to reconcile these views, but rather to provide a close but readable translation of the Latin, and to put that in context by supplying a limited framework commentary. A further observation by Berger is relevant to under­ standing the Old French Bible. This is that the Old French Bible is the work of several translators, from what he says at least three or four. At first sight, the differences could correspond with the presence or absence of glossing, but the differences Berger cites in the translations of Exodus and Numbers suggest it is not so simple. If the Old French Bible had been the work of a single translator, as the Raoul de Presles Bible for King Charles V was, its overall plan of translation could result from the translator’s decision on what the intended audience would require in order to receive the message of salvation. But its overall plan could also result from an instruction by a patron as to the parameters to be followed. The organization of the message of the Old French Bible through its careful selection of glossing indicates that an overall plan was devised and followed. That plan must in the circumstances have come from a patron, who will have selected the translators and given them a remit to follow. One final observation by Samuel Berger, confirmed by the present writer for the four Gospels, is that the text of the Old French Bible was revised at least once, and that the text of what he thought to be the oldest manuscript, Paris, BnF, MS fr. 899, is a later state of the text, pushing the terminus ad quem before ca. 1260. In fact it is possible to distinguish four states of text in the Gospels between its origin and ca. 1300. The Old

French Bible is thus a living text, whose accuracy can at any time be tested against its Latin source, and whose readers were determined to have the best possible text, both in terms of accuracy in rendering the Latin, and also in the quality of its French language, as the only reliable means of conveying the true meaning of the Latin. Is it possible from these observations to answer the questions for which we have no direct evidence? On the question of who wrote the Old French Bible, it seems likely that it was written on the instruction of an anonymous patron by a team of competent Latinists. This patron must have been sufficiently interested in the Bible to want to commission a complete translation in French, must have been confident of acceptance from the ecclesiastical authorities, and must have been sufficiently wealthy to pay for a team of competent translators and the first fair copy. If this patron can be identified, consistent with the answers so far arrived at to the questions of when and where, the questions of why and for whom the translation was made may also find an answer. Berger surmised that the patron was not an individual but an institution, the University of Paris. On the face of it, the University would meet  all the specified criteria for the anonymous patron. However, it is not clear that an institution whose function is to prepare students for secular and ecclesiastical administration would finance a charitable project for lay people, and there is no obvious teaching function of the University that requires it to produce a vernacular copy of the Bible. In order to progress discussion in the absence of direct information, the present author has set out an alternative scenario, for every element of which there exists some evidence, but no conclusive proof.24 The similarity of the views on good works expressed in St Louis’s Enseignements à madame Ysabel sa fille and in some Gospel glosses such as Mark 10:40 quoted above suggests a link with the French royal family and specifically the children of St Louis after 1240, while the date range for the Old French Bible, even if the narrowest possible range of ca. 1235–​1250 is chosen, makes Blanche de Castille, pictured in the Toledo Bible moralisee, a more likely candidate for patron than her son St Louis for whom the later Acre Bible manuscript was written by 1254, both of whom meet the specified criteria. The likely place of translation would remain somewhere in the royal domain, but this alternative scenario allows for the possibility of Orléans as well as Paris or the 24  Sneddon, “On the Creation of the Old French Bible.”

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The Old French Bible

Île-​de-​France. There may be further alternative scenarios to propose.25 Accepting that it is not for the moment possible to identify the patron and translators of the Old French Bible, the transmission of their work is unusual, and could not have been predicted by either. This transmission has given rise to the view that the lay public in medieval France was primarily interested in Bible history, a view represented among others by Pierre-​Maurice Bogaert in his 1991 Bibles en français.26 The basis for this view is the number of surviving manuscripts of three texts, first the Old French Bible, second Guiart des Moulins’s Bible historiale written from the Bible between 1291 and 1295 in Aire in northern France, with supporting material from Peter Comestor’s Historia scholastica and using the layout of glossa ordinaria manuscripts, and third the composite text that Berger called the Bible historiale complétée, written by nobody, and formed by a Parisian stationer not later than 1314 in the Old French Bible layout from the first volume of the Bible historiale (Genesis-​Esther) and the second volume of the Old French Bible (Proverbs-​Revelation). The modern historiography of the Old French Bible and the Bible historiale has suffered from the fact that the composite text begins with Guiart’s preface. The seventeenth-​and eighteenth-​ century bibliographers attributed the whole composite text to Guiart. Although Berger’s mentor Eduard Reuss established that not everything in the composite text had been translated by Guiart, it was only Berger in 1884 who deduced the existence of the Old French Bible, confirmed by the identification of three complete copies in the first third of the twentieth century. As the list of primary sources demonstrates, the Old French Bible was copied in at least twenty manuscripts, though the number of surviving copies of any one Bible book is more like ten to fifteen. The Bible historiale survives in ten accessible copies, of which only one has the end of Guiart’s full text, London, BL, MS Royal 19 D III; what is textually the best manuscript, Paris, BnF, MS fr. 155, is incomplete. The composite text is the publishing success of mediaeval French Bibles, surviving as it does in some seventy complete manuscripts and twenty early editions, the last of which post-​ date the 1530 Lefèvre d’Etaples translation and the 1535 Olivetan translation. The 1314 manuscript is Edinburgh, University Library, MS 19, which was structured as a single

booklet from Genesis to the Catholic Epistles, with a separate quiring of Revelation; this enables the composite Apocalypse (Old French Bible and Anglo-​French glossed Apocalypse) to replace an incomplete copy of Revelation in MS 19’s source. An examination of Gospel textual variants in Old French Bible, Bible historiale, and composite text manuscripts gave the following conclusions, which can be verified in this author’s doctoral thesis.27 There are four different states of the Old French Bible text between ca. 1240 and 1300. There are two different states of the Bible historiale text between 1295 and perhaps 1320, of which the version with prefaces and rubrics setting out Guiart’s intentions is the older but cannot have been copied before 1297 when Guiart was elected Dean of St Pierre d’Aire; its later books were not always copied, and Guiart’s concluding five short apocryphal texts have survived in only one late manuscript. The later version without prefaces has a revised and shorter conclusion, including excerpts from the Old French Bible and ending with an apocalyptic text from Daniel going beyond the literal sense Guiart intended, while preserving better the original glossa ordinaria layout. There are three different states of the composite Bible text between ca. 1310 and 1400, roughly corresponding, at the risk of slight over-​simplification, to the addition of missing Volume I bible books from the Old French Bible, beginning with Psalms in what Berger called “Petites Bibles,” Job in his “Bibles Moyennes” and Chronicles and Esdras in his “Grandes Bibles.”28 There are other later states to be observed in some individual composite text manuscripts, of which the most significant is the thorough updating undertaken for the second Verard edition in ca. 1505 and transmitted to all subsequent editions. This is a natural consequence of the concern of scribes to produce an accurate text and of the ready availability of Latin Bibles against which an exemplar could be checked. Some of the changes made seem to show a desire to update the language or style of the French, but accuracy seems to be the main reason for change. This intense concern for the text is there from the beginning in the attention paid to sentence connectives by the Old French Bible translators and by Guiart des Moulins alike. This point has been demonstrated beyond doubt by Xavier-​ Laurent Salvador in his 2007 work on the Bible historiale Genesis, which also shows significant differences in how the Old French Bible and

26  Bogaert et al., Les Bibles en français, pp. 13–​46.

28  Berger, La Bible française au moyen âge, pp. 210–​20.

25  A contrary view is proposed but not argued by Pierre Nobel in “La traduction biblique,” pp. 207–​23.

27  Sneddon, “A Critical Edition of the Four Gospels,” vol. 1, pp. 61–​89, 111–​27.

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Bible historiale create their phraseology. The effort of revision in all three shows all three works are regarded as worthy of attention in their own right, the Old French Bible and composite text matching the contents of the Paris Latin Bibles, while the Bible historiale gives a linear account of the events of the Bible, representing the letter of the text as the first of the four senses of scripture expounded by Latin commentators on the Bible. It is a misnomer to regard the commercial success of the composite text as indicating a mediaeval view that the Bible is just a historical narrative. On the contrary, the clear pressure of public demand to make the composite text manuscripts complete bibles reflects a view that a bible will contain all the books of the Paris Latin Bible. In that way, the full message of salvation is available to all readers. But it is clear that the public was never entirely satisfied, since it went beyond adding missing bible books to adding the prologues to bible books commonly found in the Vulgate but so far not translated, and then in one ca. 1500 manuscript adding the historical material in Guiart which falls between Maccabees and the New Testament. The composite text is not therefore the evidence Pierre-​Maurice Bogaert took it to be for the idea that bible history is what the Middle Ages understood by bible. The public wanted its bibles to be complete, including poetic and prophetic texts just as much as strictly historical texts. That allows access to the message of salvation in a way that Guiart’s original plan did not. If what the public wanted was a complete bible, why not simply continue to copy the Old French Bible? In part, this is what happened. Some new copies are made in the fifteenth century, after the peak popularity of the composite text in the fourteenth century. However, the list of nine attempts at complete Bible translations suggests a strong desire for explanation as well as completeness. As John Lowden showed in 2000, the long history of the fully illustrated Bible moralisee is one of constant expansion, supported by rulers from Louis VIII to John II. This is not simply a picture bible but a moral and spiritual account of key episodes of the Bible. This will be why its texts were treated as bibles on two separate occasions, Latin and French in the fourteenth century, but in the more successful fifteenth-​century version as a French Bible, which could however also be seen as a complementary commentary to be integrated into a manuscript of the 1314 composite text. The search for explanation led translators to use other Latin works for commentary purposes, in the case of Macé de La Charité seeking an overview of all four senses of Scripture, the literal to understand the text, the spiritual to link the Old Testament to the New, the moral to tell us how to behave,

and the eschatological to describe the end of the world. The fullest possible bible would contain all the books of the Paris Latin Bible and all four senses of Scripture distilled from the most respected commentators. This was attempted, but either could not be completed because the patron ran out of money in the case of Jean de Sy, or more tellingly, if completed as the Bible of Geoffroi de Picquigny may have been, it was too commentary-​heavy to meet what the lay public required. Two other attempts at complete translations from the Paris Vulgate, those of Raoul de Presles and Jean Servion, do not survive complete. The Old French Bible may have survived because it is the first complete bible translation, but its revival in the fifteenth century suggests its particular mix of framework commentary and translation may have been well adapted to some at least of its public. Its unglossed books for the intelligent reader are in the end all absorbed into the composite text, so it is not these that caused its displacement for so long by the composite text. The main difference between the Old French Bible and the composite text is their treatment of the Octateuch. The omission of Leviticus from one of the oldest manuscripts of the Old French Bible, Paris, BnF, MS fr. 899, is a sign that the public may have resisted reading the Hebrew books of the law, even if unglossed.29 The main story line of the Octateuch and some of its spiritual implications can be seen through the literal commentary provided by Guiart des Moulins in his narrative of what led to the ministry of Jesus and the work of his disciples after the Resurrection, in which case these eight books in the Old French Bible suffer overall from the surfeit of commentary which afflicted Geoffroi de Picquigny. On the other hand, if Guiart’s version of the Octateuch is more to the public’s taste, the same cannot be said of his overall narrative. After the Gospel Harmony, not all Guiart’s text is copied by his scribes, Guiart’s Acts surviving in only three manuscripts, and the texts which follow it in only one. This abridgement means Guiart’s literally glossed narrative arc is brought to an early end with the Resurrection. An unknown reviser then deleted the prefaces and rubrics setting out Guiart’s plan, maintained the glossa ordinaria layout, but ended the work with a revision of the Old French Bible Acts and extracts from the Old French Bible pointing to the Last Days, thus making the work an eschatological rather than historical account of the Bible, which in this form was ignored by the composite text. The composite text eliminates 29  Sneddon, “The Origins of the Old French Bible,” pp. 1–​13.

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the scholarly appearance by adopting the Old French Bible layout throughout, and by replacing everything after Esther with the Old French Bible Volume II, Proverbs to Revelation, reverting to the Paris Latin Bible presentation of the Life of Jesus, his ministry and the work of the Apostles, leading to St John’s vision of the end of the world. The successful composite text is thus a compromise, which itself is unsuccessful in that the public, as already discussed, wants a complete Bible as per the Paris Latin Bible. If the history of the Old French Bible has a conclusion, it is that it found a way of framing the Bible story in a way that was still relevant in the fifteenth century, and that its presentation

The Old French Bible

of the Paris Latin Bible was in the end preferred in all parts except the Octateuch to that originally devised in the composite text. Guiart des Moulins provided a solution to the question of presenting the Octateuch in a Christian context, which was however capable of augmentation in the early fifteenth century from the fifteenth-​century Bible moralisee. The later attempts of Raoul de Presles and Jean Servion to follow the Paris Latin Bible had limited success in their own day, and have not survived complete. The success of the composite text is, by the advent of printing when it had the patronage of King Charles VIII, the success of the Old French Bible rather than of the Bible historiale.

Bibliography Primary Sources This summary list of medieval French translations of the Bible before ca. 1500 in France presents the principal known witnesses of each translation, excluding the Anglo-​Norman Bible, and excluding the big Picture Bible Bible moralisée manuscripts such as Vienna 2554, the now seriously incomplete French copy made for Blanche de Castille. A. Old French Bible (by ca. 1250) Complete manuscripts in two volumes 1) Chantilly, Musée Condé, MSS 4–​5

2) London, British Library, MS Harley 616 and MS Yates Thompson 9

3) New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.0494 (two volumes bound together)

4) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 899 (two volumes bound together which never contained Leviticus, but much of Vol. 2 is now lost)

Vol. 1 only (Genesis-​Psalms)

5) Berne, Burgerbibliothek, MS 27

6) Cambridge, University Library, MS Ee III 52 (lacks Psalms) 7) Evora, Bibl. Pública e Arquivo Distrital, MS CXXIV/​1-​1 8) Paris, Bibl. de l’Arsenal, MS 5056 9) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 6

10) Philadelphia, PA, Free Library, MS Widener 2, fols. 1–​311

11) Strasbourg, Bibl. nationale et universitaire, MS C IV 10 (burnt in 1870; a nineteenth-​century transcript of Psalms survives as Strasbourg, Bibl. nationale et universitaire, MS 541) 12) Warsaw, Bibl. Narodowa, MS Fr. F. v. I. 2 (destroyed in 1944) Vol. 2 only (Proverbs-​Revelation)

13) Berne, Burgerbibliothek, MS 28

14) Brussels, Bibl. royale, MS 10516

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15) Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek, MS Thott 7, 2o 16) Paris, Bibl. Mazarine, MS 35 (olim 684) 17) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 398

18) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 6258

19) Rouen, Bibl. municipale, MS A 211

20) Saint-​Omer, Bibl. municipale, MS 68

21) Vatican City, Bibl. Apostolica, MS Reg. lat. 26 Old Testament only

22) London, British Library, MSS Add. 40619–​20 (includes IV Esdras) New Testament only

23) Oxford, Christ Church Library, MS 178 Gospels

24) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 12581, fols. 233–​311 (dated 1284) B. Guiart des Moulins, Bible historiale (also using the Historia scholastica, by 1295) First version with prefaces—​more or less complete manuscripts

1) London, BL, MSS Royal 18 D IX; Royal 18 D X, fols. 1–​167; Royal 15 D I (the last two dated 1479 and 1470, with some Old French Bible material) 2) London, BL, MS Royal 19 D III, fols. 1–​180, 222–​44, 428–​558 (dated 1411, in two volumes continuously foliated with some Old French Bible material) 3) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 155, fols 1–​191

Vol. 1 only (Genesis-​Esther)

4) Munich, Jacques Rosenthal, olim Phillipps MS 302 (current location unknown)

Vol. 2 only (Maccabees-​five apocryphal texts)

5) Turin, Bibl. nazionale universitaria, MS L I 1 (gall. 82) (changes source after Gospel Harmony to Second version without prefaces)

Second version without prefaces

6) Brussels, Bibl. royale, MS II.987 (olim Phillipps MS 379)

7) Jena, Thüringer Universitäts-​und Landesbibliothek, MSS El. Fol. 95, fols 1–​352 and El. Fol. 96, fols 55–​291 (in two volumes with some Old French Bible material) 8) New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, MS 129 9) Paris, Bibl. Mazarine, MS 312 (olim 532)

10) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 152, fols 1–​169, 234–​57, 345–​468, 506 (with some Old French Bible material)

11) Rouen, Bibl. municipale, MS A 68, fols 33–​256 (incomplete with some Old French Bible material)

3

C. Macé de La Charité, Bible (in verse, also using Petrus Riga’s Aurora, ca. 1300) 1) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 401

2) Tours, Bibl. municipale, MS 906 (destroyed in 1940) D. Geoffroi de Picquigny, Exposition of the Bible (1321, only Gospels, Acts and Revelation survive) 1) Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica, MS Urb. lat. 11 E. Jean de Sy, Bible (abandoned, only Genesis-​Deuteronomy survive, 1355) 1) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 15397 F. Raoul de Presles, Bible (only Genesis-​Matthew survives, by 1382) Parts of Vol. 1 (Genesis-​Psalms) and Vol. 2 (Proverbs-​Revelation)

1) Paris, BnF, MSS fr. 20065–​6 (Genesis-​III Kings and Wisdom-​Matthew)

2) Paris, BnF, MSS fr. 22885–​6 (Genesis I-​Chronicles and II Chronicles-​Ecclesiasticus) Vol. 1 (Genesis-​Psalms)

3) Grenoble, Bibl. municipale, MS 76 (cat. 42) 4) London, BL, MS Lansdowne 1175 5) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 153

Vol. 2 (Proverbs-​Revelation)

6) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 158 (Proverbs-​II Maccabees) G. Fourteenth-​century Latin-​French “Bible moralisée” (as text-​only Bible, by ca. 1400) 1) Vatican City, Bibl. Apostolica, MS Reg. lat. 25 H. Fifteenth-​century “Bible moralisée” (as text-​only Bible, by ca. 1430) 1) Brussels, Bibl. royale, MSS 9001–​2 (combined with a copy of the composite text)

2) Cambridge, University Library, British and Foreign Bible Society’s Library, MS 205 3) Ghent, Rijksuniversiteit Centrale Bibl., MS 141

4) The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, MS 76 E 7 5) London, BL, MS Add. 15248 6) Paris, BnF, MS fr. 897

7–8) Two incunabula before 1477 (Bettye Thomas Chambers, Bibliography, nos. 4–​5)

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I. Jean Servion, Bible (1462, only Psalms to Revelation survives) 1) Lausanne, Bibl. cantonale et universitaire, MSS U 985–​6 Secondary Sources Arator. Aratoris Subdiaconi Historia apostolica. Edited by A. P. Orban. 2 vols. Turnhout: Brepols, 2006. Avitus. The Fall of Man: De spiritalis historiae gestis libri I–​III. Edited by Daniel J. Nodes. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1985. Berger, Samuel. La Bible française au moyen âge: Étude sur les plus anciennes versions de la Bible écrite en prose en langue d’oïl. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1884. Bogaert, Pierre-​Maurice, Christian Cannuyer, Bernard Chédozeau, Frédéric Delforge, Jean-​François Gilmont, and François Refoulé, eds. Les Bibles en français: histoire illustrée du moyen âge à nos jours. Turnhout: Brepols, 1991. Boyle, Leonard E. “Innocent III and Vernacular Versions of Scripture.” In The Bible in the Medieval World: Essays in Memory of Beryl Smalley, edited by Katherine Walsh and Diana Wood, pp. 97–​107. Studies in Church History, Subsidia 4. Oxford: Published for the Ecclesiastical History Society by Blackwell, 1985. Branner, Robert. Manuscript Painting in Paris during the Reign of Saint Louis: A Study of Styles. California Studies in the History of Art 18. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977. Chambers, Bettye Thomas, ed. Bibliography of French Bibles: Fifteenth-​and Sixteenth-​Century French-​Language Editions of the Scriptures. Travaux d’humanisme et Renaissance 192. Geneva: Droz, 1983. Copeland, Rita. Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation in the Middle Ages: Academic Traditions and Vernacular Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. De Hamel, Christopher. Bibles: An Illustrated History from Papyrus to Print. Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2011. De Hamel, Christopher. The Book: A History of the Bible. London: Phaidon, 2001. De Poerck, Guy. Notions de grammaire historique du français et exercices philologiques. 2 vols. Gent: Story, 1962. Higgleton, Elaine Patricia. “Latin Gospel Exegesis and the Gospel Glosses in the Thirteenth-​Century Old French Translation of the Bible.” 2 vols. PhD thesis, University of St Andrews, 1992. Jauss, Hans Robert, and Erich Köhler, eds. Grundriss der romanischen Literaturen des Mittelalters. Vol. 6 by Jürgen Beyer and Franz Koppe: La littérature didactique, allégorique et satirique. 2 vols. Heidelberg: Winter, 1968–​70. Klopsch, Paul. Einführung in die Dichtungslehren des lateinischen Mittelalters. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1980. Light, Laura. “French Bibles c. 1200–​30: A New Look at the Origin of the Paris Bible.” In The Early Medieval Bible: Its Production, Decoration and Use, edited by Richard Gameson, pp. 155–​76. Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. —​—​. “Versions et révisions du texte biblique.” In Le Moyen Age et la Bible, edited by Pierre Riché and Guy Lobrichon, pp. 55–​93. Bible de tous les temps 4. Paris: Beauchesne, 1984. Lowden, John, The Making of the Bibles moralisées. 2 vols. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000. Lubac, Henri de. Exégèse médiévale: les quatre sens de l’écriture. 4 vols. Théologie 41, 42, 59. Paris: Aubier, 1959–​64. Metzger, Bruce M. The Bible in Translation. Ancient and English Versions. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001. Nobel, Pierre. “La traduction biblique.” In Translations médiévales: cinq siècles de traductions en français au Moyen Âge (XIe–​XVe siècles): étude et répertoire. Vol. 1, pp. 207–​23. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011. Quereuil, Michel. La Bible française du XIIIe siècle: Edition critique de la Genèse. Publications romanes et françaises 183. Geneva: Droz, 1988. Repertorium biblicum medii aevi. Edited by Fridericus Stegmüller, assisted by Nicolaus Reinhardt. 11 vols. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1950–​80. Salvador, Xavier-​Laurent. Vérité et écriture(s). Paris: Champion, 2007. Smalley, Beryl. The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 1983.

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The Old French Bible

Sneddon, Clive R. “The Bible in French.” In The New Cambridge History of the Bible. Vol. 2: From 600 to 1450, edited by Richard Marsden and E. Ann Mutter, pp. 251–​67. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. —​—​. “On the Creation of the Old French Bible.” Nottingham Mediaeval Studies 46 (2002): 25–​44. —​—​. “A Critical Edition of the Four Gospels in the Thirteenth-​Century Old French Translation of the Bible,” 2 vols. D.Phil. thesis, Oxford, 1978, approved 1979. —​—​. “The Old French Bible: The First Complete Vernacular Bible in Western Europe.” In The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception & Performance in Western Christianity, edited by Susan Boynton and Diane J. Reilly, pp. 296–​314. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. —​—​. “The Origins of the Old French Bible: The Significance of Paris, BN, MS fr. 899.” Studi Francesi 43 (1999): 1–​13. —​—​. “Rewriting the Old French Bible: The New Testament and Evolving Reader Expectations in the Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Centuries.” In Interpreting the History of French: A Festschrift for Peter Rickard on the Occasion of his Eightieth Birthday, edited by Rodney Sampson and Wendy Ayres-​Bennett. Faux titre 226, pp. 35–​59. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002. —​—​. Translating the Bible in Mediaeval France: Early Bible Translations into French in the Context of Catholic Europe c.  1050–​1550. Leiden: Brill, forthcoming. Spiele, Ina. Li Romanz de Dieu et de sa Mere d’Herman de Valenciennes chanoine et prêtre (XIIe siècle). Leiden: Presse Universitaire de Leyde, 1975. Stones, Alison, Gothic Manuscripts 1260–​1320. 4 vols. A Survey of Manuscripts illuminated in France. Edited by François Avril and J. J. G. Alexander. London: Harvey Miller, 2013–​14. Clive R. Sneddon began his academic life at St Andrews University as the French Linguistics expert, and is now an Honorary Research Fellow in History. Having been trained as a philologist, he has always been interested in the relationship between society and language, and in how that relationship changes over time, especially in medieval France where Latin took precedence over the vernacular, which then successfully competed with Latin as the language of high culture. The history of biblical translation in France helps us understand that culture, and is the field in which Clive Sneddon has published most.

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3 MIDDLE ENGLISH RELIGIOUS TRANSLATION IAN JOHNSON

In order to give an idea of the repertoire of sacred translating in late medieval England, this chapter examines the attitudes, procedures, and ambitions of translators in a representative and revealing sample of texts, namely the Ormulum; the Psalter commentary-​translation of Richard Rolle; the Early Version and the Later Version of the Wycliffite Bible; the Glossed Gospels; the Stanzaic Life of Christ; Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ; A Mirror to Devout People, and Osbern Bokenham’s Legendys of Hooly Wummen.1 Translators of Middle English religious works were obliged to communicate in the vernacular the sententia (the teaching/​significance) of their sources for the benefit of their readers and hearers. The most intimidating task they might face was translating holy Scripture, whose ultimate author was God himself. Whether they translated the Bible, saints’ lives, visionary revelations, biblical commentaries, liturgical or pastoral works, translators did so under the constraint, permission, and licence of the Church and its traditions of doctrine and interpretation. Biblical and ecclesiastical auctoritas was complemented, however, by another principle, frequently advertised in prologues: that of a good and diligent conscience on the part of the translator. Exculpation through good intent was a powerful resource for the sincere textual labourer. After all, bad faith and impurity of motive (such as intellectual pride) were sins, whereas mere linguistic 1  I would like to thank the anonymous press reader for helpful observations and suggestions for improvement to this chapter. For more detail on the theory and practice of Middle English religious translation, see Lawton, “The Bible,” Gillespie, “Religious Writing,” and Watson, “Theories of Translation.” See also Copeland, Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation, an important and relevant account of medieval translation, even though it does not focus on religious works. For a wide sample of translators’ prologues and statements on translation, see Wogan-​Browne et al., The Idea of Vernacular.

bungling and want of literary talent were not. The Carthusian maker of a fifteenth-​century life of Christ, A Mirror to Devout People, expressed this principle crisply with the plea “ho so cunne not escuse the werke lete hym escuse the entent” (whoever cannot excuse the work, let him excuse the intent).2 What general conception, then, did medieval religious translators have of their craft? We need look no further than the great dictionary of the age, the Catholicon of Joannes Januensis: “translatio est expositio sententie per aliam linguam” (translation is the exposition of meaning/​teaching through/​by another language).3 Translation, then, was akin to commentary or exposition: not only were the linguistic unpacking and re-​ inscription of the source part of the skill-​set of the translator, so too was the interpretative elaboration of its contents.4 Originating in prologues (accessūs) to commentaries, the conventional terminology for appraising canonical works influenced vernacular translators’ descriptions of their own activity. Such categories included utilitas (the utility/​value of a work), intentio (intentionality), nomen libri (title), modus agendi (procedure/​style), ordinatio/​forma tractatus (structure and order of materials), nomen auctoris (name, life [vita auctoris], and status of the author), materia (sources/​subject matter). In the 1300s, the “Aristotelian prologue,” deploying Aristotle’s universal scheme of “Four Causes,” gained ground. Thus, the efficient cause (causa efficiens) was the author. In sacred works, efficient causality may be multiple and 2  A Mirror to Devout People, p. 4. 3  Joannes Januensis, Catholicon, s.v. glossa (unfol.). For the importance in medieval times of the Catholicon, see Orme, English Schools in the Middle Ages, p. 93.

4  For examples drawn from the medieval academic tradition of translating Boethius, which was in method parallel to that of biblical/​ parabiblical rendering, see Johnson, “Walton’s Sapient Orpheus.”

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hierarchically distributed amongst, for instance, God and biblical author, or priest and Holy Ghost. The material cause (causa materialis) was the subject matter/​sources. The formal cause (causa formalis) encompassed structure, style, and the physical layout of the text. The final cause (causa finalis), the objective of both text and author, combined the notions of utilitas and intentio from the earlier accessus.5 Middle English religious translators did not as a rule cast themselves as auctores. The humbler roles they adopted nevertheless gave them considerable textual power. Firstly, as compilers, they were able to select, combine, re-​order, juxtapose, and suppress sources and subject matter.6 Second, translators sometimes adopted the role of commentator: as adjudicators of sententia, commentators chose what authoritative texts actually meant; they mediated authoritative, even divine, textuality. Finally, drawing on the role of the preacher, translators expounded Christian teaching and scriptural textuality in the vernacular, with the grace of God authorizing, licensing, and guiding them in their office of preacher (officium predicatoris) by virtue of ordination.7 John Trevisa, in arguing for vernacular biblical translation, declared preaching and translation to be the same thing: Þanne þe gospel and prophecy and þe ryȝt fey of holy cherche mot be told ham an Englysch, and þat ys noȝt ydo bote by Englysch translacion. Vor such Englysch prechyng ys verrey Englysch translacion, and such Englysch prechyng ys good and neodful; þanne Englysch translacion ys good and neodfol.8 (Then the gospel and prophecy and the true faith of holy Church must be told to them in English, and that is not done but by English translation. For such English preaching is veritable English translation, and such English preaching is good and needful; therefore English translation is good and needful.)

Vernacular religious translation, necessary for all, was about redirecting the power of the source and saving souls. Not 5  For academic literary prologues and literary roles, see Minnis, Medieval Theory of Authorship, pp. 9–​39, 73–​117, 160–​65.

6  The classic study of compilation is Parkes, “Ordinatio and Compilatio.” 7  For a wide-​ranging survey of how the officium praedicatoris was conceived in the later Middle Ages, see Minnis, Fallible Authors, pp.  36–​78. 8  Waldron, “Trevisa’s Original Prefaces on Translation,” pp. 292–​93.

even the most authoritative classical original obligated and exercised the translator as much as sacred texts did. Religious translating was about transferring knowledge and wisdom and about stirring devotion within a broader trans-​linguistic culture rather than about competition between English and Latin. Translators inhabited a culture mutually Latin, vernacular, and Christian. Our earliest example of the repertoire of Middle English religious translation emerged ca. 1180 from a marginalized and ill-​resourced native literary culture in the wake of the Norman Conquest. The Ormulum skilfully mixes gospel harmony, homily, and scriptural commentary in idiosyncratic septenary verse and a home-​made orthography presenting a bizarre sight to modern eyes. With a likely provenance of Bourne Abbey, Lincolnshire, the work of Brother Orm (who named his enterprise after himself) survives scruffily in a manuscript cobbled together from unwanted scraps of parchment and in handwriting that looks like it was “written with a stick.”9 The Ormulum is, however, a work of no little ambition and sophistication in crafting expositions of the Gospels from a wealth of learned Latin and Old English sources, from the Glossa ordinaria to Ælfric.10 The work’s dedicatee, co-​religious (and possible blood-​ brother) “Wallterr,” wishes the local English-​speaking layfolk to follow its lessons: Þu þohhtesst tatt itt mihhte wel Till mikell frame turrnenn, Ȝiff Ennglissh follc, forr lufe off Crist, Itt wollde ȝerne lernenn, 7 follȝhenn itt, 7 fillenn itt Wiþþ þohht, wiþþ word, wiþþ dede.11

(You thought that it might well be turned to great profit, if English people, for the love of Christ, would eagerly learn it, and follow it and fulfil it in thought, in word, in deed.)

Orrm’s service to one within the monastic community is folded into service to many in the outside community of anglophone 9  For this celebrated remark of Professor Parkes, see Worley, “Using the Ormulum,” p. 19. Recent scholarship more often than not refers to the man and his work by his own spelling, “Orrm” and “Orrmulum,” rather than “Orm” and “Ormulum.”

10  For Orrm’s sources, see Morrison, “Sources for the Ormulum,” “Orm’s English Sources,” and “New Sources for the Ormulum.” 11  Orrm, The Ormulum, Dedication, lines 17–​22.

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laity. His is a text not just to be read or heard but followed in thought, word, and deed (to use the liturgical formula). Surrounded by francophones, Orrm would have been a rarity at Bourne as an English-​speaker. His highly systematic spelling and metrical system may have been designed to enable Wallterr, a French speaker, to read out a preaching script from the Orrmulum consistently and comprehensibly even if he had no great command of English.12 This would put Orrm’s translation in the unusual position of being an English rendering of Latin for a non-​anglophone French speaker with an anglophone audience. Orrm’s technique of translation assumes the mixing of the words of the gospel with his own words chosen for elucidating evangelical sententia, “Larspell off Goddspell”: Forr whase mot to læwedd follc Larspell off Goddspell tellenn, He mot wel ekenn maniȝ word Amang Goddspelless wordess.13

(For whosoever should tell the teaching of the gospel to an uneducated people, he must well add many words amongst the Gospel’s words.)

Such translating begets hybrid discourse, the breaking-​up of the original text by the expository insertion of many words. It is up to the translator, given his understanding of audience needs, to decide which words are chosen for insertion and where. When Orrm refers to “Goddspelless wordess,” he is just as likely referring to his own English rendering of the gospels (which he subsequently expounds) as to the Latin he initially quotes. Orrm’s analytic, multiply insertive, semantically elaborative translating is complemented by a synthetic combining of the four evangelical strands into a harmonized whole: Icc hafe sammnedd o þiss boc Þa Goddspelless neh alle, Þatt sinndenn o þe messeboc Inn all þe ȝer att messe. & aȝȝ affterr þe Goddspell stannt Þatt tatt te Goddspell meneþþ, Þatt mann birrþ spellenn to þe follc Off þeȝȝre sawle nede.14

(I have in this book combined nearly all the Gospels that are in the Massbook over the whole 12  For this view, see Worley, “Using the Ormulum.” 13  Orrm, The Ormulum, Dedication, lines 55–​58. 14  Orrm, The Ormulum, Dedication, lines 29–​36.

Middle English Religious Translation

year. And always after the Gospel is placed what the Gospel means—​which must be expounded to the people for their souls’ necessity.)

Orm has a set procedure for the treatment of each gospel passage. After the Gospel has been read in Latin and rendered in English, there shall always (“aȝȝ”) follow an exposition (always lengthy) of what it means spiritually. This liturgical-​scriptural rhythm runs through the whole text. The weekly occasion of the Sunday Mass is thereby partnered and enriched by the vernacular teaching of the deeper meaning of the Gospels for “sawle nede,” edification and salvation. The gospels, the most important books of the Bible, presented no small challenge to the translator: so too did the Psalter, an Old Testament assemblage of poems and personae believed to embody in brief compass the entirety of the Bible. In his Psalter commentary-​translation of the 1340s, the hermit and visionary Richard Rolle, like Orm, pays close attention to the literal sense of the Latin Vulgate as well as to elaborating the sententia allegorically, historically, morally, and anagogically. Like Orm he furnishes his work with a rhetorically adroit prologue accommodating the conventional academic categories of the accessus (“matere,” “entent,” “maner of lare” [modus agendi]). When it comes to discussing his own procedures, he makes a telling distinction—​typical of his time—​between literal-​sense translation and deeper exposition: In the translacioun .i. folow the lettere als mykyll as .i. may. And thare. i. fynd na propire ynglis. i. folow the wit of the worde, swa that thai that sall red it thaim thare noght dred errynge. In expounynge. i. fologh haly doctors.15

(In the translation I follow the letter as much as I may. And where I find no proper English I follow the meaning of the word, so that they who shall read it need not dread erring there. In expounding I follow holy doctors.)

The “lettere” is the literal level of the text: when ad verbum translation does not suffice, because English lacks an equivalent word, Rolle will follow the “wit,” the interpretable literal sense. Expositions of sentence rely on Doctors of the Church, in this case mainly Peter Lombard. As with Orm, Rolle’s method has a rhythm: first of all, he quotes the Latin 15  Rolle, Psalter, pp. 4–​5.

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text; then he closely renders its literal sense; and finally, he expounds the deeper spiritual meaning, eruditely and at length. In this triple movement of interpretation, he shares the conventional outlook of commentaries and theorists like Hugh of St. Victor.16 Rolle’s interpretation of Psalm 2, verse 7 is typical: shorter than usual but still sophisticated in distilling from the words of the text a Christological theology of eternity with elegance and economy: Dominus dixit ad me filius meus es tu:  ego hodie genui te. ¶ Lord sayd til me my son ert thou: this day .i. gat the. ¶ Her he sais that the son is of his fadire withouten bigynnynge, & euen til hym in godhed. for this day bitakyns presens, noght thynge that is gane, or that is at come. and the lastandnes of god euermare is all at ans.17 (The Lord said to me, “you are my son; today I have begotten you.” ¶ The Lord said to me, “you are my son; this day I begot you.” Here he says that the son is of his father without beginning, and equal to him in godhead. For this day betokens the present—​nothing that is gone or that is to come. And the lastingness of God is all at once and evermore.)

(It is worth noting how this passage uses the paraph mark as one of many scribal devices used in copies of the Psalter to distinguish the three levels of the text: Vulgate Latin, literal translation, and commentary.) Rolle’s Trinitarian gloss understands the Son as begotten by the Father in the eternal present, being of one substance with Him in godhead, and thus eternal. There is a deft defining of “this day” as eternity:  a present without past or future. Moreover, “the lastandnes of god euermare is all at ans” (“the lastingness of God is all at once and evermore”) is a complex yet pellucid collocation of concepts that integrates infinite enduringness colloquially with instantaneousness “all at once.” The most ambitious medieval English religious translation was undoubtedly the Wycliffite Bible, produced by a team of Oxford-​based scholars in the 1370s. Although dissenters, the Wycliffites’ translation methodology was impeccably mainstream and reflected the highest standards of the age.18 It also explains why, even after Archbishop Arundel’s repressive 16  Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon, p. 147. 17  Rolle, Psalter, p. 10.

18  See Dove, The First English Bible and Solopova, The Wycliffite Bible.

legislation, drafted in 1407 and promulgated in 1409, so many orthodox aristocrats, gentlefolk, and affluent city-​dwellers owned a manuscript of the Wycliffite Bible; why it survives in more copies than any other Middle English text; and why apparently even Sir Thomas More, doubtless unaware of its heterodox provenance, praised it.19 There is an “Early Version” and a “Later Version” of this work. The former, probably preparatory to the latter, is a meticulous clause-​by-​clause rendering with rather Latinate syntax, whereas the latter resolves Latin idiomatically, reading more fluently. The Early Version, understandably, became a guide to the Latin Bible more readily than the Later Version. The differences between the two versions are palpably consistent, as can be seen from the passage in the Gospel of Matthew on the coming of the Wise Men to the scene of the Nativity: Vulgate and Douay-​Rheims English Version

et ecce stella, quam viderant in oriente, antecedebat eos, usque dum veniens staret supra, ubi erat puer. (and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was.) [10] Videntes autem stellam gavisi sunt gaudio magno valde.

(And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.) [11] Et intrantes domum, invenerunt puerum cum Maria matre ejus, et procidentes adoraverunt eum: et apertis thesauris suis obtulerunt ei munera, aurum, thus, et myrrham.

(And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.) [12] Et responso accepto in somnis ne redirent ad Herodem, per aliam viam reversi sunt in regionem suam.20

19  Hudson, Premature Reformation, p. 24. The negative impact of Arundel’s legislation is discussed in the seminal article by Watson, “Censorship and Cultural Change.” Qualifications to Watson’s approach are to be found passim in Gillespie and Ghosh, After Arundel. 20  Douay-​Rheims Bible, Matthew 2:9–​12.

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(And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country.) Early Version

And loo! the sterre, the whiche thei siȝen in este, wente bifore hem, til that it cummynge stood aboue, wher the child was. Forsothe thei, seeynge the sterre, ioyeden with a ful grete ioye. And thei, entrynge the hous, founden the child with Marie, his modir; and thei fallynge doun worshipiden hym. And her tresours opnyd, thei offreden to hym ȝiftis, gold, encense, and merre. And answer taken in sleep, that thei shulden not turne aȝein to Herode, thei ben turned by an other wey in to her cuntree. (And, lo! The star, which they saw in the east, went before them until, proceeding forth, it stood above where he child was. Truly they, seeing the star, rejoiced with a very great joy. And entering the house, they found the child with Mary, his mother; and, falling down, they worshipped him. And having opened their treasures, they offered to him gifts, gold, incense, and myrrh. And, having received an answer in their sleep that they should not return to Herod, they returned by another way to their country.) Later Version

And lo! the sterre, that thei siȝen in the eest, wente bifore hem, til it cam, and stood aboue, where the child was. And thei siȝen the sterre, and ioyeden with a ful greet ioye. And thei entriden in to the hous, and founden the child with Marie, his modir; and thei felden doun, and worschipiden him. And whanne thei hadden openyd her tresouris, thei offryden to hym ȝiftis, gold, encense, and myrre. And whanne thei hadden take an aunswere in sleep, that thei schulden not turne aȝen to Eroude, thei turneden aȝen bi anothir weie in to her cuntrey.21 (And, lo! The star that they saw in the east went before them until it came and stood above where the child was. And they saw the star, and rejoiced with a very great joy. And they entered into the house, they found the child with Mary, his mother; and they worshipped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they offered to him gifts, gold, incense,

21  The Holy Bible, vol. 4, p. 5.

Middle English Religious Translation

and myrrh. And, when they had received an answer in their sleep that they should not return to Herod, they returned again by another way to their country.)

The Later Version resolves present participles (Videntes, dum veniens, intrantes, procidentes) and ablative absolutes (apertis thesauris, responso accepto). It also changes passive to active: reversi sunt, “thei ben turned aȝein” in the Early Version, becomes “thei turneden aȝein,” which highlights the deliberate decision-​making of the Magi (as also, somewhat more simply, the translator’s understanding in this case that a deponent verb may be translated better by an active in English). Presumably, the translators of the Later Version did not want to give the impression that anything other than free will caused them to change their route home. Here, as elsewhere, the policy of syntactic resolution produces an impression of single chains of action rather than one of sequences of events accompanied or complicated by other contingent or causal events or factors. Though a bold leap into the vernacular, the Wycliffite Bible was also a leap from a position of orthodox academic prestige, because it appropriated mainstream exegetical methodology and the authority of St. Jerome (especially by translating his prefatory epistles).22 Happy not to disturb his saintly glamour, the Wycliffites portrayed Jerome as Jerome portrayed himself—​ as a translator of language and commentator on the literal sense. Jerome’s assessment of the Septuagint as a result of “enformacioun & plentee of wordis” (information and plenty of words) and not a miracle of prophetic inspiration, was a model the Wycliffites took to heart.23 The prologue to the Later Version contains the completest statement extant in English on the philosophy and pragmatics of late medieval vernacular translation.24 Chapter 15 commences with an irrefutable justification of Bible translation from Christ himself: “Crist seiþ þat þe gospel shal be prechid in al þe world” (Christ says that the gospel shall be preached in all the world).25 Care is taken to point out that, in petitioning for the guidance of divine grace, a translator 22  Lindberg, The Middle English Prefatory Epistles of Jerome.

23  Lindberg, The Middle English Prefatory Epistles of Jerome, p. 163.

24  “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15,” pp. 67–​72. Recently, not only the claims of this prologue about the stages of the preparation and the nature of the translating of this Bible but also the role of the “symple creature” have been radically rethought in Kelly, The Middle English Bible (see Chapter 4). 25  “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15,” p. 67.

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haþ nede to lyue a clene lif and be ful deuout in preiers and haue not his wit ocupied aboute worldli þingis, þat þe Holi Spiryt, autour of wisdom and kunnyng and truþe, dresse him in his werk and suffre him not for to erre.26

(must live a clean life and be very devout in prayers and have not his mind occupied with worldly things, in order that the Holy Spirit, the author of wisdom and knowledge and truth, guide him in his work and suffer him not to err.)

The Lollard belief, that without good living a priest’s sermon or sacraments were invalid, has a parallel for the translators. The translation was put together in four stages: First þis symple creature hadde myche trauaile wiþ diuerse felawis and helperis to gedere manie elde biblis, and oþere doctouris and comune glosis, and to make oo Latyn bible sumdel trewe.27 (Firstly, this simple creature had much travail with diverse colleagues and helpers to gather many old Bibles and other doctors and common glosses, and to make one single, somewhat true/​accurate Latin Bible.)

“Elde biblis” (old Bibles) are more reliable than recent ones. Textual criticism will help to establish the most authoritative source, and “oþere doctouris and comune glosis” (other doctors and common glosses) will provide the soundest available readings. On this basis, the best possible source-​text is constructed, “to make oo Latyn bible sumdel trewe” (to make one single, somewhat true/​accurate Latin Bible). The next stage is to “studie it of þe newe, þe text wiþ þe glose, and oþere doctouris as he miȝte gete, and speciali Lire on the elde testament” (study it anew, the text with the gloss, and other doctors he might get, and especially Lyra on the Old Testament).28 The purpose of such study is to understand as robustly as possible the literal sense of the Vulgate “wiþ þe glose” (with the gloss) that is, with the standard Glossa ordinaria and the glosses of Nicholas of Lyra, the greatest exegete of the literal sense, both of which featured as standard in medieval bibles. The third stage is that of tackling problematic words and sentences: “to counseile wiþ elde gramariens and elde dyuynis of harde wordis and harde sentencis, hou þo miȝten best be

vndurstonden and translatid” (to consult ancient grammarians and ancient divines concerning difficult words and difficult sentences, and how they might best be understood and translated).29 “Sentencis” are not only grammatical sentences but also the expoundable meaning of the literal sense. The final stage is to translate the sentence and then to correct the translation collaboratively: “Þe fourþe tyme to translate as cleerli as he coude to þe sentence, and to haue manie gode felawis and kunnynge at þe correcting of þe translacioun” (the fourth time to translate as clearly as he could according to the meaning, and to have many good knowledgeable/​skilled colleagues at the correcting of the translation).30 Again, the correctors should be “gode” (good) as well as intellectually capable. Although the sentence is vitally important, there is a desire to keep close to the letter where possible, as long as it is not to the detriment of the intended literal meaning: First it is to knowe þat þe beste translating is, out of Latyn into English, to translate aftir þe sentence and not oneli aftir þe wordis, so þat þe sentence be as opin eiþer openere in English as in Latyn, and go not fer fro þe lettre; and if þe lettre mai not be suid in þe translating, let þe sentence euere be hool and open, for þe wordis owen to serue to þe entent and sentence, and ellis þe wordis ben superflu eiþer false.31

(Firstly, one should know that the best translating out of Latin and into English is to translate according to the meaning and not only according to the words, so that the meaning in English is as open as, or more open than, it was in Latin, and does not go far from the letter. And if the letter may not be followed in the translating, always let the meaning be whole and open; for the words ought to serve the intent and the meaning, otherwise the words are superfluous or false.)

The translators are typical of their time in appreciating that a multiplicity of expositions of the Bible is beneficial and necessary—​for which Grosseteste’s approval is readily invoked: Þerfore Grosted seiþ þat it was Goddis wille þat diuerse men translatiden, and þat diuerse

26  “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15,” p. 71.

29  “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15,” pp. 67–​68.

28  “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15,” p. 67.

31  “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15,” p. 68.

27  “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15,” p. 67.

30  “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15,” p. 67.

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translacions be in þe chirche, for where oon seide derkli, oon eiþer mo seiden openly.32 (Therefore Grosseteste says that it was God’s will that diverse men translated, and that diverse translations should be in the Church, for where one said darkly, one or more said openly.)

God’s inexhaustible truth is always ready to be expounded again. Medieval religious translators did not seek to make the final version of a source; they accepted that each translation would be somehow incomplete. Hence Trevisa’s lord’s remark: no synfol man doþ so wel þat he ne myȝte do betre, noþer makeþ so good a translacyon þat he ne miȝte make a betre. Þarvore Orygenes made twey translacions and Ierom translatede þryes þe Sauter. Y desire no translacion of þeus bokes, þe beste þat miȝte be, for þat were an ydel desyre vor eny man þat ys now here alyue, bote Ich wolde haue a skylfol translacion þat myȝt be knowe and vnderstonde.33

(no sinful man does so well that he might not do better, nor makes so good a translation that he might not make a better one. Therefore, Origen made two translations and Jerome translated the Psalter thrice. I do not desire the best translation of these books that might be, for that would be an idle desire for any man alive on this earth; but I would have a skillful translation that might be known and understood.)

The Glossed Gospels are, like the Wycliffite Bible, a testimony to such translational revisiting.34 Part of the same corporate project that produced the Wycliffite Bible, the Glossed Gospels extended the hermeneutic output of the Lollards and therefore the overall repertoire of Middle English religious translation. Not so much glossed gospels as extensive commentaries on each Gospel, the Glossed Gospels were apparently made not for immediate lay consumption but for those who taught the laity. Like the Wycliffite Bible, they were overwhelmingly mainstream in their scholarship, and, save for the provocation towards the likes of Archbishop Arundel of daring to be in English, only intermittently “unsafe” in their politics or theology. Each Gospel is divided into short passages taken from the Wycliffite Bible; these are broken up further and commented 32  “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15,” p. 71. 33  Waldron, “Trevisa’s Original Prefaces,” p. 293.

34  For discussion and edited extracts, see Hudson, Doctors in English.

Middle English Religious Translation

upon in the manner of learned Latin commentary. Each division (technically a “lemma”) is accorded a series of newly vernacularized expositions drawn from Doctors of the Church named at the end of each gloss. As with Rolle’s Psalter, there is a repeated cycle of quotation/​close translation followed by spiritual, historical, or moral interpretation. The Glossed Gospels demonstrate, as do Rolle and Orm, that Holy Scripture’s excess of sentence cannot be accommodated in one rendering of the literal sense. They also show that biblical literal-​sense translation and elaboration of sentence necessarily go together. Their glosses continue the trajectory of translation, or, rather, add several trajectories of exposition suitable for preaching to the laity. A multiplicity of sentence is articulated here not by multiple expositions of a whole text but by multiple expositions within a text at the level of the lemma. The Glossed Gospels thus have a function of assembling, lemma by lemma, a vernacular reservoir of interpretative possibilities authenticated by Doctors of the Church in a network of holy voices and dicta woven into the words of Holy Scripture, to be digested and re-​performed diversely according to diverse needs by individual preachers, teachers, readers, and listeners. Although rebellious against the ecclesiastical establishment, the Wycliffites exercised attitudes utterly mainstream and respectable, as did the next, totally orthodox, translator to be considered here. Composed at much the same time as the Lollard Bible, probably at St. Werburgh’s Abbey, Chester, the Stanzaic Life of Christ holds the Vulgate at arm’s length.35 It is still, however, a profoundly biblical translation, even though its immediate sources are Ranulph Higden’s Polychronicon, a universal history incorporating Christ’s life, and the Legenda aurea of Jacobus de Voragine, a collection of holy lives geared to the church year and to providing preaching materials. The Stanzaic Life is a highly systematic compendium of Christological knowledge. Topics are labelled, divided, subdivided, and enumerated in the manner of a reference work. For example, Christ’s sufferings fall into thematic subdivisions, with no passion narrative to prompt the emotions of readers/​listeners. The Stanzaic Life was commissioned by a layman wanting to know on good authority in English about things he had seen written in Latin concerning Christ’s life: 35  For discussion of the Middle English Life of Christ and translation, see Johnson, The Middle English life of Christ. For the translation of texts and culture from cloister to laity, see Rice, Lay Piety.

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A worthy wyght wylned at me Sertayn þyngus for to showe, Þat in Latyn wrytun saw he,

In Englissh tonge, for to knowe Of Ihesu Cristes Natiuite And his werkus on a rowe, To the whiche by good Auctorite He myghte triste and fully knowe.36

(A worthy individual desired of me to show him in the English tongue certain things that he saw written in Latin, in order to know about Jesus Christ’s Nativity and his works in order—​which he might trust and know fully on good authority.)

The poet takes transparent care to accompany quoted Latin authorities, sometimes before, sometimes after, with expansive and energetic translations into English stanzas. The lay vernacular reader/​ listener is instructed to consider each issue carefully, secure in the knowledge that each rendering is rooted in a named Latin witness: Ther-​fore þat redeþ here wyth-​ynne, Rewarde þe mater of euery resoun, And trewe wyttenesse, as haue I wynne, Writen he shal fynde redy boun.37

(Therefore, whoever reads within this, consider the subject matter of every point/​argument, and he shall find ready at hand true witnesses, as I hope for joy.)

Paralleling the Latin witnesses within the English text is the assumed presence, within the listening community, of Latinate clerks able to vouch for the Latin source and for the soundness of the translation: that I in Latyn thenke to say, for lettert men that sitten by to conferme this in gode faye.38

(that I am minded to say in Latin for literate men, who sit at hand, to confirm this in good faith.)

Just before the poet-​translator quotes a Latin passage by Peter of Ravenna on Christ’s staying in the sepulchre for three days, he claims that his English exposition will be “more verray” (truer) than the Latin: 36  Stanzaic Life, lines 9–​16.

37  Stanzaic Life, lines 21–​24.

38  Stanzaic Life, lines 7149–​52.

As Petre Rauenne wel con say, In Latyn as I shal specify, And after in Englisch more verray for lewet men that her ben by:

Petrus Rauennas: Tres enim dies voluit esse sue sepulture, que in celo sunt, restauraturus, que in terra, reparaturus, 7 que apud inferos, reparaturus.39 (as Peter of Ravenna can well say, as I shall specify in Latin, and afterwards in truer English for unlearned men who are here at hand. Peter of Ravenna: three days he willed to be in his sepulchre because he would restore what was in heaven, because he would repair what was on earth, and because he would repair that which was in the infernal domain.)

Inasmuch as Peter “wel con say” (can well say) he is valorized by the translator, but how is the English “more verray” (truer)? Perhaps the Stanzaic Life could be said to be “more verray” than the Latin because of its greater elaboration (expanded into three stanzas) of such issues as restoration from guilt, the attainment of grace, reparation for what man did amiss, and the meekness of Christ’s death as an instrument for teaching the way to bliss. The English provides authoritative doctrine significantly beyond the letter of what Peter says. It also counterpoints, more explicitly than Peter, the three days in the sepulchre against the theologically significant trio of heaven, earth, and hell. In this passage, the Stanzaic Life may lack the economy and rhetorical euphony of the Latin, but it does provide clearer, richer, and more contextualized teaching: this, then, is “Englisch more verray,” showing more truth more explicitly than the Latin. Such extrapolation of scriptural and doctrinal matter represents another Middle English variation on the repertoire of expositio sententie per aliam linguam. The Carthusian Prior of Mount Grace Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ (ca. 1410) extrapolated scriptural and doctrinal matter in a more meditative fashion. It survives in more manuscripts than any other Middle English prose work apart from the Lollard Bible, and was printed nine times before 1535. It is a version of the pseudo-​Bonaventuran Meditationes vitae Christi, one of the most influential works in the international mainstream of Franciscan piety, which was translated many times into several European vernaculars. It was publicly licensed and commended as a set text for the 39  Stanzaic Life, lines 7149–​52.

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whole nation by the archbishop of Canterbury himself, who mandated it for the edification of the faithful and the confutation of all false Lollards and heretics.40 Having declared in his proheme that the life of Christ is the supreme literary genre, outdoing all other works written in Holy Church and benefiting all Christians in moving them towards hope of heaven, Love tells his readers that he has alighted on a work “more pleyne in certeyne partyes þan is expressed in the gospell of þe foure euaungelistes” (more clear/​full in certain parts than is expressed in the gospel of /​ by the four evangelists).41 It not only informs the reader about the events of the life of Christ, teaching the doctrinal basics and the exemplary morality arising from it, but it also engages the meditating imaginations of readers and hearers, drawing them affectively into the mise-​en-​scène of the unfolding holy drama and stirring their sympathy for Christ suffering in his humanity, thereby provoking compunction, penitence, and prayer, and leaving them afterwards with vivid experiences to ruminate in their personal pursuit of virtue and heaven. Love’s version excludes higher contemplative materials and episodes covering Christ’s Ministry, concentrating more on emotions and virtues necessary to religious and lay alike. He accordingly refers to his work as: þis drawynge oute of þe forseide boke of cristes lyfe wryten in englysche with more putte to in certeyn partes and wiþdrawyng of diuerse auctoritis and maters as it semeth to þe wryter hereof moste spedefull & edifyng to hem þat bene of symple vndirstondyng.42 (this translation of the aforesaid book of Christ’s life, written in English with more added in certain parts and omitting diverse authorities and matters, as it seems to the writer hereof to be most advantageous and edifying to them that are of simple understanding.)

Reimagining Christ’s life means imagining things not explicit in the Gospels. Love therefore tells his readers that their licence to imagine is only for the time being—​provisional for stirring devout emotions—​and that they must not believe anything unbiblical or unsanctioned by Holy Church: “it sal be taken none oþerwyes þan as a deuoute meditacion, þat it miȝte 40  For this and more information on this work, see Sargent’s introduction to Love, Mirror. 41  Love, Mirror, p. 10. 42  Love, Mirror, p. 10.

Middle English Religious Translation

be so spoken or done” (it shall be taken in no other wise than as a devout meditation that might be so spoken or done).43 Throughout his elegant and discriminating translation, Love guides the imaginations of his readers firmly but sensitively. As a good compiler, he differentiates his own interventions (such as anti-​Lollard polemic or his comments on how he has amended the original) by the initials “N” (Nicholas) and “B” (Bonaventure). He also makes his text more user-​friendly by rearranging materials after the days of the week. Twenty or so years later, a fellow-​Carthusian of Sheen set about a life of Christ for a Birgittine nun of Syon Abbey. Already intimidated by the thought that Bonaventure had written a life of Christ, he felt like giving up altogether on hearing that another Carthusian, presumably Love, had beaten him to it in English. Fortunately, his prior, so we are to believe, talked him out of his pious wobble, and he ended up writing an engaging and resourceful life of Christ in the pseudo-​Bonaventuran fashion, albeit without drawing enormously on the Meditationes vitae Christi.44 A Mirror to Devout People is remarkable for proceeding directly from the Latin Vulgate informed by the most prestigious commentary on the literal sense, Nicholas of Lyra’s Literal Postil, and by the Latin Bible’s greatest historical commentary, Peter Comestor’s Historia scholastica. Together, these provide the best possible access to that which needs to be imagined. A Mirror also draws on a remarkable array of other sources—​Doctors of the Church, vernacular writers like Hilton and Mandeville, and female visionaries like St. Bridget of Sweden, Catherine of Siena, and Mechthild of Hackeborn.45 Reliance on trustworthy sources is bolstered, equally conventionally, by the security of a good conscience and of “opyn resun” (open reason), for explicit reasoning is adequate for anyone to grasp: Ferthyrmore, gostly syster, ȝe schal vndyrstande that þe grounde of the boke folowynge ys þe gospel and doctorys goynge thervpon. And specyally I haue folowyd in þys werke tueyne doctorys, of the whyche þat one ys comunely called the Maystyr of Storyis, and hys boke in Englyisch the Scole Storye; that othyr maystyr, Nycholas of Lyre, þe whyche was a worthy doctur of dyuynytee and glosyde all the Byble as to the lettural vndyrstandynge. And therfore I take

43  Love, Mirror, p. 11.

44  A Mirror to Devout People, pp. 3–​4.

45  For discussion of sources, see A Mirror to Devout People, pp.  xxxii–​xlv.

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these tueyne doctorys most specyally as to thys werke, for they goo neryste to the storye and the lettural vndyrstandynge of eny doctorys that I haue red. Notwythstandynge, I haue browgth inne othyr doctorys in diuerse placys, as to the moral vertuys, and also summe reuelacyonys of approuyd wymmen. And I haue put nothynge too of myne owen wytt but that I hope maye trewly be conseyuyd be opyn resun and goode conscyence, for that I holde sykyrest.46

(Furthermore, spiritual sister, you shall understand that the ground of the following book is the gospel and the doctors going thereupon. And I have especially followed in this work two doctors—​one of whom is commonly called the Master of Histories and his book, in English, the Scholastic History; the other master is Nicholas of Lyra, who was a worthy doctor of divinity and glossed all the Bible with regard to the literal sense. And therefore I take these two doctors most especially for this work, for they go nearest to the history and the literal sense amongst any doctors that I have read. I have, notwithstanding, brought in other doctors in diverse places, with regard to the moral virtues, and also some revelations of approved women, and I have added nothing of my own invention except that which I hope may truly be conceived by open reason and good conscience, for that I hold surest.)

that a sympyl man schulde do sueche a werke aftyr so worthy a man as Bonauenture was, sygth he wrote of the same matere, hyt mygth be ansueryd to þe satisfaccyon of hys conscyence thus: Ther ben foure euangelyst that wryten of the manhede of oure Lorde Ihesu Cryste and ȝytt alle wryten wel and trewly and that one leuyth anothyr supplyeth. Also the doctorys of Holy Chyrche exponen the same euangelyis þat they wrote diuerse wysys to the conforte of Crystyn peple, and ȝytt alle ys goode to Crysten peple and necessarye and profytable.47

(Furthermore, lest any man, who might afterwards read the following book, should conceive temptation that a simple man is suitable to perform such a work following so worthy a man as Bonaventure, since he wrote of the same matter, it might be answered to the satisfaction of his conscience thus. There are four evangelists who write of the manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and yet all of them write well and truly, and what one leaves, another makes up for. Also, the doctors of Holy Church expound the Gospels as being written in diverse ways to the comfort of Christian people, and yet all is good to Christian people and necessary and profitable.)

Despite his initial hesitancy, the Monk of Sheen shows confidence, enterprise, and agility in weaving together many diverse sources over thirty-​ three chapters. For example, Chapter three, on the Annunciation, turns to the Gospel of St. Luke, Paschasius Radbertus, St. Quodvultdeus, Nicholas of Lyra, and Catherine of Siena/​Raymond of Capua, whereas Chapter 29, on the Resurrection, makes use of the Gospel of Matthew, Peter Comestor, Mechthild, Nicholas of Lyra, Jacobus de Voragine, and the Sarum Mass of the Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin. A Mirror contains a masterful prologue, fluently and idiomatically reworking (as does Nicholas Love) the chief categories of the accessus. Here, our Carthusian justifies his supplement to the vita Christi tradition through the conventional invocation of the incompleteness of each individual gospel as a precedent for further rendering of the same material:

Obedience to this evangelical imperative is resourceful obedience, deftly expressed here in pious rhetoric. After vernacularizing Holy Scripture under the watchful eye of the Almighty, the second most intimidating challenge facing translators was rendering the life of saints, who also looked down from heaven on translators labouring in their service. Hagiographic translators petitioned for intercessory grace from their saints, who were the very subject matter and chief protagonists of their narratives. Not only were saints able to guide literary efforts, they could even repay translators by interceding to ease the process of salvation by lessening time in Purgatory. Medieval people often had intensely personal relationships with their saints, who may have helped them in their direst hours of sickness or distress. A special way of serving a saint was to write his or her life, for which the saint might show intercessory gratitude. The hagiographer was also able to petition his readers and listeners to pray for him each time they used his work. Transcendent interpersonal logistics therefore shaped the procedures of hagiographic translators. A lively example is the mid-​fifteenth-​century East Anglian Augustinian friar

46  A Mirror to Devout People, p. 6.

47  A Mirror to Devout People, p. 4.

Ferthyrmore lest eny man that mygth aftyrwarde rede the boke folowynge schulde conseyue temptacyon

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Osbern Bokenham who, in his Legendys of Hooly Wummen, translated a number of female saints’ lives into verse from the Legenda aurea for named gentlewomen. These are frequently accompanied by chatty self-​comment. His life of St. Margaret is prefaced by an extraordinary autobiographical Aristotelian prologue—​ an endearing hybrid of scholastic discourse and gossipy piety, in which the Four Causes serve as a highly elastic structure for mixing garrulous self-​ explanation, rhetorical manoeuvring, and anecdote.48 Amongst other topics, he tells us how St. Margaret saved him from a tyrant in a Venetian fen; at another point, he exhorts his friend Thomas Borgh to conceal his feeble text from sneering Cambridge wits; and if Thomas happens to fail in hiding his work he must not reveal the name of the translator, but excuse him by saying that he sold “Goode hors at feyrys” (Good horses at fairs).49 Though hagiographical translators were not under the same pressure as those reworking Scripture, their task was still momentous. Bokenham accordingly prays for the grace of God to assist him.50 Typical of hagiography is the petitioning of saints for grace. St. Margaret is accordingly invoked in prayer as if she were a Christian Muse, so that Bokenham’s understanding and eloquence may be illuminated beyond their normal powers: Vouchesaf of thy singuler grace, lady, My wyt and my penne so to enlumyne Wyth kunnyng & eloquence that suffycyently Thy legende begunne I may termyne.51

(Vouchsafe of your singular grace, lady, so to illumine my wit and my pen with skill and eloquence, that I may sufficiently complete your legend that I have begun.)

Middle English Religious Translation

The prayer closing the legend of St. Feyth beseeches intercession and a consequent cleansing of sin, to speed Osbern through Purgatory as a reward for translating her legend—​all the more intimate a business because he was born on her feast day: And specyaly, lady, for þi passyoun, Shewe h[i]‌m þe grace of singulere fauour Wych in-​to ynglyssh of pure deuocyoun Of þi legend was þe translatour. Graunth hym, lady, in hys last our Of lyuyng, so to be clensyd fro synne Wych on þi day to lyuyn fyrst dyde begyn.52

(And especially, lady, on account of your passion, show the grace of singular favour to him who out of pure devotion was the translator of your legend into English. Grant him, lady, in his last hour of living, to be cleansed thereby from sin, who on your day did first begin to live.)

Even more affectionately, Bokenham addresses Cycyle, Feyth, and Barbara as “hys valentyns” (his valentines).53 He also requests his saints to intercede on behalf of his legends’ dedicatees, as, for example, with John and Isabella Hunt.54 For all his idiosyncrasies, Bokenham shared a fundamental ideology not only with the other translators discussed in this chapter, but with religious translators in general, who participated in a rich and flexible learned tradition. This tradition supported translators in discharging their duties, and provided them with the reassurance that the shortcomings of their efforts could be compensated for by the efforts of fellow-​translators. More importantly, if their intentions were good, they could escape not only blame on earth but also reap eternal reward in the hereafter.

48  Bokenham, Legendys of Hooly Wummen, lines 1–​240.

52  Bokenham, Legendys of Hooly Wummen, lines 4028–​34; for line 4029, “him,” see Serjeantson’s edition, n4.

51  Bokenham, Legendys of Hooly Wummen, lines 333–​36.

54  Bokenham, Legendys of Hooly Wummen, lines 4974–​81.

49  Bokenham, Legendys of Hooly Wummen, line 218.

50  Bokenham, Legendys of Hooly Wummen, lines 931–​37.

53  Bokenham, Legendys of Hooly Wummen, lines 8272–​ 84; this quotation is line 8278.

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Bibliography Primary Sources Bokenham, Osbern. Legendys of Hooly Wummen by Osbern Bokenham. Edited by Mary S. Serjeantson. Early English Text Society, o.s., 206. London: Oxford University Press, 1938. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, with the Apocryphal Books, in the Earliest English Versions Made from the Latin Vulgate by John Wycliffe and his Followers. Edited by Josiah Forshall and Frederick Madden. 4 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1850. Hugh of St. Victor. The Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor: A Medieval Guide to the Arts. Edited by Jerome Taylor. Records of Western Civilisation. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. Joannes Januensis. Catholicon. Mainz: printer uncertain, 1460; repr. Westmead: Gregg, 1971. Lindberg, Conrad, ed. The Middle English Prefatory Epistles of Jerome. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1978. Love, Nicholas. Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ: A Critical Edition Based on Cambridge University Library Additional MSS 6578 and 6686. Edited by Michael G. Sargent. Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2005. A Mirror to Devout People (Speculum Devotorum). Edited by Paul J. Patterson. Early English Text Society, o.s., 346. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016 (for 2015). Orrm, The Ormulum. Edited by R. Holt. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1878. “Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, Chapter 15.” In Selections from English Wycliffite Writings, edited by Anne Hudson, pp. 67–​72. Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching 38. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997. Rolle, Richard. The Psalter, or Psalms of David and Certain Canticles, with a Translation and Exposition in English by Richard Rolle of Hampole. Edited by H. R. Bramley. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1884. A Stanzaic Life of Christ Compiled from Higden’s Polychronicon and the Legenda Aurea Edited from MS. Harley 3909. Edited by Frances A. Foster, EETS, o.s., 166. London: Oxford University Press, 1926. Waldron, Ronald A. “Trevisa’s Original Prefaces on Translation: A Critical Edition.” In Medieval English Studies Presented to George Kane, edited by Edward Donald Kennedy, Ronald A. Waldron, and Joseph S. Wittig, pp. 285–​99. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1988. Wogan-​Browne, Jocelyn, Nicholas Watson, Andrew Taylor, and Ruth Evans, eds. The Idea of the Vernacular: An Anthology of Middle English Literary Theory, 1280–​1520. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. Secondary Sources Copeland, Rita. Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation in the Middle Ages: Academic Traditions and Vernacular Texts. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 11. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Dove, Mary. The First English Bible: The Text and Context of the Wycliffite Versions. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 66. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Gillespie, Vincent. “Religious Writing.” In The Oxford History of Literary Translation in English. Vol. 1: To 1550. Edited by Roger Ellis, pp. 234–​83. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Gillespie, Vincent, and Kantik Ghosh, eds. After Arundel: Religious Writing in Fifteenth-​Century England. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011. Hudson, Anne. Doctors in English:  The Study of the Wycliffite Gospel Commentaries. Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015. —​—​. The Premature Reformation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988. Johnson, Ian R. The Middle English Life of Christ: Academic Discourse, Translation, and Vernacular Theology. Medieval Church Studies 30. Turnhout: Brepols, 2013. —​—​. “Walton’s Sapient Orpheus.” In The Medieval Boethius: Studies in the Vernacular Translations of “De Consolatione Philosophiae,” edited by Alastair J. Minnis, pp. 139–​68. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1987. Kelly, Henry Ansgar. The Middle English Bible: A Reassessment. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

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Lawton, David. “The Bible.” In The Oxford History of Literary Translation in English. Vol. 1: To 1550. Edited by Roger Ellis, pp. 193–​233. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Minnis, Alastair J. Fallible Authors: Chaucer’s Pardoner and Wife of Bath. The Middle Ages Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. —​—​. Medieval Theory of Authorship: Scholastic Literary Attitudes in the Later Middle Ages. London: Scolar, 1984. Morrison, Stephen. “New Sources for the Ormulum.” Neophilologus 68 (1984): 444–​50. —​—​. “Orm’s English Sources.” Archiv 221 (1984): 54–​64. —​—​. “Sources for the Ormulum.” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 84 (1983): 419–​36. Orme, Nicholas. English Schools in the Middle Ages. London: Methuen, 1973. Parkes, Malcom B. “The Influence of the Concepts of Ordinatio and Compilatio on the Development of the Book.” In Malcolm. B. Parkes, Scribes, Scripts and Readers: Studies in the Communication, Presentation and Dissemination of Medieval Texts, pp. 35–​69. London: Hambledon Press, 1991. Rice, Nicole R. Lay Piety and Religious Discipline in Middle English Literature. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 73. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Solopova, Elizabeth. The Wycliffite Bible: Origin, History and Interpretation. Medieval and Renaissance Authors and Texts 16. Leiden: Brill, 2017. Watson, Nicholas. “Censorship and Cultural Change in Late-​Medieval England: Vernacular Theology, the Oxford Translation Debate, and Arundel’s Constitutions of 1409.” Speculum 70 (1995): 822–​64. —​—​. “Theories of Translation.” In The Oxford History of Literary Translation in English. Vol. 1: To 1550, edited by Roger Ellis, pp. 73–​97. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Worley, Meg. “Using the Ormulum to Redefine Vernacularity.” In The Vulgar Tongue: Medieval and Postmedieval Vernacularity, edited by Nicholas Watson and Fiona Somerset, pp. 19–​30. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. Online Source Douay-​Rheims Bible and Latin Vulgate, at www.drbo.org. Ian Johnson is Reader in English and a member of the Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of St Andrews. He is founding General Editor of The Mediaeval Journal and was for many years General Editor of Forum for Modern Language Studies. With Alastair Minnis he edited The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Volume II. The Middle Ages, and has published widely on Middle English literature, with particular interests in Latin and vernacular traditions of medieval literary theory and conceptions and practices of translation. His latest books are The Middle English Life of Christ: Academic Discourse, Translation and Vernacular Theology and The Pseudo-​Bonaventuran Lives of Christ: Exploring the Middle English Tradition, edited with Allan Westphall. He is working on a study of the translation of Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae in late medieval England and Scotland.

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4 BIBLE TRANSLATION AND CONTROVERSY IN LATE MEDIEVAL ENGLAND HENRY ANSGAR  KELLY

The Two Versions of the Middle English Bible It was not until the latter part of the fourteenth century that the whole Bible was translated into English, first in a very literal form (the Early Version), which was then revised into more fluent prose (the Later Version). Following the lead of the editors of the 1850 edition, Josiah Forshall and Frederic Madden,1 the combined result is sometimes referred to as the “Wyclif(fe) Bible,”2 or the “Lollard Bible,”3 or, most frequently, the “Wycliffite Bible.”4 Sometimes, however, it goes by the neutral designation of “Middle English Bible,”5 which I follow, since I do not think that the case for Wycliffite content, origin, or reception has been made. Not a single word or phrase in either version has been identified as having heterodox import. Furthermore, although both Wyclif and two of his followers, Nicholas Hereford and John Purvey, used to be confidently considered to be among the translators, that is no longer the case. Finally, the texts were widely copied and used in impeccably orthodox circumstances, and, contrary to frequent assertions, neither version was prohibited by the Canterbury constitutions formulated at Oxford in 1407.6 These matters will be discussed below. The Earlier Version of the Middle English Bible seems have been done at Oxford in the 1370s or so, with the Later Version revision probably occurring sometime in the 1380s. Both forms, but especially the Later Version, became very popular, surviving in many manuscripts. A number of theories 1  Forshall and Madden, The Holy Bible.

have been put forth as to why the work of translation was done in stages. One is that the Early Version was originally designed to help the parish clergy that came to Oxford for a few years of study, in order to increase their understanding of the Latin Bible. Another is that it was done to ensure that the exact meaning of the Latin Scripture was being transferred into English before it was modified into less awkward idioms. Sven Fristedt has suggested that the revision was due to a change in translation philosophy, from grammatical and literal fidelity to a more elastic conception of meaning. He has found evidence that John Trevisa first translated Higden’s Polychronicon in a way that resembles the Early Version and then later revised it according to Later Version principles.7 It has long been asserted that Trevisa took part in creating the Middle English Bible.8 Another person who was even earlier associated with the Early Version was Nicholas Hereford who, like Trevisa, arrived at Queen’s College in Oxford in 1369.9 Hereford would later be convicted of holding some of the extreme views of Wyclif that were condemned at Blackfriars in 1382. The only contemporary account of the process by a participant in the translation of the Middle English Bible is in a treatise which we can call Five and Twenty Books from its incipit. It is found in a few manuscripts of the Later Version10 as a prologue to the Old and New Testament, and is often spoken of by scholars as the “General Prologue.”11 Its author was the author also of the prologue to the Later Version’s

2  Fristedt, The Wycliffe Bible.

7  Fristedt, The Wycliffe Bible, pt. 3, p. 88.

5  Lindberg, The Middle English Bible.

10  Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 14–​15.

3  Deanesly, The Lollard Bible.

4  For example, Lindberg, The Earlier Version of the Wycliffite Bible. 6  Kelly, The Middle English Bible.

8  Fowler, The Bible in Early English Literature, pp. 166–​67. 9  Hudson, The Premature Reformation, p. 241. 11  See Chapter 3.

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Isaiah,12 and he may have intended the original form of Five and Twenty Books (the first fourteen chapters) to be an introduction to all of the books of the Old Testament exclusive of the Apocrypha. (He was noteworthy for his belief that the Deutero-​Canonical books were not inspired.) One can speculate that it was rejected as such by the Later Version team because of its Wycliffite sentiments, and then the author added a final chapter in which he calls himself “a symple creature,” takes credit for the whole enterprise, and purports to describe how it came to pass.13 In some ways Five and Twenty Books belies the evidence before us in the Middle English Bible. The author claims, for instance, that a great deal of time and effort was spent examining various copies of the Vulgate in order to arrive at a sound Latin text before any translation actually began. No evidence for such a process appears in any of the Early Version and Later Version manuscripts: Latin variants are never cited. Rather, what we often find are alternative English renderings for individual Latin words. Another thing that does not ring true about the treatise is that the author treats the project as a one-​time rendering into the Later Version text, with no indication that there was the intermediate Early Version stage. Furthermore, some of the statements made in the last chapter on translation policy, for instance, use of “forsooth” and “forwhy” as narrative connectives for tamen and enim, and ways of rendering the prepositions ex and secundum are out of touch with the actual practice of the Later Version. That said, however, several of the policies stated in the chapter do correspond with what is found in the Later Version. Notable among them is the directive to resolve all Latin absolute forms into finite constructions in the English text. That indeed is what is found in the Later Version, whereas in the Early Version all absolute constructions are faithfully rendered.14 Indeed, the Later Version revisers made the radical decision to eliminate all participles, both past and present, which was hardly idiomatic. The author’s insistence on resolving the ambiguities in the Latin constructions betrays a determination to produce clarity in the translation at the expense of accuracy: he hopes that the result will not only be as clear as the original, but even clearer. That is, the original passages admit of various 12  Forshall and Madden, The Holy Bible, vol. 3, pp. 225–​26; Dove, The Earliest Advocates of the English Bible, pp. 86–​88. 13  Forshall and Madden, The Holy Bible, vol. 1, pp. 56–60; Prologue, chap. 15; also Dove, The Earliest Advocates, pp. 80–​85. 14  Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 22–​25, 44–​46, 167–​91.

meanings, only one of which is chosen by the translator, thereby falsifying the text by making certain what is specifically uncertain in Scripture. He does, however, speak of the necessity of relying on divine support for understanding God’s word, which in effect translates into an assurance of inspiration in making his improvements in Holy Writ.

Opinions about Englishing the Bible

Neither John Wyclif nor any of his known disciples had anything to say about producing vernacular versions of the Scriptures, but one chronicler at least, Henry Knighton, speaking of the time around 1382 when Wycliffite errors were condemned, reported the rumor that Wyclif in particular or the Lollards in general had translated the Gospels into English. Knighton’s fear was not that the translation was erroneous or heretical in some way, but rather that there was danger in exposing the laity to the Scriptures without the mediation of the clergy.15 The only early Wycliffite voice we have on this matter is the author of Five and Twenty Books, who asserts that simple men can profit from the Scriptures, even the “dark places” therein, without any but heavenly guidance. But he is not thinking of their learning truths and doctrines, but rather being taught meekness and charity.16 He does not urge the reading of Scripture to find out truths that have been suppressed, but rather maintains that the Gospel contains all that is necessary for salvation, and considers it heretical to insist on the necessity of observing later ceremonies and statutes invented in the time of Satan and Antichrist.17 The only argument that he cites by the opponents of translating the Bible into English is that the four Doctors of the Church did not dare to do it. He considers this objection so ridiculous that it deserves no answer, for those doctors were not English. Besides, Jerome did translate the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin, a common language like English. He cites Bishop Grosseteste, drawing on St. Augustine, as saying that it was God’s will for the Church to have different translations, for where some give the meaning obscurely others will give it more clearly. Bede and King Alfred, the founder of Oxford University, translated parts of the Bible into 15  Martin, Knighton’s Chronicle, pp. 242–​45.

16  Forshall and Madden, The Holy Bible, vol. 1, p. 2: Prologue, chap. 1; Dove, The Earliest Advocates, p. 5. 17  Forshall and Madden, The Holy Bible, vol. 1, p. 3: Prologue, chap. 2; Dove, The Earliest Advocates, pp. 6–​7.

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the English of their day. Nowadays, the French, Bohemians, Bretons, and others have the Bible and other books of devotion translated into their mother tongue, so why should not the English people? It must only be because of the falseness and negligence of clerks, or perhaps God is keeping such a great gift from them because of their sins. He prays God to remedy these evils and make our people have and know and truly keep Holy Writ.18 Well after the Middle English Bible was completed in both forms, we hear of debates about the advisability of rendering Scripture into the vernacular. A fragmentary determination against translation survives, delivered at Oxford in 1401 or early 1402. It is the work of a Franciscan friar, William Butler, a doctor in theology. He was responding to persons who, it was reported to him, had defended the idea of translating the Scriptures. Butler argues that translations easily give rise to errors, and experience shows that they often lead to heresy. He cites the teaching of St. Augustine, who warns against reading the Book of Ecclesiastes without learned assistance. Listening is far less dangerous than reading for the poorly educated. Bishops should not be criticized for not allowing the lower orders to read the Bible; their proper occupation should be work, not study. He quotes Nicholas of Lyra on the Old Testament elders who knew the writings of the law and the prophets, while the lesser people, that is, the laity, knew only what was essential to salvation. Moses did not give the commandments to the people to read but to hear.19 The last arguments, of course, are not against translation, since the Scriptures were already in the mother tongue of the Hebrews. Another scholar who dealt with the subject of Bible translation was the Dominican friar William Palmer, who finished his doctorate in theology at Oxford in 1393. He may have written his Latin treatise De translatione sacrae scripturae in linguam barbaricam (On the Translation of Holy Scripture into a Barbarous Tongue)20 during his time at Oxford,21 or later. He was prior at Blackfriars, London, from 1397 to 1407, and in 1398 he authored a determination there in the schools of St. Paul’s on the allowability of religious images.22 18  Forshall and Madden, The Holy Bible, vol. 1, p. 59: Prologue, chap. 15; Dove, The Earliest Advocates, pp. 83–​84. 19  Butler, Contra translationem Anglicanam, pp. 401–​18.

20  Palmer, De translatione sacrae scripturae in linguam barbaricam, title corrected by Linde. Deanesly’s defective edition is in The Lollard Bible, pp. 418–37. I cite the manuscript text. 21  See Linde, “Arguing with Lollards.”

22  Hudson, The Premature Reformation, p. 93.

Bible Translation and Controversy

Palmer’s treatise on translation is a rather confused scholastic exercise which starts out with arguments favoring complete translation of the Scriptures, followed by arguments against, followed in turn with other objections on both sides. His own view, however, clearly emerges: the parts of Scripture that are necessary or important for salvation should indeed be translated, but the bulk of the sacred text should remain in its current Latin form. In fact, many parts of the Bible are not capable of being translated into a crude language like English, which lacks the sophistication of structure and vocabulary necessary to render the text intelligibly. At the end, he counters the argument that no part of Scripture is translatable into English because of these language difficulties. His reply is: Ad istud dico negando quod omnibus partibus Scripture sunt ille regule, tropi, et figure eque communes, quia alique partes quoad sensum litteralem verificantur sine ipsis, et  alique non; precepta autem legis et ea que necessaria sunt saluti aperta sunt et plana. “Jugum enim meum suave est et onus meum leve” [Matt. 11:30]. Et que moralia sunt quasi de jure naturali et facilia ad credendum, unde Psalmus, “Testimonia tua credibilia facta sunt nimis” [Ps. 92:5]. Et ideo non indiget figuris et tropis vel aliis [ut] a falsitate ac incongruitate salventur, ut alia difficilia ibidem contenta.23 (To this I respond by denying that these rules, tropes, and figures are equally common to all parts of Scripture, for in some passages they are not present and the literal sense is obvious, even though such is not true of other passages. But the precepts of the law and those things that are necessary to salvation are open and plain. “For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.” And points of morality come, as it were, from natural law and are easy of belief, as the Psalmist says: “Your testimonies have become exceedingly believable.” And therefore there is no need for them to be preserved from falsity and incongruity by means of figures and tropes or other means, as there is for other difficult things contained therein.)24

When Palmer brings up the Lollards or Wycliffites in this connection, it is to accuse them, not of mistranslating 23  Kelly, The Middle English Bible (2017), p. 252n15 (edited from Palmer, fol. 47v). For “eque communes” Deanesly mistakenly puts “aequivocationes” (p. 47). I accept her addition of “ut” in the last line. 24  Kelly, The Middle English Bible (2017), p. 52.

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Scripture, but rather of failing to understand its true meaning by being overliteral in their interpretations. He also refers to their belief that all truths are contained in Scripture. A much more extensive Latin treatise on the subject of translating the Bible, this one completely in favour of rendering the whole Bible into English, is by Richard Ullerston, a secular priest and prominent Oxford professor. Ullerston, who finished his doctorate in theology in 1401, was a known opponent of the Lollards; for instance, he wrote, also in 1401 (sometime after March), a defence of the Church’s rights to property. Ullerston’s treatise on translating the Bible originally consisted of three parts, the first two (now lost) examining the question of St. Jerome’s translation of the original Hebrew and Greek text of the Bible into Latin. The third part, preserved in full in the Vienna State Library, deals with the translation of Scripture into current vernaculars, and does not refer to the Lollards at all. The last folio of a copy has turned up in Cambridge, with a date of “140X”—​the final number is blotted. One suggestion is 1401; 1407 has also been conjectured.25 Like Butler, Ullerston refers to a discussion of his subject that took place earlier, which he did not attend. In his case, the event occurred specifically at Oxford, and there were proponents on both sides of the argument. The question was whether Scripture should be translated into all languages. The first doctor argued against, while the second gave many arguments for the affirmative. Neither side was judged at the end to have won the dispute. Ullerston concluded in the first two parts of his treatise that it was indeed allowable for Jerome to have made his translation, and that the translation that he produced was accurate. In the third part, he discusses whether it is permissible to translate Jerome’s Latin into other inferior languages like English. He lists thirty arguments against translation, the first four of which were those of the doctor on the negative side in the Oxford debate, reported to him by a friend. The next twenty-​six were invented by Ullerston himself. Before systematically refuting all of these reasons and holding for the affirmative side, he discusses his motives for his position, appealing among other things to the words and example of Richard Rolle in translating the Psalms. He then tries to conjecture motives on the part of those taking the negative view. 25  Ullerston, Tractatus de translacione Sacre Scripture in vulgare; Hudson, “The Debate on Bible Translation”; Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 53–​58.

At the end, after answering all of the objections and coming to a seeming conclusion, he adds, as something of an afterthought, nine propositions: 1) It is lawful to translate Scripture into English, because no command of the Lord forbids it. 2) It is no less licit to translate the Bible into English than into other languages like French, German, or Armenian.

3) Just as it was allowed to Richard Rolle, it is allowed to others of similar abilities.

4) Simply because doing something virtuous is difficult does not mean it should not be done. 5) Scripture can be translated sentence by sentence into the vernacular, as has often been done by the fathers. 6) It is not only licit but expedient, in order to help barely literate persons and the laity.

7) Just as preaching and administering the sacraments is to be supervised by the wise counsel of prelates, so too is translation.

8) If some things should not be imparted to the laity in Latin, it is even truer that it should not be given to them in English to study; as in the parable, more talents are given to one than to another. (This would seem to argue against, rather than for, Ullerston’s position.) 9) As the just man should not perish with the unjust, so too well-​ written English writings should not be condemned.

It may be that Ullerston took part in the Canterbury convocation held at Oxford in November of 1407, which, as we will see, passed the constitution Periculosa26 on English translations of Scripture. The seventh of Ullerston’s final conclusions corresponds to the requirement of this mandate. Many of Ullerston’s arguments were incorporated into an English treatise in favor of translation, Against Them That Say That Holy Writ Should Not or May Not Be Drawn into English,27 citing, for instance, the example of Archbishop Thoresby of York (1352–​1373), who commissioned the articles of faith and ten commandments and other instructional texts in Archbishop Peckham’s decree Ignorantia sacerdotum (1281) to be translated into English. He gives the history of Scripture 26  Constitution seven in the Oxford constitutions, often referred to as the Arundel Constitutions.

27  “First seiƿ Bois,” Against Them That Say, ed. Dove, The Earliest Advocates of the English Bible, pp. 143–​49.

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translation: before the Incarnation: seventy doctors translated the Bible from Hebrew to Greek, and more translations were made after the Ascension, some into Greek and some into Latin; the translation we use most is St. Jerome’s, and that was translated into Spanish, French, German, and other mother tongues. He repeats from Ullerston the example of the Fleming James Merland, who, after having translated the whole Bible into Flemish, was accused by his enemies before the pope; but the pope gave his approval to it after examination. In England itself, the Venerable Bede translated the Bible, and his version of the Gospel of John still exists, according to Ranulph Higden, though in a form of English so old that it can scarce be understood. The author adds three historical events at the end of his tract. The first is that the Dominican friar Dr.  John Tille (who preceded and followed William Palmer as prior of the London Blackfriars) claimed in a sermon before the bishop of London and a large audience that St. Jerome said that he erred when he translated the Bible. Our author replies by citing Jerome much more fully (perhaps drawing on Ullerston’s lost sections). Granted, Jerome confessed himself to be well aware that sometimes his translation “was false aftur ƿe letter” (was false, according to the literal meaning). But afterwards, “wane Austyn hadde written to him and he to him aȝen, he granted wele ƿat it was trewe, as he rehersiƿ in a pistle and in ƿe prolog of ƿe Bible, and was glad and ioyeful of his translacioun” (when Augustine had written to him and he had written back to him, he readily acknowledged that it was accurate, and he was glad and joyful about his translation; he recounts this in a letter, and also in the prologue to the Bible).28 The second episode recounted by the author of Against Them is that during King Richard’s time a bill had been proposed in parliament with the backing of both archbishops and convocations, Canterbury and York, to annul the English translation of the Bible then available, as well as “other books of the Gospel translated into English”; but, thanks to the strong opposition of the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, it failed. Gaunt’s argument was that other countries have God’s Law in their mother tongue, and the English will not be denied the same right. It is difficult to imagine what actual circumstances gave rise to this account, since there is no evidence of an anti-​translation movement during John of Gaunt’s lifetime.29 One possibility is that the hierarchy was proposing that the 28  “First seiƿ Bois,” Against Them That Say, p. 148.

29  For discussion, see Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 60–​63.

Bible Translation and Controversy

original translation, the Early Version, be modified into a more readable version—​thus calling for the Later Version to be produced; and that the initiative was distortedly reported or recollected as opposition to any translation whatsoever. The final recounted episode in Against Them shows, in contrast, archiepiscopal approval of the Gospels and Gospel commentaries in English. It is related that the current archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Arundel, when he was archbishop of York and chancellor of the realm, gave a sermon at the funeral of Queen Anne, Richard II’s wife, in 1394, “and in his commendyngis of hir he seide it was more ioie of hir ƿan of any whoman that euere he knewe.” For, even though she was a foreigner, she had acquired an English translation of the Gospels with commentaries on them and wished to study them. She sent them to Arundel for his approval, and he pronounced them good and true. He was full of praise that such a great lady, being not even English born, should wish to study these books in such a humble fashion. Other English writings were produced calling for the Scriptures in English, notably twelve treatises that were gathered together in a single manuscript around 1420 (Cambridge University Library Ii.6.26).30 One such call appears in the Longleat Sunday Gospels, written by the friar (probably Franciscan) who, not long before, in 1405, composed the dialogue Dives and Pauper on the Ten Commandments. The new work consists of the friar’s own fresh translations of the Gospel passages and his commentaries on them, compiled for a friend to whom he complains that some bishops have prohibited him to teach the Gospel and write it in English. Nevertheless, he says, there is a general principle that it is allowable not only to preach the Gospel in English but also to write it down, and that applies not only to the teacher but also to his listeners if they know how to write. So in spite of the restrictions that the said prelates have placed on himself, they have not prohibited his reader from knowing the Gospel in English, nor can they do so, since English is his native tongue. He recommends that his friend read not only the Gospel translations that he is sending him, but the rest of the Gospels as well and other books of the Bible. He goes on to say that many bishops and clerics forbid English books of God’s Law because they themselves are ignorant and wish to keep the people even more ignorant than they are.31 30  The twelve Cambridge Tracts are printed in Dove, The Earliest Advocates, pp. 89–​142.

31  Longleat Sunday Gospels, Preface (fol. 1rv) edited by Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 203–​5.

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The Middle English Bible and the Constitution Periculosa of 1407 It should be evident that the Longleat author was writing before the mandate Periculosa passed, not by just by “some bishops,” but by the whole clergy of the Canterbury Province at Oxford in late 1407, requiring new translations of Scripture to be approved by the local bishop or the whole convocation before being put to use. The friar would undoubtedly have been quite surprised and pleased by Periculosa, for in effect it rebuked the bishops who were forbidding the use of English Scriptures. It required them, in so many words, to approve any and all translations that were free from error: Periculosa quoque res est, testante Beato Hieronymo, textum Sacrae Scripturae de uno in aliud idioma transferre, eo quod in ipsis translationibus non de facili idem sensus in omnibus retinetur, prout idem Beatus Hieronymus, etsi inspiratus fuisset, se in hoc saepius fatetur errasse. Statuimus igitur et ordinamus ut nemo deinceps textum aliquem Sacrae Scripturae auctoritate sua in linguam Anglicanam vel aliam transferat per viam libri, vel libelli aut tractatus, nec legatur aliquis huiusmodi liber, libellus aut tractatus iam noviter tempore dicti Iohannis Wycliffe sive citra compositus, aut in posterum componendus, in parte vel in toto, publice vel occulte, sub poena maioris excommunicationis, quousque per loci diocesanum, seu si res exegerit, per concilium provinciale ipsa translatio fuerit approbata. Qui vero contra hoc fecerit, ut fautor haereseos et erroris similiter puniatur.32

(It is dangerous, as St. Jerome testifies, to translate the text of Holy Scripture from one language into another, because it is not easy to preserve the exact meaning of the text in the translations. St. Jerome himself, even though he was inspired, acknowledges that he frequently made mistakes. We therefore legislate and ordain that henceforward no one is to render any text of Holy Scripture into English on his own authority by way of book, pamphlet, or treatise, nor is anyone to use any such book, pamphlet, or treatise for lecturing, in part or in whole, in public or in private, which has been newly produced since the time of John Wyclif and later, or which is to be produced in the future, until the translation itself has been approved by the ordinary of the place—​or, if circumstances require, by a provincial council—​ under pain of major excommunication. Opponents 32  Bray, Records of Convocation, vol. 4, p. 315.

are to be punished similarly [i.e., like opponents of the previous constitution, Quia insuper], as supporters of heresy and error).33

Quia insuper forbids lecturing on treatises by Wyclif and others of his time (and later) until approved by a university committee. Most modern historians overlook the actual wording of Periculosa and interpret it as a stern prohibition of the Middle English Bible, with dire consequences threatened for anyone who so much as possessed a copy. The main reason for this surprising conclusion is that, as noted at the beginning, by the nineteenth century the Middle English Bible had come to be known as the “Wyclif Bible” or the “Wycliffite Bible,” thought to have been produced by John Wyclif and his followers, and to have been recognized as such at the time of the Oxford convocation, and therefore repudiated.34 Such was and is believed to be the case even though it is readily admitted that neither the Early Version nor the Later Version contains any of the sorts of errors that St. Jerome warned against, and specifically no distorted or tendentious renderings that would promote condemned Wycliffite doctrines. This prevailing Wycliffite interpretation was strongly challenged by the Benedictine historian Cardinal Gasquet at the turn of the twentieth century,35 but his conclusions were countered subsequently, and thereafter dismissed or entirely forgotten;36 Gasquet’s challenge has only recently been renewed, and the Middle English Bible characterized as a non-​partisan production that was accepted on all levels of clergy and laity.37 It is common nowadays to see Archbishop Arundel as undertaking a personal campaign against the Middle English Bible. He is spoken of as the sole author of Periculosa and the other Oxford constitutions. The anecdote reported in Against Them in which Arundel reportedly praised Anne of Bohemia for studying the Gospels in English is frequently dismissed as an invention of the author, who is usually identified as a Lollard. However, Arundel is rightly to be seen as speaking in his own name in his endorsement of Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ in 1410, and the latter can in turn be read as endorsing vernacular Scriptures. In his introduction, Love says that, in addition to Scripture (“with holi 33  My translation.

34  Forshall and Madden, The Holy Bible. 35  Gasquet, The Old English Bible.

36  Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 6–​11, 141–​46; cf. Solopova, The Wycliffite Bible, p. 450. 37  Kelly, The Middle English Bible, passim.

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writte”), various works are written in English for the use of persons of simple understanding: that is, such simple persons are also meant to read the Bible in English.38 The Oxford constitutions were reaffirmed a year later at the convocation of London in January 1409, and on April 13 of that year, Archbishop Arundel, following the usual protocol, ordered Bishop Richard Clifford of London to distribute them to the other sixteen bishops of the province; every bishop was to direct his archdeacons and other church magistrates to explain them to all parish priests. A report on the results of this obligation was due back from each bishop on July 26. No such report survives, but the one from the bishop of London would have been the most interesting. London was the focal point of the rapid copying of the Middle English Bible at this time, and, whether or not the Early Version and the Later Version were given approval or declared to need no approval at the convocations of Oxford and London, once Periculosa was promulgated, the clergy must have been inundated with queries from the conscientious or scrupulous faithful as to the status of their English Bibles. Perhaps guidelines were produced as to how to recognize which version was which. But soon the word must have got around that both versions had sufficient approval to be used without further ado. It is puzzling, therefore, after the bishops had thus tasked themselves with examining current English Bibles for errors, whether of the honest sort that St. Jerome warned about or Wyciffite distortions, and had found none (since there are none in the Early Version and the Later Version), that less than two years later they should express themselves as disturbed about a new Wycliffite translation plot. After the bishops had gathered together on March 17, 1411 to condemn the 267 erroneous propositions that had been culled from the works of Wyclif, they transmitted them to the Pisan Pope John XXIII, and in the covering letter Archbishop Arundel ends his account by asserting that Wyclif strove with all his might to attack the teaching of the Church, compounding his malice with a new stratagem: translating Scripture into the mother tongue:  “Ipsam ecclesie sacrosancte fidem et doctrinam sanctissimam totis conatibus impugnare studuit, nove ad sue malitie complementum scripturarum in linguam maternam translationis practica adinventa” (The very faith of the sacrosanct Church he strove with all his efforts to impugn, the stratagem of a new translation having been devised as a complement to his malice).39 Perhaps their concern was 38  Love, Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, p. 7; Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 75–​76.

Bible Translation and Controversy

raised by coming across a copy of Five and Twenty Books with its Wycliffite sentiments.

The English Bible in the Fifteenth Century

No further official caution about English Bibles is to be found in the next few years. Archbishop Henry Chichele’s first convocation (1416) warned about persons having suspect English books, with no mention of Scripture translations. In the convocation of 1428, a heresy suspect, the priest John Galle, was listed as possessing the Gospels in English, but there is no indication that it played any role in his prosecution. However, in the convocation that Chichele called in 1431, among the constitutions passed was one that forbade Bible translation without permission and furthermore required all English Scripture to be turned in for inspection, under pain of automatic excommunication. We know of its existence only from its appearance in the register of John Stafford, bishop of Bath and Wells. But however it was enforced, it made no lasting impact. The list of offenses bringing automatic excommunication issued by Archbishop Chichele in 1434 did not include anything to do with Scripture. The constitution chosen by William Lyndwood concerning Bible translation for inclusion in his Provinciale, published in 1434, was Periculosa, the violation of which did not result in automatic excommunication but rather liability to suffer excommunication upon conviction. It was this constitution that Bishop Stafford enforced in 1441 in his diocese. But he over-​interpreted the mandate to say that no one was allowed to read, keep, or possess any books of English Scripture after Wyclif’s time until they were approved by him.40 Bishop Stafford himself was a supporter of English translation: in 1435, he imitated Archbishop Thoresby’s order of the previous century and commanded the Peckham catechetical instructions to be put into English and distributed to every parish in his diocese. There is no report of any pertinent activity on Stafford’s part during his later tenure as archbishop of Canterbury (1443–​1452), but his successor, Archbishop Bourchier, issued the most severe summons of English Scripture on record. This occurred in 1458, not as part of convocation proceedings, but in connection with a round-​ up of writings of Bishop Reginald Pecock, an anti-​Wycliffite who was convicted of non-​Wycliffite heresies. There is only one surviving instance of a person asking for permission to make a fresh translation of Scripture, 39  Kelly, The Middle English Bible, p. 79; Salter, “Documents from Faustina C. vii,” p. 134. 40  Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 84–​102.

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a chaplain of the Brigittine sisters of Syon Abbey, sometime between 1415 and 1450, author of the Mirror of Our Lady. But the chaplain also mistakes the law in thinking that permission is needed for the nuns to possess and use post-​Rolle translations—​it is only the translations themselves that need approval.41 Various approvals and transmittals of copies of the Middle English Bible have been uncovered. For example, Reginald Pecock’s successors as wardens of Whittington College in London inspected and approved a Later Version New Testament for a woman, possibly to see whether it was worth the thirty-​one marks being asked for its purchase; or perhaps it was in connection with the Bourchier-​era sweep of English Bibles.42 In another case, a prominent layman of Suffolk County, John Clopton, possessed an English Bible originally belonging to his grandmother, who died in 1403; in his will of 1494 he left it to his friend William Pykenham, the local archdeacon.43 Passing on an English Bible to an archdeacon is the clearest possible indication that neither giver nor receiver considered it to be a contraband object. This is not to deny that such beliefs or fears existed in some circles, mainly in dissident groups. But, as far as we know, the opinion was never to be found among Church authorities, with one disturbing exception: the bishop of London and his officials convicted Richard Hunne of heresy in 1514 for violating an alleged ban against Englished Scripture. Thomas More, who attended the trial, did not realize its purport, and argued vigorously that Periculosa did not forbid English Bibles. He cited instances of bishops authorizing certain members of the laity to read them, apparently on the assumption that such permission was necessary.44

Reversion to the Liturgy and Homiletic Orality

The Middle English Bible is considered to be the most popular English work of the Middle Ages, existing in over 250 copies.45 This figure needs interpretation. The great period of copying, mainly in London and environs, was in the first decades of the fifteenth century, and it tailed off to nothing by 1450. Furthermore, the copying was highly selective and weighted towards the New Testament and the liturgy. Only about twenty 41  Gasquet, The Old English Bible, pp. 145–​47. 42  Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 106–​7.

43  Parker, The History of Long Melford, pp. 173–​77. 44  Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 114–​27. 45  Dove, First English Bible, pp. 281–306.

copies of the full Bible survive, with another twenty of the Old Testament alone and a further twenty of scattered Old Testament books. Of the nearly two hundred New Testament copies, almost half of them consist entirely of lectionaries, that is, the Gospels and Epistles and other excerpts read at Sunday mass. They were clearly used as an enhancement of the liturgy. Because copying of the Middle English Bible, even in stripped-​down liturgical collections, came to an end by the middle of the fifteenth century, we can doubtless conclude that the Bible market was saturated and that interest had reverted to the traditional system of listening to the priests who celebrated Mass expounding on the Gospel readings. This loss of interest in the Bible itself was likely the reason that William Caxton passed up the opportunity of printing the Middle English Bible. He clearly saw nothing wrong about bringing it out, since he believed that it was by John Trevisa, as he states in the introduction the Polychronicon, one of the two large prose translations made by Trevisa that he did publish (the other being Bartholomeus Anglicus’s encyclopedia). Caxton also failed to bring out the Bible in Latin, whereas on the Continent, after Gutenburg’s initial printing, over eighty further incunabular editions were produced.46 In England, even though this was a period of high devotion,47 the printing boom centred on the untranslated Latin liturgy; dozens of editions of the Sarum Missal were brought out, mainly by Continental presses for the English market, as well as multiple editions of the Latin Hours of the Virgin. There would be no further calls for vernacular Scripture until Erasmus’s 1516 edition of the New Testament reached England. The only Englishman who would respond to this appeal would be William Tyndale, but he would not be able to find a sponsor interested enough to finance his undertaking. He decided to go to Germany, where, in contrast to current English indifference, there had long been great interest in vernacular Bibles; as many as eighteen editions of German translations were printed, beginning in 1466, before Luther produced his version.48 But these are other stories.

Overview and Summary

The study of the Bible at Oxford underwent a slump after the first decades of the fourteenth century, and John Wyclif 46  De Hamel, The Book, p. 215.

47  Gasquet, The Old English Bible; Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars; Bernard, The Late Medieval English Church. 48  De Hamel, The Book, p. 228.

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was prominent among those who revived interest in it, beginning well before he formulated any of his controversial doctrines.49 Although Wyclif did not express any interest in translating the Scriptures into the vernacular, his influence on the creation of the Middle English Bible can readily be admitted. Nothing is known about the circumstances of its production, but it would certainly not have been a clandestine operation in any way. Translating Scripture was done all the time, on the fly, in the homilies and sermons of the parish clergy. Then there was the comparatively recent example of Richard Rolle’s rendering of the Psalms, which showed the advantages (or, if one were so inclined to think, the disadvantages) of a more permanent translation, in written form. Therefore, any opposition to translation was not because of a perceived prohibition, but for other reasons, like the alleged unsuitability of the English language to capture the content of the sacred page, or the unsuitability of laymen to understand it on their own. After Wyclif’s heterodoxy came to the fore, we do hear of a fear, expressed notably by Henry Knighton, not that distorted translations could be created that would mislead people, but simply that English Scriptures (accurate in themselves) could be misinterpreted by the laity reading them on their own. But the author of Five and Twenty Books (the so-​called “General Prologue”) was mainly interested in the beneficial effects of the Scriptures upon the spiritual character of the readers. He did not seem to be aware of any strong opposition to an English Bible, mainly blaming indifference or inertia on the part of the clergy. When the question of translating the Bible came to be discussed at the turn of the century, the Franciscan William Butler stressed that the unlearned reading of Scripture could lead to error and heresy, but he was not thinking specifically about Wyclif. The Dominican William Palmer noted the tendency of Lollards to overinterpret the sacred texts, but they were obviously of no great concern to him. He acknowledged that the easy parts of Scripture, which conveyed the essential truth of salvation, were well suited for translation, but there was no good purpose in rendering the entire text. The prominent secular priest and Oxford professor Richard Ullerston ignored the Wycliffites entirely in his fervent support for rendering the entire text of the Bible into English. Some of Ullerston’s arguments were repeated in a treatise, Against Them That Say That Holy Writ Should Not or May Not Be Drawn into English, which added an account of how 49  Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 31–​35.

Bible Translation and Controversy

the current archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Arundel, had praised Queen Anne for her interest in the English Gospels. This treatise was written around the time that Archbishop Arundel convened a council of the all of the clergy of the province of Canterbury, comprising the fourteen southern English and four Welsh dioceses, to meet at Oxford, in November 1407, where a series of constitutions aimed mainly at the University of Oxford and dealing largely with the dangers posed by adherents of Wyclif’s dissident views. The constitution on Bible translation, Periculosa, by invoking St. Jerome on the ease with which errors can be made, was ostensibly concerned with honest mistakes that translators might make. But since it stipulated that all translation of Scripture from the time of Wyclif be approved by the local bishop or a provincial council before it could be used for lecturing, it is clear that there was concern over tendentious interpretations as well. One of the additions to Ullerston’s treatise, calling for the supervision of prelates, may well reflect this mandate. The Oxford constitutions were approved for distribution and enforcement throughout the province in 1409. The modern assessment of Periculosa, that it sternly prohibited the two versions of the Middle English Bible under harsh sanctions, is belied not only by the text of the constitution itself but also by the unimpeachable content of both renderings, as well as by the abundant and untroubled copying and adaptation for liturgical use that continued to take place. Nevertheless, a more explicit concern for Wycliffite tampering with Scripture translation came to the fore in 1411, at the time that 267 passages from Wyclif’s writings (none of them dealing directly with Scripture) were condemned and transmitted to the pope. Another provincial constitution was passed in 1431, reinforcing the requirement of Periculosa that no translation be made with permission, and calling in all English biblical text for inspection, but it seems to have had no impact, and Periculosa remained the legislation in effect, enshrined as it was in Lyndwood’s Provinciale (1434). By the middle of the fifteenth century, one can see a striking development: there was a fall-​off in English interest in the Bible. All copying of the Middle English Bible stopped, and Latin Bibles were not copied either. And, unlike on the Continent, there was no printing of the Bible, Latin or vernacular. There was, however, a boom in the printing of English liturgical books, which, of course, had a high Scriptural content. The general unlatinate population of the faithful seemed content to get their biblical instruction in the old-​fashioned way, by listening to what the parish clergy imparted to them.

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Bibliography

Against Them That Say That Holy Writ Should Not or May Not Be Drawn into English. Edited by Dove, The Earliest Advocates, pp. 143–​49, under the title “First seiƿ Bois.” Arnovick, Leslie K., and Henry Ansgar Kelly. “Bishop Challoner’s Ecumenical Revision of the Douai-​Rheims Bible by Way of King James.” Review of English Studies 66 (2015): 698–​722. Bernard, G. W. The Late Medieval English Church: Vitality and Vulnerability before the Break with Rome. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. Bray, Gerald. Records of Convocation. 20 vols. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2005–​6. Butler, William. Contra translationem Anglicanam. Edited by Margaret Deanesly. In The Lollard Bible and Other Medieval Biblical Versions, pp. 410–​18. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1920. Coulton, G. G. The Scandal of Cardinal Gasquet. Taunton: Wessex Press, 1938. Daniell, David. The Bible in English: Its History and Influence. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. Deanesly, Margaret. The Lollard Bible and Other Medieval Biblical Versions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1920; repr. 1966 with a prefatory note by Deanesly, pp. vi–​viii. De Hamel, Christopher. The Book: A History of the Bible. London: Phaidon, 2001. Dove, Mary. The Earliest Advocates of the English Bible: The Texts of the Medieval Debate. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2010. —​—​. The First English Bible: The Text and Context of the Wycliffite Versions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Duffy, Eamon. The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400–​1580. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992; repr. 2005, with preface. Forshall, Josiah, and Frederic Madden, eds. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, with the Apocryphal Books, in the Earliest English Versions Made from the Latin Vulgate by John Wycliffe and His Followers. 4 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1850; repr. New York: AMS Press, 1982. Fowler, David C. The Bible in Early English Literature. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1976. Fristedt, Sven L. The Wycliffe Bible, Part 3: Relationships of Trevisa and the Spanish Medieval Bibles. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksells, 1973. Gasquet, Francis Aidan. The Eve of the Reformation: Studies in the Religious Life and Thought of the English People in the Period Preceding the Rejection of the Roman Jurisdiction by Henry VIII. London: Nimmo, 1900. —​—​. The Old English Bible and Other Essays. London: John C. Nimmo, 1897. Glunz, H. H. History of the Vulgate in England from Alcuin to Roger Bacon: Being an Inquiry into the Text of Some English Manuscripts of the Vulgate Gospels. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1933. Goates, Margery. The Pepysian Gospel Harmony. Published for the Early English Text Society. London: Oxford University Press, 1922. Hudson, Anne. “The Debate on Bible Translation, Oxford 1401.” English Historical Review 90 (1975): 1–​18. —​—​. Doctors in English: A Study of the Wycliffite Gospel Commentaries. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2015. —​—​. The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Kelly, Henry Ansgar. The Middle English Bible: A Reassessment. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016; ebook version, corrected 2017. Lawton, David. “Englishing the Bible, 1066–​1549.” In The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature, edited by David Wallace, pp. 454–​82. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Lindberg, Conrad. The Earlier Version of the Wycliffite Bible. 8 vols. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wicksell, 1959–​97. NB: the first five volumes are titled: Ms. Bodley 959: Genesis-​Baruch in the Earlier Version of the Wycliffite Bible. —​—​. King Henry’s Bible: MS Bodley 277: The Revised Version of the Wyclif Bible. 4 vols. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wicksell, 1999–​2004. —​—​. The Middle English Bible. 3 vols. Vol. 1: Prefatory Epistles of St. Jerome. Vol. 2: The Book of Baruch. Vol. 3: The Book of Judges. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1978–​89. Linde, Cornelia. “Arguing with Lollards: Thomas Palmer, OP, and De translatione scripture sacre in linguam barbaricam.” Viator 46.3 (2015): 235–​54.

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Longleat Sunday Gospels (manuscript early fifteenth century). MS 4, fols. 1–​119. Warminster: Longleat House MS 4. Preface edited in Kelly, The Middle English Bible, pp. 203–​5. Love, Nicholas. Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ: A Critical Edition. Edited by Michael G. Sargent. New York: Garland, 1992. Martin, G. H., ed. and trans. Knighton’s Chronicle, 1337–​1396. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995. Morey, James H. Book and Verse: A Guide to Middle English Biblical Literature. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000. O’Mara, Virginia, and Suzanne Paul. A Repertorium of Middle English Prose Sermons. 4 vols. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007. O’Neill, Patrick P., ed. and trans. Old English Psalms. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, 42. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016. Owst, G. R. Literature and Pulpit in Medieval England. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966. Palmer, Thomas. De translatione sacrae scripturae in linguam barbaricam. Cambridge, Trinity College MS B.15.11, fols. 42vb–​ 47va. Defective edition in Deanesly 1966, pp. 418–​37. Parker, William. The History of Long Melford. London: Wyman, 1873. Paues, Anna C. A Fourteenth-​Century English Biblical Version. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914. Pitts, Brent A., trans. The Anglo-​Norman Gospel Harmony: A Translation of the Estoire de l’Evangile (Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral C6.1.1, Liber niger). Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 453; The French of England Translation Series 7. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2014. —​—​—​, ed. Estoire de l’Evangile (Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral, MS. C6.1.1). Medium Aevum Monographs, 28. Oxford: Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature, 2011. Remley, Paul G. Old English Biblical Verse: Studies in Genesis, Exodus, and Daniel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Salter, H. E. “Documents from Faustina C.vii and Other Sources, Dealing in Particular with the Years 1409 and 1411.” In Snappe’s Formulary and Other Records, Oxford Historical Society, vol. 80, pp. 90–​193. Oxford: Clarendon, 1924. Short, Ian, ed. The Oxford Psalter (Bodleian MS Douce 320). London: Anglo-​Norman Text Society, 2015. Solopova, Elizabeth, ed. The Wycliffite Bible: Origin, History, and Interpretation. Leiden: Brill, 2017. Spencer, H. Leith. English Preaching in the Late Middle Ages. Oxford: Clarendon, 1993. Ullerston, Richard. Tractatus de translacione Sacre Scripture in vulgare. Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, MS 4133, fols. 195–​207v; conclusion also in Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College MS 803/​807 frag. 36. Watson, Nicholas. “Censorship and Cultural Change in Late-​Medieval England: Vernacular Theology, the Oxford Translation Debate, and Arundel’s Constitutions of 1409.” Speculum 70 (1995): 822–​64. Henry Ansgar Kelly is Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Middle English Bible: A Reassessment. Among his interests are law and literature (e.g., Love and Marriage in the Age of Chaucer and Law and Religion in Chaucer’s England), genre studies (Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages), judicial procedure (Inquisitions and Other Trial Procedures in the Medieval West; The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII; Thomas More’s Trial by Jury), and biblical and religious history (Satan: A Biography; Satan in the Bible, God’s Minster of Justice). He was a founding editor of Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies, in 1970, and still serves as chief editor.

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5 MEDIEVAL CONVENT DRAMA: TRANSLATING SCRIPTURE AND TRANSFORMING THE  LITURGY MATTHEW CHEUNG-​SALISBURY, ELISABETH DUTTON, AND OLIVIA ROBINSON1 At the centre of medieval Christendom in the West was the Latin Vulgate Bible, to varying degrees inaccessible to the many people—​the laity, conversi, and some women religious—​ who received little or no Latin training and who, even if they could recite passages of Latin liturgy, sometimes had only the most pragmatic understanding of the language, in the most specific liturgical contexts.2 Vernacular drama was a particularly effective tool for teaching Scriptural narratives and their Christological significance, at the same time as encouraging appropriate affective responses in an audience of believers; vernacular drama also offered a gloss on the biblical stories that were the primary influence on the Latin liturgy. This chapter considers a specific example in which biblical material moves through time and space through the medium of dramatic representation in the fifteenth-​century medieval convent; it will explore the outcomes of the interpretation and transformation of scripture through its translation into dramatic form, and consider the adaptation and transmission of the resulting material into the seventeenth century. Like civic Scriptural drama, nuns’ plays translated Vulgate Latin into the vernacular in order to teach biblical 1  The research presented in this chapter was undertaken with the financial support of the FNS (Fonds National Suisse de la Recherche Scientifique), grant no. 100015_​165887.

2  Recent socio-​linguistic work has begun to explore the sheer variation in bi-​or multi-​lingual aptitude, knowledge and practical usage which existed in the Middle Ages, and to emphasize the importance of attending to the specific local linguistic behaviours of individuals and communities in different contexts: see, for example, the themed essays introduced by Baswell “Introduction: Competing Archives, Competing Histories.” On medieval English nuns, their Latin literacy, and what “literacy” might signify in this context, see Zieman, “Reading, Singing and Understanding.”

narrative; also like civic drama, but perhaps to an even greater degree, convent drama referenced liturgical elements to explain their function. The objective of the liturgy was the worship of God and petition directed heavenward: medieval congregations may not have contributed to its words or action but they were thoroughly engaged in the intention of the celebration. Medieval plays complicate neat distinctions between performers and spectators that characterize later theatre,3 and convent plays blur distinctions between actors and audience much further, as in some cases there may have been nobody watching who was not also performing, and if there were “audiences” then their responses—​active, as well as affective—​were integrated into the work of the plays. Scriptural plays written and performed by medieval nuns necessarily differed from plays written for the medieval city street because they were performed in contexts that were inaccessible to the general public, and free from the influence of civic authorities for whom public playing was an opportunity for the display of power and prestige. While convent plays share their Scriptural sources with civic drama, they differ in giving a greater role to women when translating the masculine-​ dominated stories of the Latin Vulgate. Convent plays appear, in some cases, to have been performed extra-​liturgically and are not habitually discussed, therefore, within the tradition of liturgical drama.4 It is difficult to assess, from the surviving evidence, how common convent drama was in the Middle Ages, but it is clear that the practice was not restricted to one order nor 3  On the interplay between actor and audience and translation in medieval drama, see Dutton, “Henry Medwall’s Fulgens et Lucres.”

4  On the problematic definition of “liturgical drama,” see Petersen, “Liturgical Enactment.”

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to one region or country: plays survive from Benedictine, Carmelite, and other religious houses from Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and England.5 As this chapter will discuss, the nuns’ work not only sought to bring to life texts primarily experienced in the canonical Latin context of the Vulgate, but also shaped the ways in which participants interacted with that authorized material, as well as the liturgical and doctrinal glosses on it. Translation, then, in this context, may be related to theatre in three ways: firstly, in the translation of biblical stories from page to stage, and (more conventionally) from Latin to vernacular; secondly, in translation of the liturgy, that is both glossed and incorporated into the dramatic action; thirdly, in the translation of the plays themselves for performance, from the specific context for which they were written to different times, spaces, and audiences. It seems that the nuns who created and adapted these scripts were thinking not simply as translators of Scriptural and liturgical texts but specifically as translators for the theatre.

Translating Scripture and Liturgy in the Fifteenth Century

Translation for dramatic performance presents very particular challenges and opportunities. A new language is a new context, as is a new geographical or social location or a new historical moment; the translator, often in a different time and place from the author, must carry meaning from one language to another, for a reader also remote in time and place from the author, and perhaps from the translator, too. But “sense” is not conveyed only in words, and when words are dramatically performed, meaning is also mediated by the voices and gestures and physical appearance of the actors, by costumes and props, by lighting and sound effects, and by the architecture, decoration and facilities of the venue as a whole. Theories of translation in contemporary theatre often assume a “gestural subtext” encoded in a script that is brought out in performance by the actors, with the help of directors and designers; the translator carries responsibility for transmitting the subtext intact by reflecting the “performability” or “speakability” of the text translated. However, as Susan Bassnett discusses, these theories attribute too much defining power to the text, and therefore too much responsibility to 5  On the Italian tradition of convent drama, see Weaver, Convent Theatre. On the tradition in Spain, see Surtz, El libro del conorte and The Guitar of God.

the translator of that text. For Bassnett, the “gestural text” is not fixed immutably in a script, and therefore cannot be simply translated when the script is translated: translation is just one part of a performance, and many other parts of the performance, particularly its cast and production team, contribute to the creation of meaning relatively independently of the translator.6 The translator of drama therefore has to cede control of the meaning of the translated text to many intermediaries; while dramatic performance offers distinctive opportunities to control meaning by controlling the context in which a text is received, the translator, according to Bassnett, is responsible only for “the linguistic and paralinguistic aspects of the text that are decodable and re-​encodable,”7 not for the entire gestural text. At the same time, and especially if a translator works for a particular production, knowing where and when the translated text will be performed, and by whom, perhaps for whom, that translator may well be influenced by the idea of a performance while translating. This should be not eschewed but embraced: furthermore, Bassnett concedes that the translated text might be enriched if the translator subsequently confers with actors, bringing the experiences and ideas of another “part” of the ultimate performance into the translation process. The recent Modern French Pléiade Shakespeare translations are examples of this—​“script for script” translations comprising “texts for the French theatre which have been tested in practice with attention to the experience of actors and directors.”8 The convent plays discussed here, as they render Latin Scripture into vernacular drama, also reveal traces of “script for script” translation. Chantilly, Musée Condé MS 617 is a late fifteenth-​century play manuscript copied in the Carmelite convent of the Dames Blanches at Huy, in modern Belgium, where at least some of the plays it contains were probably performed. Its linguistic particularities, as Cohen has shown, situate it in the Walloon region. Its female scribe, Sister Katherine Bourlet, signs her name twice in the manuscript (Explicit per manus Bourlet, f. 7v; Suer Katherine Explicit Bourlet, f. 27v), and can be identified as a late fifteenth-​century member of the convent: she appears in the surviving school accounts (as does her sister, Ydon) and her mother is listed as a donor and friend in the 6  Bassnett, “Translating for the Theatre,” pp. 435–​38 and “Theatre and Opera,” pp. 96–​103. 7  Bassnett, “Still Trapped in the Labyrinth,” p. 107.

8  Morse, “Reflections in Shakespeare Translation,” p. 80.

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convent’s surviving Obituary.9 The manuscript contains five plays, two of which render Scriptural narrative in vernacular French. The first of these plays (hereafter “Chantilly 1”) covers Nativity material, including the Shepherds’ and Kings’ visits to Jesus; in the second play (hereafter “Chantilly 2”) Herod plans the Massacre of the Innocents and his revenge on the three kings. Chantilly 2 also presents Saint Anne, Mary Salomé, and Mary Jacob visiting the Holy Family: the interpolation of this non-​Scriptural episode seems to be an element of adaptation to a cast and audience of female religious, as it surrounds the infant Christ with his female line—​his mother and her two sisters, and his grandmother.10 Finally, the second Chantilly play incorporates the Purification of the Virgin; this Purification is incomplete in the manuscript and seems to have been revised to reduce the role of Simeon. The manuscript shows that Chantilly 1 and 2 were revised and adapted by their copyists, and episodes were moved around and abbreviated.11 It seems likely that the re-​orderings and revisions witness to adaptations made in response to practical challenges such as changes of cast or venue, or performance brief, as the plays were additionally translated into different contexts: they might fruitfully be considered “script-​for-​script” translations. Chantilly 1 features a Prologue, which declares that the performance is to the honour of the Virgin Mary, and to bring pleasure to the present company: the Prologue refers to the performance as a “jeux” and asks the audience for a little silence: En l’honeure de Dieu tout puissant et sa mere Marie, la royne des angele, unc jeux vos veulhe comenchire por resjoiir la bonne companignie. Si vos prie tresdouche suers, humblement, que unc pitit de silenche Nos veulhies presteir iusque en la fin

9  For a detailed discussion of some of the manuscript’s linguistic features, see Doudet, Beck, and Hindley, Recueil general de moralités d’expression française, vol. 1, pp. 332–​45, 477–​84, and 531–​44. These and other linguistic explorations take as their starting-​point Cohen’s edition of Mystères et Moralités du ms. 617 de Chantilly in which he commented that the linguistic interest of the plays was “supérieur à [leur] valeur littéraire,” p. cxlvii, and to which he devoted extensive discussion. More recently, as Doudet, Beck, and Hindley note (Recueil general de moralités d’expression française, pp. 332–​33), linguists have questioned some of Cohen’s conclusions, particularly his claim to be able to localize to a particular town the Walloon dialect used in the plays. 10  See Robinson, “Chantilly, Musée Condé, MS 617.”

11  Robinson, “Chantilly, Musée Condé, MS 617,” pp. 98–​111.

Medieval Convent Drama

et vos veireis le jeux comenchire. (ed. Cohen, lines 1–​8).

(In honour of God, all-​powerful And his mother, Mary, the queen of angels, I wish to begin a play for you, For the enjoyment of this good company. And I pray you, sweet sisters, humbly That a little silence You might lend us, until the end And you will see the play begin.)12

The Prologue in early theatre is particularly associated with commercial aspects of theatre that are presumably irrelevant in the case of the nuns’ performance, so its appearance may be surprising in a convent play.13 The Prologue builds a bridge between audience and actors, explicitly acknowledges the present reality, the “here and now,” through her explicit address of the audience, while at the same time ushering in the play-​ world that is about to commence. The audience are not invited to imagine themselves in the times and places of Scriptural history; Joseph and Mary speak immediately after the Prologue, but they say nothing about stables or Palestine or a Roman census. Mary defines the time in terms of Christ’s coming: l’heure est venue maintenant que ie doie enfanteir mon enfan.

and the place in universal terms:

vos soiies le bien venu à monde, de ciel en terre. (ed. Cohen, lines 12–​13, 22–​23)

(The hour is come now In which I must give birth to my child May you be welcome in the world, From heaven to earth.)

Thus the play presents the time and place of the Nativity eschatologically, and brings the action to the audience, who are encouraged to respond to it as immediate truth. Audience response is guided in various ways. Keen to create female roles within the Scriptural narrative, the nuns introduce Alison and Mahai, female shepherds who also visit the infant Christ and offer him gifts.

12  This and other translations are our own unless otherwise indicated. Italicizations within our citations represent Cohen’s expansions of scribal abbreviations within the Chantilly manuscript. 13  See Sergi, “Beyond Theatrical Marketing,” and Stern, Documents of Performance in Early Modern England, pp. 81–119.

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Eylison Or sus, damme Mahay     prendeis ung aingneal gras;     nos laisorons chi nos brebis,     en la garde de l’enfant petis. Mahai Et abien! trèsdouche compaingne!     Allons y, nos deux ensemble;     nos laisserons trotteir douant     les jollis pasteur de renon.     Nos en yrons apres le pitit pas,     festoiir et conjoiir la mere et l’enfant. (ed. Cohen, lines 112–​21)

(Now, let’s go, lady Mahay Take a fat lamb, We’ll leave our ewes here In the care of the little child. Well, sweet companion, Let’s go both together, We’ll let the good shepherds Run ahead. We’ll go after them slowly To celebrate and rejoice with the mother and child.)

The shepherdesses are given only this brief cameo moment, but their lines perhaps model the intended devotional response of the audience of nuns, who should imaginatively accompany the shepherds of the Christmas story as they visit the mother and child, and honour them. The Chantilly plays also explicitly stage audience response through the lines of “the People”: after the shepherds have adored Christ and sung “glorieux dieu qui fist,” “le peuple” ask the Shepherds to explain the marvellous events: Le peuple az pastore: Peuple Entre vos, pastore et bergier,     nos vos prions que nos diseis,     queil chose meruelleuse veyut aveis     par coy si grant ioie demynés,     etqui est cils qui soy est apparuit. (ed. Cohen, lines 132–​36)

    (The people to the shepherds:     Between you all, shepherds,     We beg that you tell us     What marvellous thing you have seen,     Why you display such great joy,     And who this is who has appeared.)

In the complete absence of stage directions we can only imagine how this was staged, but it seems likely that “the People” speak from the audience, as the congregation speak

from the pews in the liturgy. The Chantilly audience are thus encouraged to engage with the Shepherds as the earliest eyewitnesses to the birth of Christ. The passages that are not translated into the vernacular, but instead are left in Latin, are perhaps the most helpful indicators of the purpose of these plays and the context of their production. In Chantilly 1, the Latin citations indicate a clear engagement with liturgical text, but the ontological status of such liturgically-​attuned drama must be informed by the idea that rather than enforcing a separation between worship and dramatic representation (following modern dramaturgical convention), we ought to see (as the original practitioners did) that the plays were embodied realizations of Scripture and liturgy which sought to bring past acts (the events of Scripture as much as past moments in worship) into dialogue with the present. What, then, might the liturgical allusions in Chantilly 1 signify? In Chantilly 1’s representation of the Nativity, Mary and Joseph adore the infant Jesus (Mary: “O sire vos soiies le bien venu à monde /​de ciel en terre por le salut des homme […] /​ Je vos adore comme mon createur /​dieu et homme et mon fils, de monde salueur” (ed. Cohen, lines 22–​27) (O sire, may you be welcome in the world /​from heaven to earth for the salvation of men […] I adore you as my creator, god and man and my son, saviour of the world). Here their worship serves as a model for the devotion demanded of the play’s participants. In the case of the “Gloria in excelsis deo” uttered by the angel to the shepherds, the play offers an unforgettable link between the dramatic representation and the text, whenever participants might subsequently hear it, either at the Gloria of the Mass or in the particular context of the exclamation at the Nativity in Scripture. In Chantilly 1’s representation of the Visitation of the Magi, the Latin speeches of the three kings make explicit reference to the liturgical texts for Epiphany, forging a further link between the remembered Scriptural precedent, the liturgical observance of the feast (which makes use of the passages from Scripture), and the dramatic gloss on both, which contains both textual cues and physical representations. Importantly, the kings themselves represent the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah 60, which forms the textual backbone of most of the liturgical Epiphany texts: “The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Saba shall bring presents, and all the kings of the earth shall worship him, and all the nations shall serve him. All shall come from Saba, bringing gold and incense, and announcing praise to the Lord.”14

14  Translated from the Epiphany text in the Carmelite Ordinal, Lambeth Palace MS 193.

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In Chantilly 1, Jasper declares: “Hoc signum magni regis est. Eamus et inquiramus eum et offeramus ei munera: aurum, thus, et mirram” (ed. Cohen, lines 374–​77). (Here is the sign of a great king. Let us go and enquire after him, and offer him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh): these lines echo the text of the Magnificat antiphon at Vespers of the Epiphany, which precedes them with the words: “Magi videntes stellam dixerunt ad invicem” (the Magi, seeing the star, said to one another in turn), missing from Jaspar’s speech in Chantilly 1.15 The play, however, embeds the missing part of the Magnificat antiphon in the action that is witnessed onstage when the kings reach Jesus, as each king speaks to the baby “in turn,” in a carefully structured, tripartite gift-​giving scene. Jaspar’s citation of the Magnificat antiphon is, furthermore, immediately followed by a prayer like a collect: O souerain dieu le pere tout puissant nos vos prions et humblement supplions qui nos donneiz vostre grasce et et benediction affin que veoir et adoreir vostre chire enfan puissons et en la fin de nos jour auoir saluacion. (ed. Cohen, lines 378–​82)

(O sovereign God the father, all-​powerful We pray and humbly beg you That you might give us your grace and benediction So that we might see and adore your dear child And in the end of our days possess salvation.)

The placement of this prayer, directly after the text of the Magnificat antiphon, echoes the structure of a liturgical book. The construction of this scene therefore translates the particular patterning or ordering of texts commonly found in liturgical books into onstage practice. Jaspar’s “Hoc signum” might be heard a few times in other offices throughout the day of Epiphany. Further Latin exclamations by Jaspar and Melchior within this scene—​ “Adorate deum”; “adorate dominum alleluia” (worship God, worship the Lord, alleluia)—​are perhaps in Latin to remind us that their actions are referenced in other liturgical material. Balthasar proclaims, “de mon or agrant plante /​Luy voraie de bon cuer presenteir” (of my gold a great amount /​I wish with all my heart to present to him), and the words “Omnes de Saba …” follow (ed. Cohen, lines 436–​39). Another responsory 15  Robinson, “Feminizing the Liturgy,” pp. 80–​84.

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for the Epiphany, this time from Matins, reads: “Omnes de Saba venient aurum et thus deferentes et laudem domino annuntiantes” (All from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and announcing praise to the Lord). If, as is likely, this is what the words “Omnes de saba” refer to, it serves as a recapitulation and liturgical re-​wording of what has been said and performed in the vernacular. The three kings help participants in the play to understand how the prophecy of Isaiah 60 has been fulfilled, and also to draw a connection between the dramatic representation and the long-​established proper texts of the liturgy. The liturgical text, as part of the play, helps to bring the distant birth of Christ, and the events explored in the well-​known liturgical texts, into the present, transforming and translating them for the participant. The prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled before the participant’s eyes, and the play becomes part of an intertextual panoply of images, texts, and experiences which link salvation history to personal experience. One of the most familiar passages of the medieval liturgy is the Nunc dimittis (Luke 2:29–​ 32), which serves as the Gospel canticle at Compline. Nunc dimittis and the other canticles, the Benedictus at Lauds and the Magnificat at Vespers (also drawn from Luke), form a self-​contained account of humanity’s reaction to the Incarnation: a celebration of the coming of the Messiah, a recognition of his acts, and a thanksgiving for the Incarnation that will save the whole world. Chantilly 2’s incorporation of the Purification presents the narrative source of the Nunc dimittis—​Simeon’s words when Jesus is first presented in the Temple. However, the words of Simeon that survive in the script are not those of the Nunc dimittis itself but rather a translation of the Scriptural narrative surrounding it: Simeon is a man “iustus et timoratus expectans consolationem Israhel” (just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel) who has been told by the Holy Spirit that “non visurum se mortem nisi prius videret Christum Domini” (he should not see death until he had seen Christ the Lord).16 The Chantilly Simeon declares [Car] j’aie oyut reuelacion, par la diuine promission, que jamais morte ne gosteraie se je n’aie tenus | entre mes bras le fils de dieu en char humain[e]‌. (ed. Cohen, lines 85–​89)

16  Luke 2:25–​26. Cf. Biblia sacra juxta vulgatam versionem, p. 1609.

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([For] I have heard a revelation By divine promise That I would never taste death Before holding in my arms The son of God in human flesh.)

But, although he addresses God (“O souerain dieu,” line 74; O sovereign God, for “Domine”) and declares that his desire will today be accomplished (“J’araie ajourdhuy mon desire | acomplis,” line 75; I will today have accomplished my desire), that accomplishment is, he says, the sight of the sweet Virgin with a child in her arms: “vechy la douce vierge, dont parrolle Ysay /​quj son fils, entre ses bras, /​porte à temple presenteir” (see here the sweet Virgin, of whom Isaiah speaks, who takes her son in her arms to present him at the temple; ed. Cohen, lines 76–​78). This is in no way a translation of the continuation of Nunc dimittis, which talks instead of a light to enlighten the Gentiles—​“viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum … Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel” (My eyes have seen your salvation … A light to be a revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel).17 Rather, it is a glossing interpretation of the Nunc dimittis’s words, an interpretation that identifies this light with the infant Christ, and, moreover, an interpretation that invokes not the immediate gospel passage with its prophecy that Simeon will see Christ, “Christum domini,” but the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, which tells of a sign, “signum,” that “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” So the play offers neither the Latin of the canticle nor a translation of it, but rather a sort of vernacular exegetical commentary on its context. However, it is also true that the play appears incomplete, and that two cancelled lines in the manuscript offer the stage direction: “Et pues symeon s’agenolle deuant Marie en adorant Ihesucrist” (ed. Cohen, stage direction to line 93; And then Simeon kneels before Mary, adoring Jesus Christ). It is at least possible that this cancelled direction indicates a performance in which Simeon used the words of the Nunc dimittis as his adoration, and that these words were so familiar that they did not even need to be more explicitly indicated. We would argue further that the words put into the mouth of Simeon, rather than the familiar ones of the Nunc dimittis, are a precise and unmissable reference to the liturgical texts prescribed for the Carmelite Office on the feast of the Purification. Although no liturgical manuscripts from Huy have come down to us, a wide range of other Carmelite 17  Luke 2:30–​32.

manuscripts consulted follows (for the Epiphany and for the Purification at least) the prescriptions in the early fourteenth-​ century Ordinal of Sibert of Beka. This Ordinal, the text of which is best preserved in London, Lambeth Palace, MS 193, was conceived by its author, then the Carmelite Provincial of Lower Germany, as the model for all subsequent Carmelite liturgical books and the exemplar against which they were to be compared. All of the manuscripts consulted contain, within the Purification office, no fewer than seven citations of the passage from Luke, “iustus et timoratus … etc,” while the passage “non visurum se mortem …” also appears four times. Thus, it seems that the play is in fact a gloss on the Carmelite liturgical texts, rather than on the canticle that is so closely associated with the story of Simeon and the infant Jesus. The emphasis on his human qualities and piety may have helped participants to identify with the character Simeon whose words they chanted every day at Compline, and whose life and actions bespoke an ideal relationship with the Messiah: Simeon, like enclosed nuns, was consecrated to service in the temple of God and never left it. Chantilly 1’s episode of the Magi preserves liturgical passages, untranslated in Latin, in contrast to the vernacular dialogue in which they are embedded. The vernacular dialogue explains the meaning of the Latin that is spoken, functioning as a gloss, or perhaps more as a commentary. It seems here that the play encourages the audience to recognize Scriptural narrative from which the liturgical words are taken: after watching the play the audience, remembering the resonance of these words experienced in a dramatic context, will imaginatively recreate that informing context on next hearing the Latin passages in church. For this reason, it is important that the liturgical Latin is spoken within the vernacular text—​to orientate the audience and train their memories. The juxtaposition of Latin citation and vernacular gloss also helps to show the differences between a play and a liturgical celebration, whilst revealing the two to be different expressions of the same reality. Whereas the kings’ liturgical statements are mostly indicated by incipits only in the manuscript, Jaspar’s declaration cited above, “Hoc signum … mirram,” is written out in full, probably, as Robinson argues,18 to distinguish it from another liturgical chant with incipit “Hoc signum”: “Hoc signum crucis erit in caelo cum dominus ad judicandum venerit” (Here is the sign of the cross [which] 18  Robinson, “Feminizing the Liturgy,” p. 83.

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will be in the heavens when the Lord comes to judge), most usually sung during Matins on the feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross. The importance of distinguishing between these two incipits as directions to the performers is clear: it is also clear, however, that the shared incipit might serve suggestively to connect the star, a sign of a great king, with the cross that is also, though rather differently, a sign of Christ the King. Many medieval plays presenting Christ’s birth create iconographical anticipations of his sacrificial death, drawing on Scriptural hints. The myrrh that is given to the baby Jesus is a precious ointment used for embalming dead bodies; the shepherds who visit the baby suggest the image of Christ the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. Simeon prophesies not only the salvation of Israel and the Gentiles but also the suffering that will be necessary to that salvation—​and a sword, he says, shall pierce Mary’s heart, too. This Scriptural prophecy is dramatically foregrounded, for example, in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 133’s Presentation in the Temple, copied ca. 1512.19 Because of the abbreviation of Simeon’s role in the second Chantilly play it is impossible to know how the nuns treated this, but within the first play as it survives, the symbolism of the words “hoc signum” is layered by the deliberate translation of Latin liturgical citation into the script, and by the careful construction of Simeon’s subsequent speech in Chantilly 2. When the two plays are placed alongside one another, the sign in the firmament is a star, and a cross, and a virgin holding a child, called “signum” (sign) by Isaiah.

Translating the Plays into the Seventeenth Century

Material from the two Chantilly plays is rearranged and adapted in an early seventeenth-​ century manuscript in the convent archive: Liège, Archives de l’Etat, Fonds Dames Blanches de Huy, MS 386bis.20 This manuscript was copied by two collaborating hands in a format similar to that of the Chantilly playbook, and contains a single play. In it, the plans for the Massacre of the Innocents and Herod’s revenge on the 19  Baker, The Late Medieval Religious Plays of Bodleian MSS Digby 133 and e Museo 160, lines 539–​40.

20  Citations from this text are from Robinson’s unpublished transcription and are noted by manuscript folio number. The manuscript is described, its hands discussed, and its play partially transcribed in Thomas-​Bourgeois’s “Le Drame religieux au pays de Liège avec documents inédits.”

Medieval Convent Drama

three kings are incorporated alongside the Nativity material, and the Purification episode is missing (although the script is unfinished, suggesting that its inclusion may have been planned). The existence of this later play-​text, which carefully reworks, synthesizes, and augments Chantilly 1 and 2 with several new episodes, suggests either renewed or ongoing interest in religious drama in the convent at Huy.21 The seventeenth-​century version updates the language of the medieval material on which it is based, particularly its spelling and grammar (reflecting the passage of around 150  years), although the lexis remains largely unchanged. In the seventeenth-​century version of the Huy play, the significance of the phrase “hoc signum” is developed yet further. Before Jaspar calls the star the sign of a king, Melchior has personified Christ as a star: “de iacob lestoille aistreroit”22 (the star of Jacob would be fixed in the sky); his words draw on the Old Testament prophecy in Numbers 24:17. The nuns also incorporate non-​Scriptural reference into this version of the play, bringing in an unusual episode in which Herod consults a Sibyl; this perhaps draws on the Legenda aurea, in which on the day of Christ’s birth, “Cum… Sibilla solo in camera imperatoris oraculis insisteret, in die media circulus aureus apparauit circa solem et in medio circuli virgo pulcherrima, puerum gestans in gremio” (When the Sibyl was alone in the room undertaking the Emperor’s prophecy, in the middle of the day a gold circle appeared around the sun, and in the middle of the circle a beautiful virgin, holding a boy on her breast).23 It is perhaps important that the Sibyl scene is an innovation of MS 386bis, the authors of which do not choose to incorporate the earlier Purification scene from Chantilly 2 into their revised version of the play. Their Sibyl sees and interprets the celestial sign that, in Chantilly 2, Simeon saw literally embodied in Mary and Jesus: this moment with the Sibyl is arguably a kind of oblique translation of that Simeon material into the new play—​Simeon’s embodied experience, 21  In this regard, it is worth noting that the signature of one Huy sister who is known to have died in 1612, Eliys de Potiers, appears on the Chantilly manuscript: clearly she, at least, was still consulting it in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. 22  MS 386bis, fol. 4r.

23  Jacobus da Voragine, Legenda aurea, cap. VI, p. 44. There are also precedents for the Sibyl’s appearance within the tradition of liturgical and church music drama, where she is found in the Ordo Prophetarum among Old and New Testament figures predicting Christ’s birth. See Ogden, The Staging of Drama in the Medieval Church, pp. 37, 133–​35, 218–​19n37.

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his literal seeing of Christ in the Virgin’s arms in Chantilly 2 resurfaces here, reshaped as prophecy. This reverses chronology between the two scripts—​while in intradiegetic terms Simeon “will see” the prophecy, in extra-​diegetic terms, for the sisters who are actually undertaking this translation/​adaptation, he has “already” seen it—​in the medieval Chantilly 2 play, and more fully in the liturgical performance of the Nunc Dimittis that the Chantilly play perhaps accompanied, and certainly glossed. The movement of the iconic image of Virgin and child between medieval and post-​medieval play, between Simeon (echoing Isaiah) and the Sibyl, demonstrates how translation, within these plays, merges differing diegetic and liturgical time-​ frames, confounding teleological narrative structures and weaving together past and present experiences by echoing and reworking important images and expressions. The Sibyl tells Herod he must worship the child in the sign in the sky, who is greater than he: Regarde ce merveillea signe au firmament qui se monstre: visiblement, cet vierge tenant entre ce main le benoit fruit de son ventre, ie vous dit veritablement qu’il serat in-​ comparablement Seigneur de vous eternelement.24

(Look at this marvellous sign Which shows itself in the firmament Visibly, this virgin holding In her hands the blessed fruit Of her womb, I tell you Truly that he will be Incomparably Lord over You eternally.)

of later New Testament narrative, and exegetical narrative tradition—​perhaps here that of the Legenda aurea. Naturally, the Sibyl’s words are unacceptable to Herod and precipitate his order to slaughter the Innocents. But the nuns do not allow their audience, or perhaps the actors in the play, to take sides against Herod as they might be expected to do in the face of such a threat of slaughter. Rather, Herod appeals to the audience, and in reply “Un [parle] pour tout le peuple” (One [speaks] for all the people): O, Herode, redoutez roy, iamais autre roy ne prenderont ne a luy n’obeirons et de tout vous reconfortez, car nous vous tiendront loiaute et iamais en nostre terre autre roy que vous n’aurons, et si une autre roy vouloit regner nous le ferons mourir sans demourer.25

(O Herod, redoubted king Never will we take another king Nor obey him And comfort yourself for all this For we will be loyal to you And never in our country Another king but you will we have. And if another king should wish to reign We will have him killed Without delay.)

During this episode, the nuns’ script refers repeatedly to Herod as “Empereur,” which may well also reflect the influence of the Legenda aurea: within the Legenda the Sibyl speaks not to Herod but to the Emperor Octavian. At the heart of the nuns’ translation of the Nativity is a theological drive to explore the rich significations of the signum that first appears in the sky at the moment of Christ’s birth. Generally, the nuns translate into the vernacular, but occasionally, as here, their translation instead preserves the Latin of a liturgical allusion, spoken by the kings, and provides a commentary on it using Old Testament prophecy, echoes

This moment, which is shared with Chantilly 1, reveals both a theatrical interest in controlling audience reaction and a liturgical awareness of direct “audience” involvement, as well as of liturgy’s potential to allow one to speak for all. These words of course recall those of the crowd at Jesus’s trial, who declare: “We have no king but Caesar,” and thus condemn Jesus to death, foreshadowing the Crucifixion within the play’s Nativity narrative. The Prologue of Chantilly 1 is developed in the later MS 386bis in an “anoncemant” (announcement, introduction) that marks the convent context of their translation project in its first lines. The “anoncemant” addresses the Prioress, “Reverande Dame Prieure” (Reverend Lady Prioress), and specifically female audience, “chere Dames” (dear ladies): the manuscripts do not specify who speaks the “anoncemant,” but it is most likely

24  MS 386bis, fol. 6v.

25  MS 386bis, fol. 5v.

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to be either Joseph or Mary, as these are the characters apparently onstage in the play’s opening scene. As “anoncemant” can mean announcement or Annunciation, a parallel is suggested between the “anoncemant” asking the audience to accept the play, and Mary’s acceptance of the Angel’s announcement that she will bear Christ; an even more explicit parallel is created by the prologue’s request that the prioress and sisters accept the play, and Mary’s request immediately following that the “Good people” offer lodgings: Cy comance le jeux De la Nativite de nostre Seigneur Anoncemant d’iciluy Jeux: Reverande Dame Prieure, et vous mes chere Dames, sachez que nous avons des siens de vous represanter [l]‌e tres adorable nativite Du Roy nouvaux nay, Quy vous donera de la recreations et ansanble de la devotion. […]ent ie vous supplie […]aire l’honneur de l’agreer […]ous donner audianc […]vec un petit de silance […]t vous voire comancer Joseph et Marie vons logis cherchans Hé bon ians loge nous ceans! Ie vous prie nous loger cet nuit seulement.

Marie Bonne Dame, au non de Dieu       loge nous icy, nous ne scavons que d’en enquerir! Joseph a Marie Noble Dame cet soy sy       ie voy biens que on ne nous veuss       loger nulement —​       ie voy iscy un viel estable:       loger il nous faudra dedans.26 (Here begins the play Of the Nativity of Our Lord. Announcement of the play: Reverend Lady Prioress, And you, dear ladies Know that we mean To present to you The very worshipful Nativity 26  MS 386bis, fol. 1v.

Medieval Convent Drama

Of the new-​born King Which will bring you recreation Together with devotion Now, I beg you Todo [us] the honour of accepting it And to give us audience With a little silence, And you will see [it] begin. Joseph and Mary go seeking lodgings: Hey, good people, we are looking for lodgings. I beg you to lodge us Just for tonight. Mary: Good lady, in the name of God    Let us lie here this evening:    All we can do is ask. Joseph: Noble lady, tonight    I can see well    That no-​one wishes to lodge us.    Here is an old stable,    Wewill have to take refuge inside it.)

That the “good people” and, later, the “good lady” who are petitioned are the audience (and then, probably, specifically the Prioress) is suggested by the fact that they are given no lines; furthermore, the “anoncemant” has just asked, as the medieval Prologue did, that the audience be silent, so it is inevitable that they will not reply to requests for lodgings, and this must be assumed to be part of the play’s operation:  the audience must first be made guilty of failing to accommodate Mary and by implication to recognize Christ, in order that they may participate in the joyful acts of recognition by shepherds and kings that will follow. At this point, no direct translation of the Vulgate has occurred; rather, the nuns have extrapolated a dialogue from the Scriptural comment that “there was no room for them in the inn,” and deployed the early theatrical convention of imploring the audience’s acceptance for a play in parallel to that dialogue to create a devotional affect. The people, the audience who will join those who call for Christ’s crucifixion, first fail to offer hospitality to the pregnant Mary. In this seventeenth-​century adaptation of the Chantilly play, the nuns retain the female shepherd characters, but develop their roles to create another female-​voiced prophecy that looks towards that of the Sibyl. Alison, on encountering the living Virgin and child as opposed to their celestial signs, foretells Christ’s future suffering and connects it also to his willing acceptance of the suffering of the poor:

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Alison: Amour luy fait prandre     humanite pour le forfait de nostre     iniquite natur, et souffrance     prandra contantemant pour la     deliurance de nostre grief tourmant.     Pour un palais riche et sortable     tu a choisis un pauvre estable,     le froit de l’iver, l’obscur nuict,     la pauvreté que chacun fait.27

    (Love makes him take on     Humanity, for the misdeeds of our     Iniquitous nature, and he will happily take on     Suffering to deliver us from     Our serious torment.     Instead of a rich and fitting palace,     You chose a poor stable     The cold of winter, the darkness of night     The poverty which each person experiences.)

Alison speaks from within the temporal frame of the shepherds, explaining that Christ has already taken on humanity, but using the future tense to indicate that he will suffer, so has not yet. At the same time, the prophecy of Christ’s Passion depends on knowledge beyond the normal human experience of time, and the interpretation of that Passion as delivering human beings from torment depends on a developed Christology that long post-​dates the visit of the shepherds to the infant Christ. Alison does then give the Nativity a time and place—​a poor stable, a cold winter’s night—​but her concern in doing so is not to create a theatrical sense of setting, but rather to note the allegorical significance of the divine choice of setting, and finally to load the moment with tropological meaning. The poor stable that Christ chooses is an image of the “poverty of each person”: these lines teach theology and inspire devotional response while evading any possibility that the Scriptural narrative should be understood as temporally or geographically—​or indeed

27  MS 386bis, fol. 3v.

spiritually—​remote. The poor stable is entirely translated, carried into the time and place of the audience, and imagistically translated, to represent the heart of the believer that must welcome Christ. These plays indicate the desire of the Carmelite sisters at Huy over a long period of time to educate and inform, to teach about the theology of Scripture and the devotional practice of the liturgy using the powers of theatre that can create memory and inspire affect. In this sense, their theatrical work might be situated alongside a wide range of intellectual, cultural and creative practices undertaken by medieval (and indeed later) nuns in various orders and geographical locations, which have recently become the focus of renewed study.28 Our project seeks to understand better the complex workings of these and other convent plays through performance, and our research performances, featuring all-​female casts, will take place 2017–2020 in contemporary convents as well as in other, secular, spaces. On a recent research visit to the Discalced Carmelites in Vilvoorde we learnt that dramatic activity continues to be of great significance to the sisters: it is central to the formation of nuns today, who are encouraged to engage imaginatively with the characters whom they create as playwrights or present as actors. Play rehearsals are frequently the chosen activity of the Carmelites’ compulsory daily recreation hours, and plays are often presented as part of community celebrations such as a sister’s jubilee. The nuns at Vilvoorde keep a collection of scripts written by sisters within living memory; they have an impressive costume collection, and showed us photographs of productions within the community that included, for example, nuns playing male roles in beards. It is impossible to prove the continuity of dramatic practice from the fifteenth century until today, but it is clear that the dramaturgy by which the fifteenth-​century play sought to translate Scripture and liturgy for audience affect was developed more fully in the seventeenth-​century adaptation of the Huy play, and may also have been “translated”—​ “carried over”—​to the practice of today’s Carmelite sisters.

28  See, for example, the publications of the Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe research group: Blanton, O’Mara, and Stoop, Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Hull Dialogue; Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Kansas City Dialogue; and Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Antwerp Dialogue. Also Burton and Stöber, Women in the Medieval Monastic World; Yardley, Performing Piety: Musical Culture in Medieval English Nunneries; and Bell, What Nuns Read.

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Bibliography

Medieval Convent Drama

Primary Sources Baker, Donald. The Late Medieval Religious Plays of Bodleian MSS Digby 133 and e Museo 160. Edited by Donald C. Baker, John L. Murphy, and Louis B. Hall Jr. EETS 283. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. Biblia sacra juxta vulgatam versionem. 4th ed. Edited by Robert Weber and Roger Gryson. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994. Chantilly, Musée Condé MS 617. Cohen, Gustave. Mystères et Moralités du ms. 617 de Chantilly. Paris: Champion, 1920. Jacobus da Voragine. Legenda aurea: Vulgo Historia Lombardica Dicta, cap. VI, p. 44. Edited by Th. Graesse. Vratislaviae: G. Koebner, 1890. The Late Medieval Religious Plays of Bodleian MSS Digby 133 and e Museo 160, lines 539–​40. Edited by Donald C. Baker, John L. Murphy, and Louis B. Hall Jr. EETS 283. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. Liège, Archives de l’Etat, Fonds Dames Blanches de Huy, MS 386bis. London, Lambeth Palace, MS 193. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 133. Thomas-​Bourgeois, C. A. “Le Drame religieux au pays de Liège avec documents inédits.” In Etudes de la dialectologie romane dédiées à la mémoire de Charles Grandgagnage, pp. 283–​313. Paris: Droz, 1932. Secondary Sources Bassnett, Susan. “Theatre and Opera.” In The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation, edited by Peter France, pp. 96–​102. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. —​—​. “Still Trapped in the Labyrinth: Further Reflections on Translation and Theatre.” In Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation, edited by Susan Bassnett and André Lefevere, pp. 90–​108. Clevedon: Multitilingual Matters, 1998. —​—​. “Translating for the Theatre: The Case Against Performability.” TTR: traduction, terminologie, rédaction 4.1 (1991): 99–​111. Baswell, Christopher. “Introduction: Competing Archives, Competing Histories: French and its Cultural Location in Late Medieval England.” Speculum 90 (2015): 635–​42. Bell, David N. What Nuns Read: Books and Libraries in Medieval English Nunneries. Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1995. Blanton, Virginia, Veronica O’Mara, and Patricia Stoop, eds. Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Antwerp Dialogue. Turnhout: Brepols, 2018. —​—​. Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Hull Dialogue. Turnhout: Brepols, 2013. —​—​. Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Kansas City Dialogue. Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. Burton, Janet, and Karen Stöber, eds. Women in the Medieval Monastic World. Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. Doudet, Estelle, Jonathan Beck, and Alan Hindley, eds. Recueil général de moralités d’expression française: Tome I. Paris: Garnier, 2012. Dutton, Elisabeth. “Henry Medwall’s Fulgens and Lucres: Words and Sense in the Staging of Late Medieval Drama.” In The Medieval Translator 10, edited by Jacqueline Jenkins and Olivier Bertrand, pp. 435–​48. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007. Morse, Ruth. “Reflections in Shakespeare Translation.” The Yearbook of English Studies 36.1 (2006): 79–​89. Ogden, Dunbar. The Staging of Drama in the Medieval Church. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2002. Petersen, Nils Holger. “Liturgical Enactment.” In The Routledge Research Companion to Early Drama and Performance, edited by Pamela M. King, pp. 13–​29. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. Robinson, Olivia. “Chantilly, Musée Condé, Ms. 617: Mystères as Convent Drama.” In Les Mystères: Studies in Genre, Text and Theatricality, edited by Peter Happé and Wim Hüsken, pp. 93–​118. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2012. —​—​. “Feminizing the Liturgy: The N-​Town Mary Play and Fifteenth-​Century Convent Drama.” Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature 31 (2015): 71–​84. Sergi, Matthew. “Beyond Theatrical Marketing: Play Banns in the Records of Kent, Sussex, and Lincolnshire.” Medieval English Theatre 36 (2014): 3–​23.

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Stern, Tiffany. Documents of Performance in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Surtz, Ronald E. The Guitar of God: Gender, Power and Authority in the Visionary World of Mother Juana de la Cruz 1481–​1534. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990. —​—​. El libro del conorte. Barcelona: Puvil, 1982. Weaver, Elissa. Convent Theatre in Early Modern Italy: Spiritual Fun and Learning for Women. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Yardley, Anne Bagnall. Performing Piety: Musical Culture in Medieval English Nunneries. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Zieman, Katherine. “Reading, Singing and Understanding: Constructions of the Literacy of Women Religious in Late Medieval England.” In Learning and Literacy in Medieval England and Abroad, edited by Sarah Rees Jones, pp. 97–​120. Turnhout: Brepols, 2003. Matthew Cheung-​Salisbury is Lecturer in Music at University and Worcester Colleges in the University of Oxford, and senior FNS researcher at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He has broad interests in the liturgy, sacred music, and codicology of the late Middle Ages, and is author of several books including The Secular Liturgical Office in Late Medieval England. As an editor and performer, Matthew has led reconstructions of historic liturgies, which have been broadcast internationally on radio and television. He is National Liturgy and Worship Adviser to the (present-​day) Church of England.

Elisabeth Dutton is Professor of Medieval English at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She has published widely on early theatre, and is the author of Julian of Norwich: The Influence of Late-​Medieval Devotional Compilations, an edition of Julian’s writing, and the editor of a number of essay collections. She is an experienced theatre director and heads research projects on two different forms of institutional drama—​on Medieval Convent Drama, together with Liv Robinson and Matthew Cheung-​ Salisbury, and on Early Drama at Oxford.

Olivia Robinson is Senior Swiss National Sceince Foundation Research Fellow at the University of Fribourg and Lecturer in Late Medieval English at the University of Birmingham.  She is currently researching theatre in medieval women’s religious houses as part of the Medieval Convent Drama project, and has published articles on this topic in Medieval European Drama and Medieval English Theatre. Her first book, which explores Franco-​English translation and the Chaucer canon, is entitled Contest, Translation and the Chaucerian Text and is forthcoming with Brepols. 

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6 TRANSLATING ROMANCE IN MEDIEVAL NORWAY: MARIE DE FRANCE AND STRENGLEIKAR ERIN MICHELLE GOERES Translation was of immense cultural importance in medieval Norway. In a “Mirror for Princes” (speculum regale) composed for the sons of King Hákon Hákonarson, king of Norway from 1217 to 1263, urges the importance of language-​learning at the highest levels of society: “æf þu willt wærða fullkomenn í froðleic. þa næmðu allar mallyzkur en alra hælz latinu oc walsku. þwiat þær tungur ganga wiðazt. En þo tynþu æigi at hældr þinni tungo”1 (if you wish to become perfect in knowledge, then you must learn all the languages, but most especially Latin and French, because these languages are used most widely. And yet, do not forget to maintain your own language). King Hákon’s interest in European culture determined the decidedly international focus of his reign. The king promoted political and trading relationships with other European monarchs, arranged marriages for his offspring with partners from European royal households, and consolidated alliances abroad rather than at home, most notably with King Henry III of England. He led his country from the final stages of a bloody civil war to relative unity as a modern, European kingdom and ruled for nearly half a century.2 Ties between Norway and England were particularly close. Hákon recruited political and ecclesiastical advisors from England, as English styles of painting, sculpture, ornamentation, and architecture were adopted by the Norwegian court and promoted throughout the country. This close political and cultural relationship between England and Norway was bolstered by a mutual reliance on trade. English grain, ale, cloth, and pottery flowed into Norway, while northern resources such as fish, timber, fur, and hunting birds proved popular with English buyers. European courtly literature 1  Konungs skuggsjá, p. 10.

2  A good, English-​language summary of the king’s reign is Helle, “The Norwegian Kingdom,” pp. 369–​91.

was among the many foreign products desired and promoted by King Hákon, and it is likely that most of the romances translated into Old Norse were brought from England along with other imported goods. As the importation of foreign products helped to consolidate Norway’s political relationships abroad, the importation of European romance offered a valuable form of cultural capital to members of the Norwegian court: the consumption of this popular form of European literature enabled the king and his court to demonstrate their inclusion in the wider European cultural sphere. Hákon was the patron of a number of translated romances and is widely credited with introducing European romance to Scandinavia. One of the earliest—​possibly the earliest—​texts to name King Hákon is the Norwegian version of Tristram and Isolde, Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar, extant in an Icelandic manuscript dating from the seventeenth century.3 The saga begins with a prologue that foregrounds the royal status of its patron and gives details about the date of translation and identity of the king’s translator: Hér skrifaz sagan af Tristram ok Ísönd dróttningu, í hverri talat verðr um óbæriliga ást, er þau höfðu sín á milli. Var þá liðit frá hingatburði Christi 1226 ár, er þessi saga var á norrænu skrifuð eptir befalningu ok skipan virðuligs herra Hákonar kóngs. En Bróðir Robert efnaði ok upp skrifaði eptir sinni kunnáttu með þessum orðtökum, sem eptir fylgir í sögunni. (Written down here is the story of Tristram and Queen Ísönd and of the heartrending love that they shared. This saga was translated into the Norse tongue at the behest and decree of King Hákon when 1226 years

3  The full saga, including the prologue, is recorded only in this manuscript. The oldest extant fragments date from the fifteenth century. See Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar, pp. 25–​26.

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had passed since the birth of Christ. Brother Robert ably prepared the text and wrote it down in the words appearing in this saga.)4

Hákon’s patronage of a text like Tristrams saga—​ a decidedly secular narrative about forbidden love and knightly heroism—​ seems a surprising choice when contrasted to the Old English translation of Gregory’s Pastoral Care, or to medieval French-​language adaptations of Aristotle’s Ethics and Poetics. Nevertheless, the romance texts translated at Hákon’s behest were similarly expected to perform a range of important cultural and social functions, from educating the Norwegian aristocracy in new models of courtly behaviour to promoting Hákon’s particular brand of strong, centralized rule. Unlike earlier Scandinavian kings, who were usually elected by the aristocracy and bound to their supporters by bonds of kinship and reciprocal obligation, Hákon assumed a more authoritarian form of monarchy similar to that of his European counterparts; it has been argued that the power and respect enjoyed by a romance king such as Arthur offered an attractive literary parallel to the increasingly centralized forms of control promoted by Hákon.5 Hákon’s patronage is noted in the prologues or epilogues of five translated works, although he may have commissioned more. The texts translated under his aegis vary considerably with respect to style, provenance, and themes. While Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar translates Thomas of Britain’s now-​fragmentary account of the well-known, tragic tale, Elis saga ok Rósamundu (Saga of Elis and Rósamunda) is a Norse translation of the French chanson de geste Elie de Saint Gille, a love-​story set against the backdrop of Christian-​Saracen conflict, and Ívens saga translates the Arthurian romance Yvain or Le chevalier au lion (The Knight of the Lion) by the late-​twelfth-​century French poet Chrétien de Troyes. In contrast to these lengthy, courtly narratives, Möttuls saga (Saga of the Mantle) is a comical story of sexual misconduct at the court of King Arthur, based on the Lai du Cort Mantel (Lai of the Short Mantle). The collection known as Strengleikar (Songs for Stringed Instruments) translates a series of short stories about love, adultery, and the supernatural from the Lais of Marie de France written in Anglo-​Norman in the twelfth century.6 This corpus of riddarasögur (sagas of knights) is by its scale and 4  Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar, pp. 28–​29.

5  Barnes, “The riddarasögur,” pp. 140–​58.

6  A good overview of Marie’s canon and possible identity may be found in Watt, Medieval Women’s Writing, pp. 39–​62. The most complete

variety an eloquent witness to the centrality of translation during Hákon’s reign. The term riddarasaga, first recorded in the fourteenth century, denotes romance material translated into Old Norse. Modern scholars often draw a distinction between “translated riddarasögur”—​ those translated primarily in thirteenth-​century Norway from known European source-​texts—​and later so-​called “independent,” “indigenous,” or “Icelandic” riddarasögur, sometimes labelled lygisögur (lying sagas), which draw heavily on romance motifs but are not direct translations of identifiable works.7 Strengleikar consists of twenty-​one prose tales structured like Breton lais. Unlike other French-​language works translated in medieval Scandinavia and preserved in later, post-​medieval, manuscripts, the Strengleikar collection is preserved in a manuscript dating to only a few years after King Hákon’s death.8 It is the oldest manuscript to contain Old Norse translations of continental romance and is the most important witness to the production and dissemination of translated texts at the Norwegian court. Fragments of two further lais were also found in the lining of a bishop’s mitre in Skálholt, Iceland.9 Eleven of the Strengleikar texts are translations of the Lais of Marie de France and a further six are translations of anonymous Old French lais. The origin of the remaining four is unknown. The Breton lai was a short narrative poem in octosyllabic couplets, probably Celtic in origin (cf. Old Irish laidh [song] and Gaelic laoid [hymn]), narrating a love adventure and often containing supernatural, Celtic elements; it likely arose in twelfth-​century France. It was originally composed to be sung with musical accompaniment on harps or rotes. The Lais of Marie de France, whose identity is unknown, are voiced by a first-​person narrator who in the prologue extols the benefits of scholarly work in guarding against idleness and vice, declaring that anyone to whom God has given the knowledge and ability to write has a duty to do so. Her avowed original intention was to translate some “bone estoire” (good story) “de latin en romaunz” (from Latin into the vernacular).10 Because previous authors have completed similar version of the Lais is found in London, British Library, MS Harley 978. Of the six lais not recorded in the Harley manuscript, five are preserved in Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Nouvelles acquisitions françaises 1104 and one in Cologny, Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, MS Bodmer 82. 7  Kalinke, The Arthur of the North, pp. 316–​63.

8  Uppsala, Uppsala University Library, de la Gardie 4–​7. 9  Copenhagen, AM 666 b 4to.

10  Les Lais de Marie de France, lines 29–​30; The Lais of Marie de France, p. 41.

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translations, she decides instead to translate into rhyme some oral narratives from Britanny, thus asserting the validity of another European vernacular tradition as a source for Anglo-​ Norman literary inspiration. She dedicates the collection to King Henry II, and describes him as a paragon of courtly virtue, “Ki tant estes pruz e curteis, /​A ki tute joie s’encline /​ E en ki quoer tuz biens racine”11 (you who are so worthy and courtly, you to whom all joy pays homage and in whose heart all true virtue has taken root).12 Through this dedication she makes the king complicit in the new direction of her translation, as he becomes part of the literary world she creates. Marie’s departure from classical culture with her vernacular images of kingship and courtliness may have made the Lais especially attractive to the Norwegian King Hákon and his court. Unfortunately, little is known about the identity of the Old Norse translator who worked on the text. He is sometimes assumed to be the “Brother Robert” named in the prologue to Tristrams saga, cited above. The Strengleikar manuscript also contains the romance Elis saga ok Rósamundu, in which the translator is named as “Roðbert ábóti” (Abbot Robert). Scholars have often assumed Robert to be an Anglo-​Norman cleric employed by King Hákon expressly to translate French-​ language texts into Old Norse. Nevertheless, the degree of linguistic variation still evident in the Old Norse forms suggests that at least two, possibly more, translators worked on the collection prior to its being written down in the extant manuscript.13 As with so many medieval texts, the lines between translator(s), redactor, scribe, and compiler are difficult to draw, and “Brother Robert” was probably only one of several contributors to the Old Norse text as we now have it. For lack of a verifiable historical figure, the term “translator” is used below for the narrative voice constructed in the text. This narrative voice first emerges when the Old Norse narrator prefaces his translation of Marie’s prologue with additional comments, emphasizing the courtly virtues 11  Les Lais de Marie de France, lines 44–​46. 12  Strengleikar, pp. xxiv–​xxvi.

13  An alternative view of Strengleikar’s provenance has been suggested by Ingvil Brügger Budal, who finds it unlikely that so many skilled translators—​ and indeed Old French source-​ texts—​ would have been present in Norway at the time. She argues instead that the translation was completed in England, perhaps at Reading Abbey or Oxford, by a Norwegian clergyman, and that the dialectical differences now present in the Strengleikar manuscript were introduced later by Norwegian scribes. See Budal, “The Genesis of Strengleikar,” pp. 31–​43.

Translating Romance in Medieval Norway

described in the lais, as well as the potential of such works to educate and entertain a new audience: 〈A〉‌T hæve þæirra er i fyrnskunni varo likaðe oss at forvitna ok rannzaka þui at þæir varo listugir i velom sinom glœgsynir i skynsemdom. hygnir raðagærðom vaskir i vapnom hœverskir i hirðsiðum millder i giofum ok 〈at〉 allzskonar drængscap. hinir frægiazto. ok fyrir þui at i fyrnskunni gerðuzc marger undarleger lutir ok ohæyrðir atburðir a varom dogum. þa syndizc oss at frœða verande ok viðrkomande þæim sogum … til ævenlægrar aminningar til skæmtanar. ok margfrœðes viðr komande þioða.

(It pleased us to inquire about and examine the deeds of those who lived in olden days, because they were skilled in their arts, discerning in their reason, clever in their counsels, valiant with weapons, well-​ mannered in the customs of the court, generous with gifts, and most famous for every kind of nobility. And because many marvellous things and events unheard of in our time took place in olden days, it occurred to us to teach men living and those to come these stories … as an everlasting reminder, as entertainment, and as a source of great learning for posterity.)14

While Marie presents her work as a private intellectual endeavour, the aims of Strengleikar are public: to educate and to entertain. Unlike Marie, who writes in the first-​person singular, the Old Norse narrator primarily uses the plural pronoun vér (we), emphasizing the communal nature of his translation project. Whereas Marie presents her text, unbidden, to King Henry of England, the Old Norse narrator depicts the act of translation as stemming directly from the Norwegian King Hákon himself:  “〈E〉n bok þessor er hinn virðulege hacon konongr let norrœ́na or volsko male ma hæita lioða bok” (This book, which the esteemed King Hákon had translated into Norse from the French language, may be called the “Book of Lais”).15 This is followed by a translation of Marie’s prologue which, although it is relatively close to the source-​text, removes the description of Marie working alone and late into the night, as well as all grammatical markers of a female speaker. Sif 14  Strengleikar, pp. 4–​5.

15  Strengleikar, pp. 4–​5. No source-​text has been identified for these additional comments, although Barnes does note that this section is highly formulaic and draws on ideas and expressions common to other medieval texts. See Barnes, “Arthurian Chivalry,” p. 61.

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Ríkharðsdóttir argues16 that such changes contribute to a “depersonalisation of the narrative voice,” and that the change from a feminine to masculine speaker may also work to emphasize “the text’s new linguistic re-​presentation in Old Norse, a conceivably ‘masculine’ language in its aural resonance when compared with the melodious tone of the French poems.” Certainly the translator has an elite, masculine audience in mind as he directly addresses King Hákon and the members of his court: “er mer fagnaðr at starf mitt þækkez ok hugnar sua hygnum hofðingia ok hans hirðar kurtæisom klærkom. ok hœværskom hirðmonnom” (I am glad that my work pleases and satisfies such a wise chieftain and the courteous clerks of his court and his gracious retainers; my added emphasis highlights the addition to Marie’s text).17 Words that explicitly denote the act of translation are infrequent in the Strengleikar collection, and indeed in the corpus of Old Norse romance in general. The verb snúa (to turn, twist, or alter) occurs twice (cf. Marie’s en romaunz traire), and Strengleikar contains some of the earliest attestations of the verb norrœna. Related to the noun norrœna denoting Old Norse or the Norwegian language, it means “to put into Norwegian, to Norse-​ify.” The translator identifies himself as “sa er þessa bok norrǽnaðr” (he who put this book into Norwegian).18 The same verb is used to describe the king, who “bok þessor … let norrœ́na or volsko male” (this book … had translated into Norse from the French language),19 but there is a distinction between their roles in the translation process. The Old Norse translator is the subject of the verb norræna—​ he is the one who actively translates from Anglo-​Norman into Old Norse. When the verb describes the king’s actions it is modified by the auxiliary verb láta, “to have/​to command to be [translated].” The two roles are distinct but complementary, and both are shown to be necessary in the introduction of the Lais to Norway. It is notable, however, that while the king is closely associated with the act of translation, there is no overt attempt to use vernacular translation as a means of articulating a broader national or linguistic Norwegian identity. This contrasts with such texts as the Middle English Cursor Mundi in which the translator’s decision to translate into the English language is “For the loue of Inglis lede, /​Inglis lede of 16  Sif Ríkharðsdóttir, Medieval Translations and Cultural Discourse, pp.  32–​33. 17  Strengleikar, pp. 8–​9.

18  Strengleikar, pp. 78–​79, 98–​99. 19  Strengleikar, pp. 4–​5.

Ingland, /​For the commun at understand.”20 In contrast, the translator of Strengleikar addresses an elite audience, and his translation is offered to the king and his retainers, not to the general population. The style deemed most appropriate for this audience was not poetry but prose. While poetry was popular in medieval Scandinavia, traditional poetic forms relied on complex metres with intricate patterns of alliteration and assonance, as well as obscure mythological references. It is not surprising that translators of romance were unwilling or unable to adapt such forms to the very different context of European romance.21 Moreover, prose was the medium of the sagas and a range of other literary genres including saints’ lives and other religious texts, histories of the kings of Norway, and accounts of the discovery and settlement of Iceland and other Scandinavian colonies in the North Sea. Intimately connected with a distinctly Scandinavian form of narrative, prose was adaptable to a range of literary situations. Hákon’s translators did, however, draw on native elements in both prose and verse when they developed a new, poetic style of prose for their romance texts. Sometimes called Old Norse “court style,” such prose differs from the relatively straightforward, unembellished prose of other Old Norse genres.22 Not unlike some forms of Old Norse poetry, it is embellished with parallel words and phrases, an increased number of adjectives, and frequent alliteration: this can be seen in phrases such as “likaðe oss at forvitna ok rannzaka” (it pleased us to inquire about and examine) and “þæir varo … vaskir i vapnom hœverskir i hirðsiðum” (they were … valiant with weapons, well-​mannered in the customs of the court).23 Although the poetic quality of romance is less overt in the Old Norse translations than in their European counterparts, such stylistic embellishments mark the texts out as something new in the development of Scandinavian prose writing. At the same time the use of prose to translate European poetry signals the integration of such texts into the existing literary culture of the Norwegian audience: the texts are “Norse-​ified” in form as well as language. 20  Cursor Mundi; MS Cotton Vespasian Aiii, lines 234–​36.

21  It should, however, be noted that two generations after Hákon a form of rhyming couplets known as Knittelvers verse was introduced from Germany and used to translate three romance texts into Old Swedish. 22  Kristjánsson, “The Court Style,” pp. 431–​40. 23  Strengleikar, pp. 4–​5.

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Although the lais are not translated as poetry per se, Strengleikar’s translator employs alternative strategies to conjure up the atmosphere of an oral performance: in addition to these “poetic” embellishments of the prose, the prologue and many of the individual lais also emphasize the musical quality of the texts. In the Old Norse prologue, the royal act of translation is juxtaposed with a long list of musical instruments on which the translated texts are performed: 〈E〉n bok þessor er hinn virðulege hacon konongr let norrœ́na or volsko male ma hæita lioða bok. þui at af þæim sogum er þæssir bok birtir gærðo skolld i syðra brætlande er liggr i frannz lioðsonga. þa er gærazc i horpum gigiom. Simphanom. Organom. Timpanom. Sallterium. ok corom. ok allzkonar oðrum strænglæikum er menn gera ser ok oðrum til skemtanar þæssa lifs.

(This book, which the esteemed King Hákon had translated into Norse from the French language, may be called the “Book of Lais” because from the stories which this book makes known, poets in Brittany—​which is in France—​composed lais, which are performed on harps, fiddles, hurdy-​gurdies, lyres, dulcimers, psalteries, rotes and other stringed instruments of all kinds, which men make to amuse themselves and others in this world.)24

Although somewhat formulaic, there is a sense of novelty and delight in the length of this musical tally. It is as if the words themselves, as well as the instruments they refer to, constitute an exciting new addition to the Old Norse literary register.25 Like his Anglo-​Norman source, the narrator further emphasizes the ostensibly spoken nature of his text by regularly using such verbs as segja (to say) and telja (to recount), and the audience is imagined as listening (heyra). Authors who work in the Breton lai tradition, from Marie to Chaucer, constantly emphasize this oral quality that links their translations to their mysterious, almost exotic sources. The Old Norse narrator is no exception: indeed, Strengleikar contains numerous descriptions of the prehistory of the text, detailing the layers of translation and transmission that have allowed it to reach Norway. In the lai of Guiamar, for example, the narrator declares: 24  Strengleikar, pp. 4–​7.

25  Most of these Latinate loan-​words are first attested in Strengleikar, but this is perhaps not surprising, as de la Gardie 4–​7 is one of the oldest extant manuscripts to contain romance texts.

Translating Romance in Medieval Norway

SOgur þær er ec væit sannar ok brættar hava lioðsonga af gort. vil ec segia yðr sem ec ma með fæstom orðom. En sua sem ritningar hava synt mer vil ec sægia yðr atburði þa sem gerðuzt a hinu syðra bretlande i fyrnskunni.

(The stories which I know are true and from which the Bretons have made lais I want to tell you as best I can in a very few words. And just as writings have revealed to me, so I will tell you the adventures which took place long ago in Brittany.)26

Moving from Brittany to England and from England to Norway, the lais form a bridge between the different audiences of these diverse lands. Music also spans the temporal gap between the genre’s inception and its retelling, for the shared experience of listening to the music of the lais—​an experience described in the text if perhaps never quite enacted in the same way—​links the new, Norwegian audience to those who first heard the lais performed in Brittany. The translation of romance not only allows the members of King Hákon’s court to access a new form of literature at home; it also offers them membership to the wider European literary community. How does this movement from Marie’s octosyllabic rhyming couplets to Strengleikar’s embellished prose affect the content and tenor of the material? About half the lais in Strengleikar follow their source-​texts closely, but many are considerably reduced. The most recent editors of the text estimate that Milun has been shortened by nearly 50 percent when compared to Marie’s Anglo-​Norman tale; Chetovel is shorter by 47 percent and Laustik by 37 percent.27 This is typical of most romance texts translated into Old Norse. Scandinavian translators tend to abbreviate or remove descriptions of the characters’ physical appearance and of their mental and emotional states. Lengthy dialogues and narratorial comments are often omitted or shortened as well, resulting in an increased emphasis on plot. Given this tendency to condense, any additions made by the Old Norse translator are noteworthy, offering useful insights into the translator’s assumptions about the reception of the work by his Scandinavian audience. Many augmentations to the Old Norse text are explanatory in nature, with a particular focus on the names both of the lais and of the characters within them. The Anglo-​Norman Lai de Fresne, for example, recounts the origin of the protagonist’s name: “Pur ceo qu’el 26  Strengleikar, pp. 12–​13.

27  Strengleikar, pp. xxiii–​xxiv.

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freisne fu trovee, /​Le Freisne li mistrent a nun” (because she had been found in the ash-​tree, they named her Le Fresne).28 The Old Norse text translates these lines almost exactly, but with the added explanation, “þui at þat er 〈hit〉 fægrsta nafn. ok atkuæði i volsku male” (because that is a very beautiful name and designation in the French language).29 Similar explanations are offered of the titles of the lais which even in the source-​text emphasize the translated nature of the works. Marie, for example, introduces one lai by giving its title in Breton (Laüstic), French (Russignol), and English (Nihtegale). The Old Norse narrator similarly gives all three names in his introduction to the lai, but adds a further explanation about the nature of the nightingale: “En þat er æinn litill fugl. er þægar sumra tækr þa syngr hon ok gellr um nætr sua fagrt. ok miori roddu at yndelegt ok ynnelegt er til at lyða” (That is a little bird who, when summer begins, sings and chants at night so beautifully and in such a thin voice that it is delightful and delicious to listen to).30 The Norse translator assumes either that his audience will not be not familiar with such a creature, or that they will not fully appreciate its role as a literary symbol of love. Other additions to Marie’s tales seem designed to address possible scepticism on the part of the Norwegian audience about some of the more unusual aspects of the lai genre, and to reinforce the educational function of the text. The lai of Equitan, for example, demonstrates the potentially gruesome consequences of adultery when a plot by the protagonist’s wife and her lover goes awry, and the two are boiled alive in a bath. Although the circumstances that result in the boiling are so highly contrived as to be almost comical, the Old Norse translator foregrounds the didactic nature of the text by appending a lengthy, homiletic epilogue to the tale. In Old Norse, the tale of Equitan becomes an exemplum whose moral extends well beyond the aristocratic audience of the prologue: as the Norse translator observes, “þa ognar hon verandom ok viðrkomandom allum er i svikum ok illzsku likar at bua” (it threatens all those living and to come who like to live in evil and deceit).31 The translator also augments the conclusion of Bisclaret (Bisclavret in the Anglo-​Norman). This lai features a werewolf as its protagonist, which even 28  Les Lais de Marie de France, lines 228–​29; The Lais of Marie de France, p. 64. 29  Strengleikar, pp. 50–​51. 30  Strengleikar, pp. 102–​3. 31  Strengleikar, pp. 80–​81.

the French narrator admits may strain the audience’s credulity: “L’aventure k’avez oïe /​Veraie fu, n’en dutez mie” (The adventure you have heard actually took place, do not doubt it).32 The Old Norse narrator, however, addresses this difficulty at length at the end of the lai: Nu finnzc æigi þat at sannare se þesse atburðr en ver hovum yðr sagt þuiat mart gærðezt kynlegt i fyrskonne. þat er ængi hœyrir ny gætet. En sa er þessa bok norrœnaðe hann sa i bærnsko sinni æinn rikan bonda er hamskiftisk stundum var hann maðr stundum i vargs ham. ok talde allt þat er vargar at hofðuzt mæðan er fra honom ækki længra sægiande. En brættar gærðu lioð Bisclaret. af þæssare sogu er þer havet nu hœyrt.

(Nothing that happens now is more true than this adventure we have told you about, for many strange things happened in olden times that no one hears mentioned now. He who translated this book into Norse saw in his childhood a wealthy farmer who shifted his shape. At times he was a man, at other times in wolf’s shape, and he told everything that wolves did in the meantime. But there is no more to be said about him. The Bretons made a lai, “Bisclaret,” of this story which you have now heard.)33

With this addition, the difference between “olden times” and “now” seems to collapse. Whereas the world described in the Lais of Marie is located firmly in the distant past, that described in Old Norse seems to blur into the narrator’s own childhood; by the end of the tale, werewolves are separated from the audience by no more than a man’s lifetime. The narrator steps into the text to act as a witness for the improbable events he describes, perhaps as a way of assuring his audience that these astonishing tales are more relevant than they might assume. In so doing, the text creates an uncanny alliance between the man who shifts his shape and he who shifts the text, sa er þessa bok norrœnaðe. Nowhere else in the lais is the process of literary translation and physical transformation so closely aligned. Although it is not possible to enumerate here all the differences between the Old Norse Strengleikar and the Lais of Marie de France, it can be seen from the discussion above that the Old Norse translator does not follow his source-​text 32  Les Lais de Marie de France, lines 315–​16; The Lais of Marie de France, p. 72. 33  Strengleikar, pp. 98–​99.

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blindly. Like other translators, both medieval and modern, he decontextualizes—​to use Lawrence Venuti’s description34—​ aspects of the text’s signifying process, refashioning not only the language, but also the form, content, and style of Marie’s text to suit the different literary, social, and political contexts of thirteenth-​century Norway. Reworking the Anglo-​Norman couplets into Old Norse prose, the translator evokes their poetic quality with stylistic embellishments that combine existing forms of Scandinavian verse and prose; in so doing, he signals both the novelty of the romance genre and its integration within the Old Norse literary environment. Added lists of musical instruments further emphasize the oral provenance of the tales, creating a link between their presumed original audience in Brittany and the new, elite audience of the Norwegian court. The Norwegian audience, however, seems to have preferred a more fast-​paced, action-​driven form of narrative than their Breton and Anglo-​Norman counterparts: to this end, the Old Norse translator radically condenses the text, removing moments of introspection, emotion, and dialogue. Elsewhere, however, he expands or elaborates on his source, particularly where the Anglo-​Norman lais contain elements that may have been confusing for an audience unfamiliar with romance motifs. His elaborations demonstrate that the Old Norse translator had a keen sense of the novelty of romance in Scandinavia, and that the process of translation was, for him, one of education as well. Such changes are valuable because they implicitly demonstrate the assumptions the Old Norse translator must have made about his Norwegian audience, especially with respect to their knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of the romance genre, as well as their expectations of how foreign works could or should be incorporated within existing literary traditions. However, Strengleikar is notable also for the many explicit comments made by the Old Norse translator

about the nature and function of his work. Particularly in the prologue to the collection, translation is framed as a royal project: the Old Norse translator is, above all, an agent of the king, working to bring the ideals, behaviours, and discourses of European courtly romance to Norway, but in a distinctly Scandinavian form. In a way, translation becomes a peace-​offering: the translated romances hold up a new form of shared identity, one that has the potential to unify a king and court formerly divided by civil war. Translation is also, however, a declaration of royal power. As patron of the translated romances, King Hákon demonstrates not only his ability to introduce a new form of literature to his country and to demand that members of his court comply with the models of behaviour it promotes; the adaptation of romance texts and their accommodation of local concerns and requirements also demonstrate the king’s autonomy, and his ability to mould romance to suit his specific requirements. Strengleikar, along with the other romances translated at King Hákon’s court, illustrates the ways in which translation exposes both the desire for, and resistance to, the power and cachet of a foreign culture. Through such changes to the Anglo-​Norman text, the Old Norse narrator demonstrates that for him the act of translation is both public and political. By commissioning the translation of these courtly texts, the king himself is shown to take the lead in entertaining and educating his followers in the courtly behaviours depicted in the lais. No longer torn apart by civil war, the Norwegian aristocracy is offered a means of asserting a new, communal identity, modelled by the knightly protagonists of Marie’s Lais. Through the translation of the Old Norse Strengleikar, Norway’s unifying, modernizing king introduces a new form of cultural capital to Scandinavia, inviting his followers to join him in the shared performance of aristocratic, European ideals.

Bibliography Manuscripts Cited Cologny, Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, MS Bodmer 82. Copenhagen, AM 666 b 4to. London, British Library, MS Harley 978. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Nouvelles acquisitions françaises 1104. Uppsala, Uppsala University Library, de la Gardie 4–​7. 34  Venuti, “Genealogies of Translation,” p. 496.

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Primary Sources

Cursor Mundi (The Cursur o the World): A Northumbrian Poem of the XIVth Century in Four Versions. Edited by Richard Morris. 3 vols. London: Published for the Early English Text Society by K. Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1874–​93. Konungs skuggsjá: Speculum regale. Udgivet efter håndskrifterne af det Kongelige nordiske oldskr. Edited by Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Nordisk, 1920. Les Lais de Marie de France. Edited by Jean Rychner, Les classiques français du Moyen Age. Paris: Champion, 1978. Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar. Edited and translated by Peter Jorgensen, in Norse Romance. Edited by Marianne Kalinke, Carolyn Collette, Maryanne Kowaleski, Linne Mooney, Ad Putter, and David Trotter, Arthurian Archives, 3–​5, 3 vols. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1999. Vol. 1, pp. 23–​226. Strengleikar: An Old Norse Translation of Twenty-​one Old French Lais. Edited and translated by Robert Cook and Mattias Tveitane, Norrøne tekster 3. Oslo: Norsk historisk kjeldeskrift-​institutt, 1979. The Lais of Marie de France. Translated by Glyn S. Burgess and Keith Busby. London: Penguin, 1988; repr. 1986. Secondary Sources Bandlien, Bjørn, Stefka G.  Eriksen, and Sif Rikhardsdottir, eds. Arthur of the North: Histories, Emotions, and Imaginations. Scandinavian Studies 98.1 (2015). Barnes, Geraldine. “Arthurian Chivalry in Old Norse.” In Arthurian Literature 7. Edited by Richard Barber, pp. 50–​102. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1987. —​—​. “The riddarasögur and Mediæval European Literature.” Medieval Scandinavia 8 (1975): 140–​58. —​—​. “Romance in Iceland.” In Old Icelandic Literature and Society, edited by Margaret Clunies Ross, pp. 266–​86. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 42. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. —​—​. “Scandinavian Versions of Arthurian Romance.” In A Companion to Arthurian Literature, edited by Helen Fulton, pp. 189–​201. Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture 58. Chichester: Wiley-​Blackwell, 2009. Budal, Ingvil Brügger. “The Genesis of Strengleikar: Scribes, Translators, and Place of Origin.” In Eddic, Skaldic and Beyond: Poetic Variety in Medieval Iceland and Norway, edited by Martin Chase, pp. 31–​43. New York: Fordham University Press, 2014. Glauser, Jürg. “Romance (Translated riddarasögur).” In A Companion to Old Norse Literature and Culture, edited by Rory McTurk, pp. 372–​87. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. Goeres, Erin Michelle. “Sounds of Silence: The Translation of Women’s Voices from Marie de France to the Old Norse Strengleikar.” JEGP 113.3 (2014): 279–​307. Helle, Knut. “The Norwegian Kingdom: Succession Disputes and Consolidation.” In The Cambridge History of Scandinavia, edited by Knut Helle, pp. 369–​91. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Johansson, Karl G., and Rune Flaten, eds. Francia et Germania: Studies in Strengleikar and Þiðreks saga af Bern. Bibliotheca Nordica 5. Oslo: Novus Forlag, 2012. Kalinke, Marianne, ed. The Arthur of the North: The Arthurian Legend in the Norse and Rus’ Realms. Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages 5. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011. —​—​. “Norse Romance (Riddarasögur).” In Old Norse-​Icelandic Literature: A Critical Guide, edited by Carol J. Clover and John Lindow, pp. 316–​63. Medieval Reprints for Teaching 42. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005. Kristjánsson, Jonas. “The Court Style.” In Les Sagas de Chevaliers (Riddarasögur): Actes de la Ve Conférence internationale sur les sagas (Toulon, juillet 1982), edited by Régis Boyer, pp. 431–​40. Paris: Presses de l’Universitaire Paris-​Sorbonne, 1985. Leach, Henry Goddard. Angevin Britain and Scandinavia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1921. Sif Ríkharðsdóttir. Medieval Translations and Cultural Discourse: The Movement of Texts in England, France and Scandinavia. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012. Thijs, Christine, “Close and Clumsy or Fanatically Faithful: Medieval Translators on Literal Translation.” In Transmission and Transformation in the Middle Ages: Texts and Contexts, edited by Kathleen Cawsey and Jason Harris, pp. 15–​39. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007. Venuti, Lawrence. “Genealogies of Translation: Jerome.” In The Translation Studies Reader, edited by Lawrence Venuti, pp. 483–​502. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2012. Watt, Diane, Medieval Women’s Writing: Works by and for Women in England, 1100–​1500. Cambridge: Polity, 2007.

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Translating Romance in Medieval Norway

Erin Michelle Goeres is Senior Lecturer in Old Norse Language and Literature at University College London, and head of the UCL Department of Scandinavian Studies. She is currently writing a book on the relationship between the literatures of Scandinavia, England, and France in the post-​Conquest period. She also works on skaldic verse and Old Norse historiography. Her recent monograph, The Poetics of Commemoration: Skaldic Verse and Social Memory, c. 890–​1017 was published in 2015.

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7 CHRISTINE DE PIZAN, TRANSLATOR AND TRANSLATION CRITIC1 JEANETTE PATTERSON

French author, royal adviser, and public intellectual Christine de Pizan (1364–​ca. 1430) had extraordinary influence in her lifetime. Her prolific body of work addressed major issues and events of her day, from the Hundred Years War and the Great Schism to the assassination of Louis d’Orléans and the ascendance of Jeanne d’Arc. She openly engaged scholars in debate over the popular but controversial Roman de la Rose, shedding light on the social impact of misogynistic discourse. She memorialized the French king Charles V, and she made herself a mouthpiece for France in poems, treatises, and literary prayers on behalf of the distressed nation, giving voice to the anxieties produced under the protracted crises and conflicts of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. Remarkably, despite the misogyny of the learned culture of her time, Christine de Pizan was among the most influential voices in the French court. She wrote for numerous patrons of high standing in and around the French royal family, on both sides of the Burgundian-​Armagnac conflict, notably including the Queen of France, Isabeau de Bavière. Literary peers such as Eustache Deschamps wrote favorably of her, and the famed Chancellor of the University of Paris Jean Gerson held her in high esteem. While not known primarily for her translations, Christine de Pizan did engage with translation directly and indirectly throughout her work, both by translating short texts and excerpts from Latin into French and by recognizing the powerful role of translation in the transmission of knowledge. Christine’s portrait of Charles V as a champion of a renewed 1  Special thanks to Jeanette Beer for her role in supporting this project from its first iteration as a conference paper in her 2102 ICMS Kalamazoo panel on Translation Theory and Practice to its present form.

translatio studii in her Livre des fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles V (1404) is in large part a reflection of how she constructs her own authority as the king’s commissioned author and as an advisor to his successor, Charles VI.2 Not only did Christine avail herself of new translations by Charles V’s court translators Raoul de Presles and Nicole Oresme, but her own unique situation as a foreign-​born woman in the French court allowed her to position herself as a cultural and linguistic ambassador between Italian and French; between Latin and the vernaculars; and between a male-​dominated clerical tradition and a feminized laity. Christine’s background allowed her to contextualize problems of translation within her larger critique of a learned tradition that excluded and degraded women by default. This context distinguishes her perspective from that of her contemporaries whose distrust of translation arose from the presumed inadequacy of the vernaculars, which were tarnished by their association with the mundane. Characteristic of this viewpoint is Philippe de Mézières’s comment in his 1389 Songe du vieil pelerin that reading the Bible translated into French is like drinking from a tributary rather than the source of a river: Car la saincte escripture, escripte et dictee par les sains en latin et depuis translatee en francois, ne rent pas telle substance aux lisans es ruisseaux comme elle fait en sa propre fontayne. Quel merveille! car il y a

2  Lori Walters has previously shown how translation—​ both as authorial process and as conceptual framework for movement between cultures—​works as a founding metaphor for Christine de Pizan’s identity as one “translated” from Italy to France who would in turn take on a “translating” role in the service of her adopted country. See Walters, “Christine de Pizan as Translator,” pp. 25–​41.

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en la sainte escripture certains et plusieurs motz en latin qui du lisant percent le cuer en grant devocion, lesquelx translatez en francois se treuvent en vulgal sans saveur et sans delectacion.3

(For the holy scriptures, written and dictated by the saints in Latin and later translated into French, do not provide as much substance to readers who drink from its tributaries as it does at its source. How wondrous! For there are, in holy scriptures, certain words in Latin that pierce the reader’s heart in great devotion, but which, translated into French, end up in vulgar language, flavourless and without pleasure.)

Philippe does not recognize Jerome’s work as translation; to his mind, the Latin Bible is a source, whereas translation implies descent from Latin to the vernacular. In contrast, Christine’s views on translation show neither disdain for the vernacular and its readers nor Philippe’s almost mystical appreciation for Latin. While she shares Philippe’s and others’ concern for what may be lost in translation, the losses she condemns are those resulting from translators’ ideologically driven agendas. She emphasizes translators’ responsibility to vernacular readers who, lacking access to Latin source texts, depend on good-​faith translations. Her attention to the social and cultural liabilities of unethical translation aligns her with many modern critics in positioning translation as a powerful agent both of oppression and of social reform. Christine de Pizan’s most direct comments about translation portray it as a force for good. Her Livre des fais et bonnes meurs du sage roy Charles Quint praises the late king’s efforts to bring Latin learning to the French court, language, and people. His patronage of translation, particularly translations of Aristotle, Augustine, and the Bible, is among the achievements that in Christine’s estimation earned Charles V his reputation as Charles the Wise and made him a philosopher in his own right. She regards his translation initiative as a worthy effort to further his own education, suggesting that the king’s limited facility with Latin may have posed an impediment to his understanding of the “termes soubtilz” (sophisticated language) of philosophy and theology: Et ce le demonstra nostre bon Roy, car il voult en ycelle par sages maistres estre instruit et apris; et pour ce

3  Philippe de Mézières, Le Songe du vieil pelerin, 3.229 (vol. 2, p. 223). Translation mine, though Coopland offers an alternative, slightly abridged translation on p. 20.

que peut estre n’avoit le latin, pour la force des termes soubtilz, si en usage comme la langue françoise, fist de théologie translater pluseurs livres de saint Augustin et autres docteurs par sages théologiens[.]‌4

(And our good King demonstrated this, for he wanted to be taught these subjects by wise masters; and because maybe he didn’t quite have the fluency in Latin, because of its difficult technical vocabulary, as he did in the French language, he had some books by Saint Augustine and other doctors of the church translated by wise theologians.)

For Christine, serious study need not belong only to Latin. In this regard, Charles V is a model to be emulated, creating a precedent for studying science, philosophy, and even theology in the French language by using trusted, expert translations. Later, she devotes a whole chapter (bk. 3, chap. 12) to Charles V’s commissioned translations, explaining that they not only informed Charles’s own decision-​making, but also bequeathed their learning to the French people for generations to come, making it available to successive kings and to a wide French-​reading audience. She lists important works that the king had had translated, starting with Raoul de Presles’s Bible, with glosses and allegorical commentary. She then highlights translations of several of Augustine’s and Aristotle’s works, treatises on politics and war by Vegetius, Valerius Maximus, Titus Livy, and John of Salisbury. She compares Charles V’s vast library and his patronage of glossed translations to Ptolemy Philadelphus’s Library of Alexandria and to Ptolemy’s role in having the Hebrew Bible translated into Greek, producing the Septuagint. Through that translation Ptolemy made God’s law available to the Greek-​speaking world, paving the way for the School of Alexandria and its significant influence on the Church Fathers and medieval Christianity. Christine’s portrait of the Greek king and, implicitly, of Charles V, demonstrates that patronage of translation can change the world. In Christine’s discussion of the Septuagint she warns against putting translation in the wrong hands. She tells the story, credited to Augustine, of the Jewish priest Eleazar who gathered seventy-​two translators whom King Ptolemy put to work in separate cells: all miraculously produced identical translations down to the last syllable. Only by divine intervention could such a translation be achieved without human error or malice. In Christine’s version of the story, the translators had to be Jewish, because any other translator “tantost charroit en 4  Christine de Pizan, Livre des fais, 3.3 (vol. 6, p. 3).

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forsenerie” (would quickly fall into confusion).5 The view that only Jewish translators who had a stake in the translation could be trusted to translate it knowledgeably and in good faith was not new; however Christine’s emphasis on this detail suggests that she considered it significant to the Septuagint’s success as a translation. The importance of choosing the right translator for the task and taking responsibility for its quality, accuracy, and appropriateness to its reading public was a crucial element in her laudatory portrait of Ptolemy Philadelphus and, by force of analogy, of Charles V. Charles V, the wise king and patron, had theological texts translated by “sages théologiens” (wise theologians), for it was relevant that the translators had not only linguistic knowledge and skill as translators and writers but had also demonstrated expertise in theological matters.6 They possessed “sagesse,” a term she defines, following Aristotle, as a combination of knowledge earned from education and books, good judgment based on experience, and an ethical application of that knowledge. They were thus equipped to produce a reliable translation for lay vernacular readers who lacked extensive theological training and access to Latin source texts. By contrast, Christine was critical, explicitly and implicitly, of translations and vernacular citations of Latin texts that failed in their duty to transmit Latin learning reliably and ethically to their target audience. Insofar as not all translations could claim, like the Septuagint, the guidance of divine inspiration, it was important to recognize the translator’s active role as a less than objective mediator between the source and its translation. As a reader of both vernacular and Latin texts, and one who was hyper-​conscious that she was a female reader of learned works in a predominantly masculine learned culture, Christine de Pizan read translations critically for their biases and agendas. Her main criticism of translation employs the same argument that she makes in the Rose debate, the Cité des dames, and other works defending women, namely, that in transmitting Latin culture and even the Bible, the predominantly masculine clerical tradition, in its zeal to dismiss and discredit women, falsified source texts through misleading translations, misogynistic glosses, and the disingenuous use of quotations. In her own translations and compilations Christine de Pizan seeks to expose and redress misogynistic bias in translation and to move theology, philosophy, history, and politics from an exclusively masculine clerical sphere to a lay audience that included women. 5  Christine de Pizan, Livre des fais, 3.12 (vol. 6, p. 28).

6  Christine de Pizan, Livre des fais, 3.3 (vol. 6, p. 3). See quotation above.

Christine de Pizan

Translation, as understood by Christine, was not limited to the one-​to-​one transfer of a single text from one language to another. It covered a wide range of authorial, editorial, and interpretive practices which aimed at repackaging a (usually Latin) text for a (usually vernacular) reading public with different competencies, tastes, frames of reference, and horizons of expectations. This meant, for example, the adaptation of Latin texts to conventions of vernacular narrative, versification, and genre. It could also mean the addition of glosses and framing commentary to help vernacular readers contextualize and understand what they read in accordance with their own cultural and religious habitus. Compilation played a role also by imposing an overarching narrative or editorial order on a network of related translated texts and by combining multiple Latin and vernacular sources into a unified narrative. Thus a wide range of strategies was subsumed under the rubric of translation, sometimes resulting even in the production of a new genre for a new purpose. As for many of her contemporaries, then, translation, commentary and compilation necessarily coincide in Christine’s work as facets of a unified project to repackage Latin source texts to satisfy the norms and needs of a vernacular courtly culture. In the allegorical Advision Christine, compilation itself functions, in Julia Holderness’s terms, “as a form of commentary.”7 When Christine translates, she does not merely recode texts from Latin to French; she sets multiple texts into dialogue with one another, recontextualizing them and redeploying them within the framing structure of her own narrative for a new target audience. This approach to translation is not unique to Christine but is a hallmark of medieval translation and commentary generally. Christine de Pizan’s body of translated work encompasses both general transmission of Latin learning and specific interlingual translation of discrete texts. Her critique of unethical translation applies to both. Her dual understanding of translation is modelled in the Heures de contemplacion sur la Passion de Nostre Seigneur Jhesucrist, the opening “epistre” of which is dedicated to “dames et demoiselles”—​perhaps the other widows and displaced Parisian noblewomen who, like her, had taken refuge at Poissy after 1418.8 She explains that she 7  Holderness, “Compilation, Commentary, and Conversation,” p. 47.

8  Lilian Dulac and René Stuip put forth this hypothesis (that the displaced women at Poissy with Christine were her likely primary dedicatees) in the introduction to their edition of Christine de Pizan, Heures de contemplacion (see especially pp. xi–​xii).

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has chosen to write about the Passion, “translatee de latin en français et mis en forme de service des Heures, après le texte de la Sacree Ystoire et lez dis de pluseurs sains docteurs” (translated from Latin to French and put in the form of the Liturgy of the Hours, following the text of the Sacred History and the words of several holy doctors).9 As this description of her work suggests, it is not a direct translation of any one text, but a “translation” of the Passion itself across linguistic, generic, and social boundaries, transforming it from a Latin biblical narrative with erudite commentary to a devotional handbook in French for a target readership consisting primarily of laywomen. Christine’s sources for the work are numerous and varied, but carefully chosen for her purpose. What she calls the “Sacree Ystoire” seems to evoke the Gospels themselves but, apart from a few scattered Bible quotations and summary references to well-​known episodes surrounding the Passion, Christine is not translating from the Bible but from several intermediary texts. Her main direct sources are the anonymous De meditatione passionis, attributed in the Middle Ages to Bede or St. Bernard, Meditationes vitae Christi by Johannis de Caulibus, and Jean Gerson’s Petit traictié de la mort et passion de Nostre Seigneur Jhesucrist, which could itself be considered a translation of the aforementioned De meditatione passionis.10 Both De meditatione passionis and Gerson’s translation of it are addressed to a hypothetical female reader—​more specifically, a nun, because they refer to Christ as her husband—​whose internal gaze is directed by the narration through an interactive visualization of the Passion. The reader is encouraged to immerse herself in the action, but is told what to see, what to say, and how to react emotionally to the events she witnesses. Christine’s “translation” of these works involves several processes of adaptation. First, there is interlingual translation, and here, as in many of her works, it is not always possible to determine when Christine is translating from Latin and when she is paraphrasing a French translation. This ambiguity has led past scholars to hypothesize that she could not read Latin. However, as Suzanne Solente, Constant J. Mews and other scholars have demonstrated, this hypothesis does not stand up to scrutiny.11 There are no known prior French translations 9  Christine de Pizan, Heures de contemplacion, p. 185.

10  Editors Dulac and Stuip identify and discuss these sources in their introduction. Christine de Pizan, Heures de contemplacion, pp. xx–​xlvi.

11  For an account of the debate over whether Christine de Pizan read Latin and a convincing case that she did, see Mews, “Latin Learning,” p. 61n1. More recently, Dulac’s and Stuip’s discussion of Latin sources

of some of her Latin sources, and even where translations existed and were known to her, she did not always use them, for example, in her quotations from the Bible. Her version of the Penitential Psalms in her Sept psaumes allegorisés, her Bible verses in the Livre de la paix, and her translation of Proverbs 31:10–​31 in the Cité des dames differ significantly from major prose Bible translations available to her, e.g., the Bible historiale, the Bible du XIIIe siècle or the Old French Bible, and the bible by Raoul de Presles mentioned in her list of translations commissioned by Charles V.12 Christine’s infrequent but telling translation errors and unusual variations offer the clearest evidence that a translation is her own. For example, as Bernard Ribémont and Christine Reno note in their edition of Les Sept psaumes allegorisés, Christine de Pizan mistranslates “usquequo” (until) in Psalms 6:3 as “en chascun lieu” (everywhere).13 In the Cité des dames, she differs from previous French translators in rendering “senatoribus” (senators) in Proverbs 31:23 not as “les senateurs” but as “les anciens” (the elders).14 This difference could result from a misreading of Latin, confusing it with its etymologically related senibus, or from a source manuscript variation, or perhaps from residual traces in commentaries or other sources familiar to Christine. (The word has dual valence in both Hebrew and Latin to designate both age and standing as members of local government.)15 Occurring within otherwise accurate translations, Christine’s divergences and mistakes are those of someone who reads in their introduction to the Heures de contemplacion (pp. xx–​xlvi) confirms her Latin literacy.

12  Her version of the penitential Psalms could conceivably follow another French version—​ there were many more translations of Psalms than of the whole Bible—​or a memorized oral translation; however, as noted, her mistakes suggest a sometimes flawed reading of Latin. For a sense of the many medieval French translations of the Psalter, see Berger, La Bible française, pp. 1–​18, 64–​77, 200–​9, and 270–​80. 13  Christine de Pizan, Les Sept Psaumes allégorisés, p. 2.

14  Christine’s translation of Proverbs 31:10–​31, quoted repeatedly in this section, makes up bk. 1, chap. 44 of the Cité des dames, which appears on pp. 765–​67 of Curnow’s edition.

15  According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the zaken “is not only a person of advanced age, but also a man of distinct social grade (cf. šībum in Akkadian, senator in Latin, geron in Greek, and sheikh in Arabic). The elders were the consulting body of the city, the nation, or the king respectively.” Hence Jerome’s and Christine’s translations are both viable vis-​à-​vis the Hebrew source; later translations based on the Hebrew Bible rather than the Vulgate tend to prefer “elders” or “anciens.”

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Latin competently but without the ease that comes with a systematic, Latin-​based clerical education. In addition to its interlingual translation of Latin source material, Christine’s Heures de contemplacion compiles and adapts Latin and French sources to its own style and purpose, with new paratextual framing for a lay audience. Many of Christine’s alterations are stylistic, including embellishments and changes in tone, register, and perspective. As Thelma Fenster has remarked, with regard to Christine’s tendency to paraphrase rather than quote French translations of classical political thinkers: “Her project, in fact, might qualify as intralingual translation, as she ‘carried over’ scholarly material by moving it from its academic framework into her own diverse discourses.”16 Translation of this kind gives the Heures its internal unity and engages her readers by shifting the authorial voice from the perspective of master to that of witness, reconfiguring also the triangulation of narrator, reader, and the described scenes from Christ’s life and Crucifixion. This translation of voice is grammatical, from second to first person. In Gerson’s text and his Latin source, the narrating “I” directs a real or hypothetical female reader’s imagination, telling her how to prepare for contemplation, what to visualize, and what questions to ask herself. In his chapter for Compline, for example, Gerson instructs his reader to place herself at the scene of Christ’s arrest: Aprés, ma seur et amye, considere et regarde une grant multitude de gens et une tresfervelle compaignie secrecte qui vient pour prandre ton doulx espoux, et comment il va au devant d’eulx et ses desciples avec luy, lesquieulx il confortoit.17

(Next, sister and friend, think about and visualize a massive crowd of people, an agitated, secretive group coming to take your sweet husband, and how he goes up to face them, along with his disciples, whom he comforted.)

Christine’s narration retells the visualized scenes from the first-​person perspective of the “seur et amye” reader. Christine’s version of this same episode in which Christ is 16  Fenster, “Perdre son latin,” p. 98.

17  In Christine de Pizan, Heures de contemplacion, p. 187. Dulac’s and Stuip’s edition of Christine’s Heures also includes, as an appendix, an edition and modern French translation of Gerson’s Petit traictié de la mort et passion de Nostre Seigneur Jhesucrist. I have quoted from this edition for both texts.

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taken into custody (selected for reading at Matins rather than Compline), reads as follows: A heures de Matines, mon doulz Redempteur Jhesuscrist, te plaise me donner grace que adont me viengne tres devotement a memoire, si comme se present je feusse et des yeulz corporelz veisse, comme tu fuz adonc par tes ennemis tres durement traictiez et que, ou cuer plain de pitié et de lermes, contemplativement je te voye comme tu alas au devant des faulz ministres d’iniquité venant contre toy a grant tourbe, atout armes, faloz et lumieres, tres furieusement pour toy prendre. Et tu, aignel tres debonnaire, confortant tes disciples qui te suivoient et les introduisant aloiez vers eulx.18 (At the hour of Matins, my sweet Savior Jesus Christ, please grant that it may come devoutly now to my memory, as if I had been present and could see with my corporeal eyes, how you were so harshly treated by your enemies and that, with my heart full of pity and tears, I see you in my contemplation as you went up to face the false ministers of iniquity coming toward you furiously in a great mob, fully armed, with lanterns and torches, to take you prisoner. And you, gentle lamb, comforting your disciples who were following you and instructing them to go toward the crowd.)

Here and throughout Christine’s Heures, the narrative “I” observes, describes, narrates, and reacts to scenes of the Passion. This new narrative voice directs attention to details not foregrounded in Christine’s sources, often speculating on the Virgin Mary’s and Mary Magdalene’s thoughts and emotions. Each Hour concludes with a repeated verset and prayer in the communal first-​person plural “nous” which is absent from Gerson’s version, thus ending each reflection with a sense of communion with fellow readers or listeners, “cuers devostz et contemplatifz” (devout and contemplative hearts). Christine’s narrative “I” is modelled on the guided visualizations of Gerson’s “seur et amye” yet is independent from them. The authorial, particular, feminine “I” of Christine’s prefatory “epistle” blends into a placeholder for the voice of the reader, who is invited to vocalize the text. In a prefatory prayer, Christine signals the universality of this first-​person narrating voice through double-​ gendered descriptors e.g., “vray crestien ou crestienne que je suis” (true Christian man or woman that I am). In the Hours that follow, gender doubling gives way to inconsistently alternating feminine and 18  Christine de Pizan, Heures de contemplacion, p. 12.

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masculine adjective and participle endings for the speaking “I” (with some variation among manuscripts). This “translation” from “you” to “I” transforms the reader’s relationship to the text in a number of ways. Gerson’s and Pseudo-​Bede’s narration emanates from a place of masculine clerical authority, establishing a master–​ student relationship with the reader whose contemplative gaze is directed by imperatives and suggestive subjunctives. Christine, on the other hand, constructs a subjective experience to be shared between herself and her readers, from the position of a semi-​ fictive narrating “I.” Where Gerson and Pseudo-​Bede cast Christ and Mary as distant, third-​person objects of observation and contemplation, Christine has her reader address them as interlocutors in the second person “tu.” The clerkly presence that narrated the events of the Passion and directed the reader’s imaginative gaze and affective response has been shut out of the room, and the theatrical fourth wall separating the reader from the action has been removed. By reading the text aloud, the reader becomes “I” and animates an intimate conversation with Christ. Where her models assert the presence of an external clerical authority, Christine de Pizan’s translation effaces that presence, creating the illusion of an unmediated reflection (even if, paradoxically, it grants the reader less autonomy in directing her own contemplation and prayer). Where Gerson’s text and other translations of biblical and devotional works emphasize the contours of a clerical gatekeeper who stands between reader and text (which is how Isidore of Seville characterizes the interpres or translator in his Etymologiae), Christine de Pizan’s first-​person translating persona stands with the reader, anticipating her reactions from a shared subject position.19 This is not the only strategy she employs to cast a critical eye on her sources, their prior translations, or their vernacular reception. One of the most outstanding examples of Christine’s use of translation as critique is her translation of Proverbs 31:10–​31 in Book 1, Chapter 44 of her Livre de la Cité des dames (1405).20 This feminized rewriting of Augustine’s De civitate Dei takes 19  Etymologiae 10.123, quoted and translated by Copeland in Rhetoric, Hermeneutics and Translation, pp. 89–​90. The entire definition reads: “Interpres, quod inter partes medius sit duarum linguarum, dum transferet. Sed et qui Deum [quem] interpretatur et hominum quibus divina indicat mysteria, interpres vocatur [quia inter eam quam transferet].”

20  For a more detailed discussion of Christine de Pizan’s translation of Proverbs 31:10–​31 in its cultural context, including side-​by-​ side comparisons of Christine’s translations against previous French

inspiration and examples from Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris, compiling, translating, and commenting upon a large number of narratives from multiple Latin and vernacular sources.21 Her transformation of her source material from a learned, presumed male Latin reading culture to a target female readership of laywomen reading in the vernacular is effected, as in the Heures de contemplacion, through the female narrator and her constructed relationship to her readers. In De civitate Dei, Augustine’s first-​person narration putatively addresses Augustine’s friend Marcellinus, who is named as the dedicatee in the preface and frequently addressed as “fili” (son), imbuing their implied master–​ student relationship with a paternal mix of affection and authority. In the remainder of the work, Marcellinus plays no active role; he does not speak, and is mentioned by name only one other time in the lengthy text. In fact, Marcellinus’s one other mention has no other purpose than to hold his silence up as the hallmark of a model reader: Quam ob rem nec te ipsum, mi fili Marcelline, nec alios, quibus hic labor noster in Christi caritate utiliter ac liberaliter servit, tales meorum scriptorum velim iudices, qui responsionem semper desiderent, cum his quae leguntur audierint aliquid contradici, ne fiant similes earum muliercularum, quas commemorat apostulus semper discentes et numquam ad veritatis scientiam pervenientes.22

(And therefore I do not want even you, my son Marcellinus, nor anyone else who uses this work of mine freely to serve Christian charity, to act like those judges of my writing who always ask for a response when reading something they have heard contradicted; they become like those precious, silly women who the Apostle says are “always learning, and never arriving at knowledge of the truth.”)

Augustine here dismisses the inquiries and arguments of skeptical readers as the petty quibbles of “silly women”; the larger reading public is encouraged to stifle any impulse to resist what they read, to interrupt their reading with questions and objections. The ideal reader is a passive, translations, see Patterson, “Solomon au feminin.” The comparison texts fall in the appendix, pp. 379–​86.

21  Lori Walters has previously suggested thinking about the Cité des dames as translation in similar terms in her chapter cited above, “Christine de Pizan as Translator.” She does not, however, discuss the translation in 1.44. 22  Augustine of Hippo, De civitate dei, 2.1 (vol. 1, p. 54).

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assenting one, always at the receiving end of instruction that addresses them only in the abstract. While Christine de Pizan has no theological disagreement with Augustine, her adaptation upends his hierarchical, monologic relationship to the reader. Not dissuaded by the prospect of reading like a muliercula, and rejecting the notion that asking questions and debating points of contradiction would be antithetical to knowing truth, she frames her Cité des dames not as the monologue of an authoritative master but as the first-​person narration of a woman reader who raises questions, objections, and counter-​examples, in dialogue with the higher authorities represented by personifications of Reason, Justice, and Rectitude. Narrator Christine is a critical reader (the prologue opens with her reading misogynistic literature and struggling to reconcile it with her own experience) as well as a double for the reader of the text itself.23 This new narrative triangulation, placing Narrator Christine on the readers’ side of the text and voicing their anticipated questions, identifies a social problem and its solution. Clerical masculine authority, aided by the gatekeeping function of Latin and the laity’s reliance on translation, has gone unchallenged in transmitting and interpreting textual knowledge in ways that have excluded, degraded, and oppressed women. If women who ask too many questions threaten that authority, then the solution, Christine suggests, is that more women ask more of them. Her use of Proverbs 31 in the Cité des dames is unusual in that it is the only chapter that is a translation from Latin of a biblical passage rather than a summary or paraphrase incorporating intermediary sources. Her inclusion of this text and her choices in translating, glossing, and framing it, are her testimony against a tradition of disingenuously reading, translating, and quoting the Book of Proverbs. Several prior French translations of the Book of Proverbs were in circulation when Christine de Pizan made her own translation of its final chapter for her Cité des dames, but her translation does not show any evidence of borrowing from any one of them and, as mentioned previously, her unusual translation of senatoribus, along with other variations unique to her version, indicate a direct translation from Latin. However, she is likely to have been familiar with other translations in the king’s library, 23  On this initial scene of reading and its significance in constructing Christine’s image as reader and writer in the Cité des dames, see Desmond, “Christine de Pizan,” p. 129. For a wider discussion of Christine de Pizan and her ways of modelling reading in her works, combining clerical and lay models, see also McGrady, “Reading for Authority.”

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and her translation and glossing choices suggest an effort to correct their omissions and shortcomings. Of the three main prose Bible translations that contained a version of Proverbs and were available to her, none treats the text, as Christine does, as a portrait of praiseworthy women. Guiart des Moulins’s translation of Proverbs in the late thirteenth-​century Bible historiale omits Chapter 31, allowing the injunctions against the various categories of angry wives and unmarriageable women (prostitutes, adulteresses, harlots, and heretics, all translated in this version as “fole feme,” or “foolish woman”) to stand unchallenged by Chapter 31’s portrait of the capable, responsible woman Lamuel ought to marry. The Bible du XIIIe siècle or Old French Bible, whose version of Proverbs replaces Guiart’s version in some composite copies of the Bible historiale, typically includes a gloss after Proverbs 18:22, “Cil qui treve feme boine trueve bien” (He who finds a good wife has found a good thing) that reads “C’est a dire, il trueuve grant tresor, car a paines puet elle estre trouvee” (That is, he finds a great treasure, for she can hardly be found), injecting misogynistic intent into an otherwise neutral statement.24 A number of manuscripts containing either version of Proverbs include readers’ notae, maniculae, or other markings pointing to this gloss and to other verses about unpleasant wives (e.g., 19:13, 21:19), indicating disproportionate interest in biblical support, especially in Proverbs, for negative views about women and marriage. Similar denunciations of untrustworthy or incontinent men are not glossed in those translations and are rarely marked as important. Finally, the translation by Raoul de Presles, which she praises in her biography of Charles V for its text, gloss, and allegory, diminishes Chapter 31’s anti-​misogynistic potential by interpreting it only allegorically, with a prologue suggesting that the “forte femme” of these verses represents either the church or “la sainte escripture” (holy scriptures).25 Whereas negative portrayals of women and wives in the Bible are taken literally, praises of women most often are not. Read through the lens of misogynistic bias, the vernacular reception of Proverbs largely ignores its final 24  Quoted from Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS français 152, fol. 204v. This manuscript combines the two translations; its Proverbs is from the Old French Bible. For more about the Old French Bible and its relationship to the Bible historiale, see Sneddon in Chapter 2 of this volume, as well as Berger, La Bible française, pp.  109–​220. 25  Quoted from Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS français 158, fol. 19v.

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chapter in praise of women, amplifying instead a version of Solomon that unequivocally cautions men against women. This distortion begins in its medieval Latin reception, is foregrounded in translation and vernacular commentary, and becomes more prominent still in the selective, disingenuous, decontextualized and dishonest citation of “Solomon” in literature based on misogynistic humour. Emblematic of this tradition is Jean le Fèvre’s early-​fourteenth-​century extended translation of Matheolus’s Latin screed against marriage, Lamentations, one of several works Christine denounces for their extreme misogyny in the opening scene of the Cité des dames. Jean Le Fèvre, in a digression from his Latin source, (mis)quotes and glosses Proverbs 31:10 in support of the claim that there are no good women: Salemon, en narracion,/​En fait une admiracion/​Qui ceste matiere conforte:/​“Qui porroit trouver femme forte?”/​ Aussi que s’on disoit en glose:/​ “Ce seroit impossible chose.”/​Puis qu’il le dit, je qu’en diroye?

(Solomon, in his writing,/​ makes an observation about [women]/​that supports this claim:“Who could find a valiant woman?”/​As if one were to say in a gloss,/​“That would be impossible.”/​Since he said it, what could I say about it?)26

First, Le Fèvre mistranslates the future tense of the Latin Vulgate Bible’s “quis inveniet” (Who/​Whoever shall find) to the conditional “Qui porroit trouver” (Who could find), implicitly transforming a proposition about a real category of happily married men into a strictly counterfactual one. Then, lest the intent of that grammatical slip should be lost in translation, he adds a “gloss” emphasizing its impossibility and ends by invoking Solomon’s authority, however misappropriated, as the final word on the matter. Christine de Pizan does not explicitly attack any of these prior translations, interpretations, or uses of Proverbs against women. Rather, her own translation, glossed on the literal plane to highlight its relevance to contemporary female aristocratic readers, implicitly counters their misogyny. Her translation critiques the widespread tradition of reading, citing, and translating the Bible “selon nostre propos” (according to [one’s] purposes), an expression Lady Reason uses in introducing the translated extract of Proverbs, after 26  Jean Le Fèvre, Les lamentations de Matheolus, bk. 2, lines 2609–15 (p. 117). Curnow notes the connection between Le Fèvre’s lines and Christine’s translation of Proverbs 31 in her introduction to Le Livre de la Cité des dames, vol. 1, p. 232 and vol. 2, p. 1076n72–72a, p. 1076.

situating the text itself as a tribute to prudent wives, serving her own goal of refuting the unreliable testimony of men complaining about their wives: Et y prens garde, se bon te semble; te trouveras que de leur maignage gouverner et pourveoir a toutes choses, selonc leur puissance, sont communément toutes, ou la plus grant partie, très curieuses, songneuses et diligentes, et tant que aucunefoiz en anuye a aucuns de leurs negligens maris pour ce que il leur semble que trop plus les timonnent et sollicitent de faire ce que a eulx appartient a pourveoir et dient qu’elles veulent estre maistresses et plus saiges qu’eulx; et ainsi revertissent en mal ce que maintes leur dient en bonne entencion. Et [de] ces prudentes femmes parle l’Epistre de Salamon, duquel la substance selonc nostre propos veult dire ce qui s’ensuit.27

(And take note, if you will: you will find that, in terms of governing their households and taking appropriate precautions in all things, relative to their power, all, or most, [women] are very solicitous, careful and diligent. In fact, this happens so much that sometimes it bothers some of their negligent husbands because it seems to them that [their wives] too often goad and entreat them to do their part, and [the husbands] accuse them of wanting to be mistresses of the household and considering themselves wiser than they. And in this way, they put a negative spin on what many women tell them with good intentions. And these prudent women are discussed in Solomon’s Letter, whose contents, adapted to our purposes, are as follows.)

Thus drawing attention to the subjective rhetorical uses of translation and citation, Christine casts doubt on those that serve masculine authority at women’s expense. Key rephrasings and glosses in Christine’s version undercut the problematic ways in which her predecessors had interpreted and appropriated Proverbs. Where the other French translations render 31:10, “Mulierem fortem quis inveniet” as “Qui [est celui qui] pourra trouver femme forte” (Who will be able to find a strong woman?), Christine writes simply—​ and more accurately—​ “Qui trouvera femme forte” (Who/​ Whoever will find a strong woman), as if pre-​empting those 27  Curnow’s introduction to Le Livre de la Cité des dames, vol. 1, pp.  764–​65.

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who, like Matheolus and Jean de Meun’s Lover, would read the verse as an unlikely or impossible proposition.28 In the same verse, she adds her own gloss, not casting doubt on the existence of good wives, but qualifying the “femme forte” (in Latin, “mulierem fortem”) as not merely physically strong, but possessing good judgment (“c’est a dire prudente”). In other parts of her translation, Christine replaces or embellishes physical qualities with moral or intellectual ones. In a similar gesture to her gloss to 31:10 equating women’s strength with good judgment, in verse 31:17 she qualifies “strength” (“fortitudine”) to include the moral qualities of “constancy and earnestness” and “good work”: Vulgate: Accinxit fortitudine lumbos suos, et roboravit brachium suum. Douay-​ Rheims: She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. Cité des dames: Elle a avironné ses rains de force a la constance et sollicitude, et ses bras sont endurcis en continuelle bonne oeuvre. (She has wrapped her loins with strength, in constancy and earnestness, and her arms are hardened through constant good work.)

In verse 31:25, “decor” (translated as “biauté or “beauty” by Christine’s predecessors; the term also means “grace, comeliness”) becomes “honneur,” and the purple of her gown in verse 31:22 is glossed as “d’onneur et de renommee” (of honor and renown): Vulgate: (22) Stragulatam vestem fecit sibi; byssus et purpura indumentum ejus. […] (25) Fortitudo et decor indumentum ejus, et ridebit in die novissimo. Douay-​Rheims: (22) She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen, and purple is her covering. […] (25) Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day. Cité des dames: Elle fait pour soy robe de soye et de pourpre, d’onneur et de renommee. […E]t sa vesteure est force et honneur. Et pour ce joye lluy sera perpetuelle. (She makes for herself clothing of silk and purple, of honor and renown. […A]nd her clothing is strength and honor. And for this, her joy will be eternal.)

28  All quotations from Christine de Pizan’s translation of Proverbs 31:10–​31 appear in bk. 1, chap. 44 of the Cité des dames. I have quoted from Curnow’s edition, in which this chapter appears on pp. 765–​67.

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She also elevates the described woman from commodity to an individual respected in her own right. In the second half of verse 31:10, Christine departs from the economic register of “pretium” (“price,” translated as “pris” in the prior French translations) to describe her as “renommee par tout pays” (renowned in every land):29 Vulgate: procul et de ultimis finibus pretium eius. Douay-​Rheims: far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her. Cité des dames: Elle est renommee par tout pays. (She is renowned in every land.)

Several times she updates or recontextualizes woman’s work to correspond to the contemporary aristocratic, educated woman she envisions, namely one who oversees a household of servants and participates in both difficult (“forte”) labour and “femenins ouvraiges” (feminine work), as illustrated in 31:19: Vulgate: Manum suam misit ad fortia, et digiti eius adprehenderunt fusum. Douay-​Rheims: She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle. Cité des dames: Elle s’embesogne meismes es fortes choses et avec ce ne desprise pas les femenins ouvraiges, ains elle meismes y met ses dois. (She puts herself to work even to difficult [/​ strong] things, and at the same time, does not scorn feminine work, but puts her own fingers to the task.)

Overall, her translation and its interpretive glosses fill out a biblical portrait of a praiseworthy woman and wife, while at the same time tearing down, point by point, readings that decontextualize verses for the express purpose of denouncing women. Removing the passage from its biblical context—​advice offered to a man in seeking a wife—​she makes it speak to women about themselves. The reader, mirrored in Narrator-​Christine, is now able to counter misogynistic arguments purportedly founded on biblical authority with authoritative arguments of her own in defence of women. Translation is never quite neutral; it always takes sides, in one way or another. Medieval translators and critical readers of translations were no less aware of this than their 29  I have used the Douay-​Rheims translation for all translations of the Vulgate into English (www.drbo.org).

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counterparts today, even if illusory ideals of objectivity and invisibility held sway in mainstream thinking about translation for some years in between. So long as the translator’s agenda conformed to dominant religious, social, and textual norms, translations rarely came under fire for the effects those agendas might have had on their reliability as translations, much less for their role in promoting harmful ideas about women or other marginalized groups. When Bible translations came under church censure or censorship, it was not for their content, but for the presumed heretical intent of their authors or readers; translation errors or omissions, on the other hand, were quietly corrected over time in the manuscript tradition, if at all.30

Christine de Pizan was a critical reader who saw the potential to effect social change through conscientious, reader-​oriented translation. Her first-​person narrative posture simulates empathetic proximity to the reader, appealing not to the reader’s respect for authority but to her trust. Having gained that trust, she exposes the untrustworthiness of a one-​sided clerical authority that is unresponsive to dissenting feminine voices. Turning the tools of clerical misogyny against itself, her translation advances the project she promotes in Book 1 of her Cité des dames and throughout her work to expose the intellectual dishonesty of misogynistic discourse and break down barriers to women’s participation in learned culture.

Bibliography Primary Sources Augustine of Hippo, Saint. De civitate dei. Edited by Bernard Dombart. Munich: Bremer, 1908. Guiart des Moulins, Bible historiale, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS français 152. Christine de Pizan. Heures de contemplacion sur la Passion de Nostre Seigneur Jhesucrist. Edited by Liliane Dulac and René Stuip. Paris: Champion, 2017. —​—​. “The Livre de la Cité des dames of Christine de Pizan.” Edited by Maureen Cheney Curnow. Doctoral Dissertation, Vanderbilt University, 1975. —​—​. Livre des fais et bonnes meurs du sage Roy Charles V. In Collection complète des mémoires relatifs à l’histoire de France, edited by M. Petitot, vols. 5–​6. Paris: Foucault, 1825. —​—​. Les Sept Psaumes allégorisés. Edited by Bernard Ribémont and Christine Reno. Paris: Champion, 2017. Isidore of Seville. Etymologiarum sive originum libri XX. 2 vols. Edited by W. M. Lindsay. Oxford: Clarendon, 1911; repr. 1962. Jean Le Fèvre. Les lamentations de Matheolus et le Livre de Leesce de Jehan Le Fèvre de Resson, (poèmes français du XIVe siècle): édition critique, accompagnée de l’original latin des Lamentations, d’après l’unique manuscrit d’Utrecht, d’une introduction et de deux glossaires. Edited by A. G. Van Hamel. Bibliothèque de L’Ecole des hautes etudes, IVe Section, Sciences historiques et philologiques; Fasc. 95–​96. Paris: É. Bouillon, 1892. Philippe de Mézières. Le Songe du vieil pelerin. Edited by G. W. Coopland. 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969. Raoul de Presles (trans.), Bible, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS français 158. Secondary Sources Berger, Samuel. La Bible française du moyen âge. Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1884. Boyle, Leonard. “Innocent III and Vernacular Versions of Scripture.” In The Bible in the Medieval World: Essays in Memory of Beryl Smalley, edited by Katherine Walsh and Diana Wood. Studies in Church History: Subsidia 4, pp. 97–​ 107. Oxford: Blackwell, 1985. Copeland, Rita. Rhetoric, Hermeneutics and Translation in the Middle Ages: Academic Traditions and Vernacular Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Desmond, Marilynn. “Christine de Pizan.” In The Cambridge Companion to Medieval French Literature, edited by Simon Gaunt and Sarah Kay, pp. 123–​36. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 30  On early church reactions to vernacular Bible translation, see Boyle, “Innocent III and Vernacular Versions of Scripture.”

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“Elder.” In The Jewish Virtual Library. American-​Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/​elder. Fenster, Thelma. “ ‘Perdre son latin’: Christine de Pizan and Vernacular Humanism.” In Christine de Pizan and the Categories of Difference, edited by Marilynn Desmond, pp. 91–​107. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998. Holderness, Julia Simms. “Compilation, Commentary, and Conversation in Christine de Pizan.” Essays in Medieval Studies 20 (2003):  47–​55. McGrady, Deborah. “Reading for Authority: Portraits of Christine de Pizan and Her Readers.” In Medieval Authorship: Theory and Practice, edited by Steve Partridge and Erik Kwakkel, pp. 154–​77. Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2012. McLeod, Glenda, and Katharina Wilson. “A Clerk in Name Only—​A Clerk in All But Name: The Misogamous Tradition and ‘La Cité des dames.’ ” In The City of Scholars: New Approaches to Christine de Pizan, edited by Magarete Zimmermann and Dina De Rentiis, pp. 68–​69. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1994. Mews, Constant J. “Latin Learning in Christine de Pizan’s Livre de paix.” In Healing the Body Politic: The Political Thought of Christine de Pizan, edited by Karen Green and Constant J. Mews, pp. 61–​80. Turnout: Brepols, 2005. Patterson, Jeanette. “Solomon au feminin: (Re)translating Proverbs 31 in Christine de Pizan’s Cité des dames.” Mediaevalia 36/​ 37 (2015/​2016):  353–​92. Walters, Lori. “Christine de Pizan as Translator and Voice of the Body Politic.” In Christine de Pizan: A Casebook, edited by Barbara Altmann and Deborah McGrady, pp. 25–​41. New York: Routledge, 2003. Jeanette Patterson is an Assistant Professor of French, Medieval Studies, and Translation Studies at Binghamton University (SUNY). She specializes in medieval French Bible translation and is the author of articles on the Bible historiale’s Book(s) of Job, the politics of French Bible manuscript production and circulation during the Hundred Years War, and Christine de Pizan’s engagement with biblical translation and its vernacular reception in literature. Her book in progress examines the translator’s, scribes’, and artists’ imaginative mediation of biblical narrative in the Bible historiale.

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8 TRANSLATION, AUTHORITY, AND THE VALORIZATION OF THE VERNACULAR THOMAS HINTON The Middle Ages has been characterized as a period of cultural dualism.1 From at least the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries medieval authors and intellectuals were operating in a diglossic situation where Latin and the vernaculars were clearly demarcated. The distinction continued to be maintained long into the period when the European vernaculars were being used, often routinely, for functions traditionally occupied by Latin. For the fifteenth-​century author Alain Chartier, prolific in both Latin and French, there was a marked divergence in the transmission of his works in either language, and his authorial identity functioned differently in each case. Chartier’s Latin works were transmitted alongside classical and earlier medieval Latin texts, accruing legitimacy as a recent link in the chain leading back to antiquity. His French works meanwhile were collected with French-​language texts by his contemporaries or successors; here, it was Chartier’s own authority which legitimized subsequent French literary production.2 In a gloss to Jean Josse de Marville’s De modis significandi, Henri de Crissey conceptualizes the diglossic difference as follows: Latinorum populorum quidam laici dicuntur, et quidam clerici. Laici vero dicuntur habere ydiomata vocum impositarum ad placitum, que ydiomata docuntur pueri matribus et a parentibus, et ita idyomata multiplicia sunt apud Latinos, quia aliud est apud Gallos, aliud apud Germanos, aliud apud Lombardos seu Ytalicos. Clerici vero Latinis discuntur habere ydioma idem apud omnes eos, et istud docentur pueri in scolis a grammaticis?3

1  Zumthor, Towards a Medieval Poetics, p. 24.

2  Cayley, “ ‘Ainchois maintien des dames la querelle,’” pp. 79–​80. 3  Lusignan, Parler vulgairement, p. 41.

(Within the Latin peoples, some are called laymen and others clerics. The laymen are said to have languages whose words have been imposed by convention, and these languages are taught to the child by its mother and relatives, and thus there are multiple languages among the Latins, since there is one for the French, another for the Germans, another for the Lombards or Italians. Among the Latins the clerics have one language which is the same for all, and which is taught to the child in schools by the grammarians.)

Henri posits a diglossic difference between two types of language: the single “ydioma” of the clerics, taught in educational establishments, contrasts with the “ydiomata multiplicia” that laypeople learn at home. The unified nature of Latin serves to define a clerical caste in society, differentiating them from the wider population, yet it also, implicitly, unites the disparate groupings of that wider lay population into a single entity, the “Latins.” While directly engaging only a small section of European society, Latin is imagined as the cultural glue that binds that society together; latinitas comprises a set of practices carried out on behalf of the whole of society including those who are linguistically excluded from it. Within this model the school is the institutional hub where the transmission of Latin grammar from master to pupil guarantees the language’s ongoing stability, a stability which reinforces Latin’s appeal as a language of authority. In Henri’s fourteenth-​century formulation, the private, unstructured learning environment of the home produces only fragmented and variable knowledge. This basic idea, of a distinction between a stable language of cultural authority, taught according to rules, and a more limited spoken tongue learned haphazardly at home, finds expression in the numerous medieval accounts of language, the most famous of which is no doubt Dante’s De vulgari eloquentia. Dante defines

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grammatica (which, theoretically, could be the learned form of any language, but in medieval practice is embodied by Latin) as “nichil aliud quam quedam inalterabilis locutionis ydemptitas diversibus temporibus atque locis” (nothing less than a certain immutable identity of language in different times and places), and describes its genesis as rooted in the fear that the natural process of language change through temporal and spatial dislocation would render unintelligible “antiquorum actingeremus autoritates et gesta, sive illorum quos a nobis locorum diversitas facit esse diversos” (the deeds and authoritative writings of the ancients, or of those whose difference of location makes them different from us).4 A similar idea appears in Giles of Rome’s De regimine principum.5 Noble boys should learn Latin, Giles suggests, because this will prepare them for learning in general; the language is made synonymous with mastery of knowledge. Formal education in Latin grammar marked entry into the literate sphere of the clerici, with Donatus functioning as a “rite of passage into a realm of wisdom.”6 Latin thus acts simultaneously as an agent of community cohesion (and of that community’s contact with its cultural past) and as a dividing practice, equipping a minority of the community with skills and opportunities not afforded to the illiterate. These descriptions of diglossia appear at a time of significant diversification in the transmission of knowledge, an evolution about which (with the notable exception of Dante’s De vulgari eloquentia) they have nothing to say. Henri de Crissey’s silence about the changing relationship between Latin authority and vernacular textuality in his own time suggests an unwillingness on the part of medieval Latin writers to address the evolving challenge to Latin that was presented by the European vernaculars in the later Middle Ages. Latin texts about language (those we might expect to broach the topic) have next to nothing to say about language choice, “behaving as though semiotic analysis of Latin were identical with analysis of language as such.”7 Vernacular texts, on the other hand, reflect insistently on the choice not to use Latin, especially from the twelfth century onwards. The vast majority of vernacular authors had undergone an institutional education and inevitably it shaped their cultural outlook. The acquisition of Latinity involved transaction 4  Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia, 1.IX.xi.

5  Giles of Rome, De regimine principum libri III, 2.2.7. 6  Gehl, A Moral Art, p. 84.

7  Watson, “The Idea of Latinity,” p. 125.

between Latin and the vernacular, and English schoolbooks of the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries used translation as pedagogy, “making Latins” being exercises in which the students translated an English prompt into the target language. Presumably similar techniques were operative in earlier periods for which we have less evidence, as the vernacular glosses to many twelfth-​and thirteenth-​century Latin pedagogical texts testify. Vernacular textual authority owed much therefore to the practices and values of Latin writing, even as it contested Latin’s claim to supremacy as a language of cultural record.8 This chapter will explore a number of textual examples from across medieval Europe which collectively illustrate how vernacular texts create continuities and discontinuities with the diglossic model as they engage with, uphold, or subvert the model in their promotion of particular vernaculars as languages of cultural record. If, for authors like Henri de Crissey and Dante, Latin binds the Latini together into a textual community where the clerici read and write on behalf of the laici, and simultaneously binds that community to its antecedents by virtue of its stability through time, to what extent does the choice of the vernacular offer alternative models of community, either textual or social? Occitan was a leader in this regard, and Dante’s robust defence of vernacular Italian, as a language of poetic prestige in De vulgari eloquentia, would draw on Occitan poetry as its model and inspiration, even as it attempted to rival it as the most natural candidate for vernacular authority (on the basis that Italian is the closest to Latin). The lyric songs of the troubadours gained international recognition as early as the twelfth century, and their material became subject to a host of innovations which predated similar developments in other languages by some two centuries. Poetic biographies attached themselves to troubadour song early in the thirteenth ­century, reflecting the Latin accessus on the Latin accessus ad auctores tradition. Around the same time, the first treatises on vernacular composition began to appear, using troubadour texts as their exemplary material. Troubadour lyric was thus afforded treatment previously reserved for the literary canon of Latin auctores, a process that extended beyond the south of France to Italy and Catalunya where Occitan flourished as a literary lingua franca. 8  See Orme, Medieval Schools, pp. 111–​17; Cannon, “The Middle English Writer’s Schoolroom,” pp. 30–​37; and (on vernacular glossing in Latin educational works) Hunt, Teaching and Learning Latin in Thirteenth-​Century England.

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The earliest known Occitan grammatical text, Raimon Vidal’s Razos de trobar, is dated between 1190 and 1213. Vidal announces in his introduction that he is composing “per far conoisser et saber qals dels trobadors an mielz trobat et mielz ensenhat, ad aqelz qe–​l volran aprenre, con devon segre la dreicha maniera de trobar”9 (so that people may learn which of the troubadours has composed best and enlightened his audience the most, for whoever wishes to learn how to follow the correct way of composing). Linguistic correctness is presented as the means to success in poetic composition. Despite this grand opening claim, the bulk of the Razos is not a systematic grammar, nor a detailed study of what makes the best troubadour songs so great, but rather a set of recommendations of linguistic errors to be avoided. Despite the somewhat limited aim, Vidal’s text is nevertheless radical in setting up the idea of a grammatical standard in a vernacular language, and insisting on its relevance to proper appreciation of that language’s literature. Later in the century a certain Jofre of Foixà set about supplementing Vidal’s work to promote the notion of Occitan lyric as a vernacular cultural institution, independent of Latin. In the prologue to his Regles de trobar, Jofre refers to Vidal as an expert in the “art de trobar” (art of composition), thereby presenting troubadour lyric as a craft to be taught alongside the artes poetriae and artes dictaminis. Vidal’s text presupposed a knowledge of the art of grammar, that is, Latin, but since trobar was a pastime that interested all from emperors to knights to bourgeois and “encara a altres homens laichs, li plusor dels quals no sabon grammatica” (also other laymen, most of whom do not know Latin), Jofre undertook to produce a version in what he called “romanç.”10 He claims to write for those who do not understand Latin but who “estiers han sobtil e clar engyn” (have subtle and reliable minds). In this formulation, being illiteratus is no disqualification from participation in a culture of written learning. Latin literacy is irrelevant to one’s ability to appreciate troubadour lyric and thereby join a textual community where the Occitan vernacular takes on the unifying (and supranational) role usually ascribed to Latin, as the shared language of “lo saber de trobar” (poetic knowledge). At the same time, the construction of Occitan as a language of cultural value also draws on the other social function ascribed to Latin by medieval intellectuals: its role in distinguishing the literate from

the illiterate. This is mirrored in Jofre’s address to those with “sobtil e clar engyn,” and even more clearly in Raimon Vidal’s warning that his treatise was written for the benefit of the minority of troubadour audiences whose discernment would allow them to appreciate the difference between good and bad poetry: “Ieu non dic ges qe toz los homes del mon puesca far prims ni entendenz ni qe fassa tornar de lor enueitz per la mia paraola … Mas tan dirai segon mon sen en aqest libre, qe totz hom qe l’entendra ni aia bon cor de trobar poira far sos chantars ses tota vergoigna.”11 (I am not saying that I can make everyone in the world wise and receptive, nor that I can make them turn away from their errors by my words … But I will say as much as my understanding allows in this book, so that any man who understands it and has a good heart for trobar can compose his songs without any shame.) Jofre’s Regles was one of a small clutch of adaptations and imitations spawned by Vidal’s Razos de trobar through the thirteenth century and associated with either Catalunya or Italy. In Italy also we find a different kind of Occitan grammar, the Donatz proensals, written around the mid-​ 1240s and 12 attributed to one Uc Faidit. The title indicates a desire to produce a basic account of the nuts and bolts of Occitan grammar along the lines of Donatus’s Ars minor, which was used as an elementary tool of Latin learning in the medieval classroom. In addition, Faidit’s text provides verblists and a dictionary of rhymes, features which have no parallel in Donatus and which draw the text into the orbit of the compositional aid while harnessing the discussion of Occitan to an interest in troubadour lyric. The prestige of lyric is key here: like Latin, Occitan in Italy was not a language learned by children at home; but neither was there a formal program of Occitan learning in the schoolroom. The precocious authority of the Occitan language is attributable to its distinctive mode of acquisition: engagement with troubadour lyric in performance and on the page. A community of connoisseurs had been created with both time and wealth to indulge in the consumption of poetry. Thus, the success of troubadour lyric beyond the borders of its native speaker community was responsible for the early emergence of Occitan as a prestige language, emancipating it from the vernacular’s allotted role as the domestic tongue, taught by mothers and nurses; in Italy in particular, its function was entirely cultural. Occitan had become a fitting medium for the literary traditions that

9  Raimon Vidal, Razos de trobar, p. 2.

11  Raimon Vidal, Razos de trobar, p. 4.

10  Jofre de Foixà, Regles de trobar, p. 56.

12  See Uc Faidit, Donatz proensals.

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were emerging in elite milieux. Appreciation of the value of vernacular literacy was developing in the upper reaches of a lay society increasingly keen to assert ownership of its own distinctive culture of record. A different impetus encouraging vernacular translation was provided by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 with its emphasis on the spiritual health of clerics and laypeople.13 Evidence of vernacular sermons survives from well before Lateran IV, but the pastoral and pedagogical imperatives of the thirteenth century—​a century that witnessed the advent of the mendicant orders—​encouraged the spread of strategies to facilitate communication between the Church and its flock, and a concomitant increase in the level of commentary on this process. Pierre d’Abernon’s Lumiere as lais (completed 1267), a vernacularized theological encyclopedia derived from the Latin Elucidarium, is designed so that “pount […] clers e lais estre enluminez” (clerics and laypeople alike may be illuminated), French being a fitting vehicle as it is “entendable” (comprehensible) to all.14 Written around the same time, Rauf de Lenham’s Kalender (1256) expresses a similar desire to transmit to the wider community the calendric wisdom of ancient Rome, which had been elaborated by “clers de graunt valur” (clerics of great worth).15 The Roman clerks had chosen Latin “pur lur festes auctorizer” (to give authority to their festivals), even though (or perhaps because?) this is a language “dunt nul lai ne set la fin” (which no layperson can understand fully). Rauf’s historicization of knowledge transfer echoes Giles of Rome’s treatment of written Latin as a language artificially created by scholars, whose acquisition marks out the literate from the wider community; but this is now framed as a drawback, and French as a fitting vehicle for bringing knowledge to the widest possible audience: “Mes jeo voil desoremés /​Ke l’em sache tout adés, /​Le viel e li enfauncenet, /​Ky bien entendent cest livret.”16 (But from now on, I want laypeople, who can understand this book, both the young and the old, to know it all.) The treatises of Vidal and Jofre had insisted on Occitan’s ability to cut across distinctions of class and bind the community

together; Rauf similarly invokes the intelligibility of French across differences of age. Gautier de Coinci’s Miracles de Nostre Dame (written between about 1214 and 1233) is a compilation of fifty-​eight miracle narratives and eighteen songs in praise of the Virgin Mary, divided into two books which total over 35,000 lines. A monk writing in French, Gautier must have been acutely conscious of his work’s position at the borderline between two cultures. Like Pierre d’Abernon and Rauf de Lenham, he sought legitimation for his ambitious textual enterprise in the ignorance of non-​Latinate audiences; without his act of translation, the wider lay community would be debarred from sharing in the edifying fruits of Marian devotion: “En latin est en mout de leuz./​Et en latin est bialz et genz,/​Mais pour ce que toutes les genz/​N’entendent pas tres bien la lettre,/​Ici le veil en romans mettre.”17 (It [the miracle story] is found in Latin in many places, and in Latin it is fine and elegant, but since not everyone understands Latin well, I want to put it into romance here.) Gautier, Rauf, and Pierre all evoke the same two identities, clerical and lay, which Henri de Crissey would later define in terms of their relationship to Latin, but raise a problem not acknowledged by Henri: if the linguistic culture that circumscribes the community is unavailable to the great majority, how can the values inhering in that linguistic culture be inculcated in those not party to it? Vernacular writing, for all its supposed inferiority, is presented as the logical solution to the conundrum, producing a text in which all can share. In the Miracles, Gautier acknowledges the distinction between clerc and lai in order to overcome it, entreating his mixed audience to come together around the shared value of devotion to the Virgin Mary: Entendez tuit ensamble, et li clerc et li lai,/​Le salu Nostre Dame. Nus ne set plus dous lai./​Plus dous lai ne puet estre qu’est Ave Maria./​Cest lai chanta li angeles quant Dieus se maria./​Eve a mort nous livra/​ Et Eve aporta ve,/​Mais tous nous delivra/​Et mist a port ave.18

13  For detailed discussion of Lateran IV’s impact on vernacular translation, see Waters, Translating “Clergie”.

(Now all hear together, clerical and lay, the hailing of Our Lady; nobody knows a sweeter song. There can be no sweeter song than Ave Maria. The angel sang this song when God married. Eve condemned us to

15  Wogan-​Browne, Fenster, and Russell, Vernacular Literary Theory from the French of Medieval England, p. 366.

17  Gautier de Coinci, Les Miracles de Nostre Dame, vol. 4, p. 378 (2 Mir 30, lines 10–​14).

14  Wogan-​Browne, Fenster, and Russell, Vernacular Literary Theory from the French of Medieval England, p. 170. 16  Wogan-​Browne, Fenster, and Russell, Vernacular Literary Theory from the French of Medieval England, p. 366.

18  Gautier de Coinci, Les Miracles de Nostre Dame par Gautier de Coinci vol. 4, p. 575 (2 Mir 36, lines 1–8).

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death and Eve brought on the curse; but she [Mary] delivered us all and brought us back to port, ave.)

The vocabulary of this song stages the identification and harmonization of two cultures, the liturgical Latin of clerical textuality and the vernacular French of lay expression. Ave Maria (translated in the previous line as “le salu Nostre Dame”) is answered by its French homonym “maria”; and the lexis of harm “ve” (curse) brought on mankind by Eve rhymes with the positively charged greeting “ave” for Mary.19 This last rhyme, in the refrain, is especially rich, implicating almost the entire lines in sustained homophony which drives home the traditional complementarity between Eve’s sin and Mary’s redemption: “Et Eve aporta vé /​[...]/ Et mist a port ave.” Gautier’s book bridges the gap between clerical and lay culture, insisting that devotion to Mary should form an identifiable part of both. The devotional aim is crystallized in the first four lines of the above quotation which punningly rhyme lai, “laypeople,” with its homonym lai, “song.” The shared value of Marian devotion is thus conveyed via the shared cultural vehicle of rhymed French song: no sweeter song can be found than Ave Maria. Authors like Gautier, Pierre, and Rauf promote the vernacular as an accessible alternative to Latin (albeit inferior in elegance), and derive their own authority from the institutional language; if their texts are to mediate knowledge to the illiterati, this is only possible because their own Latinity grants them access to the sphere of learning. Of the three authors considered here, Gautier goes one step further than the others in thinking through the idea of vernacular literacy, and thereby creating his own, distinct domain of textual authority. As suggested by the pun on lai discussed above, Gautier grounds his conception of vernacular textuality in its association with lyric song, drawing indirectly on the precocious prestige of troubadour verse as a cultural institution; the complex and extensive rhyme effects embedded in his songs work as a form of authorization for their content, a distinctively vernacular equivalent to Latin stylistics. Elsewhere, Gautier is explicit in criticizing the moral deficiencies of a lay textuality oriented toward the erotic and secular, contrasting such concerns with his own use of the vernacular (and of song) to celebrate the Virgin: “Des troveeurs, quant je m’essai,/​Ne mepris mie les essaies,/​Mais 19  In other stanzas “in mulieribus” is rhymed with “si bus” (“so foolish,” lines 25–​26), and “fructus ventris tui” with “tuit fussent or bruï” (“let them all be burned,” lines 33–​34).

Valorization of the Vernacular

por ce se vest noires saies/​Et il vestent les robes vaires,/​Ne leur desplaise mes affaires,/​Car troveres ne sui je mie/​Fors de ma dame et de m’amie/​Ne menestrex ne sui je pas.”20 (When I put my skills to the test, I do not scorn the devices of the trouvères, but I am dressed in rough black serge, whilst they sport fur-​trimmed garments, may my role not be displeasing to them, for I am no trouvère save to my Lady and friend; no common minstrel am I.) Throughout the Miracles, Gautier repeatedly subverts the erotic charge of song toward a celebration of divine love and love of the divine, redirecting the vernacular’s supposed authority in the field of secular love toward the sacred. But in so doing he also subverts Latin’s authority in the domain of the sacred, suggesting that the act of love involved in Marian devotion might find especially fitting expression in French.21 Like the lyric culture it attacked, Gautier de Coinci’s Miracles disturbed the diglossic model by suggesting that the vernacular could claim to speak from a unique and distinctive perspective. Other texts challenged Latinity’s centrality to institutional culture by attacking the myth of its temporal and spatial immutability pressed into service by the likes of de Crissey, Giles of Rome, or Dante. Translation was encouraged in later medieval France in the context of the royal court, most notably during the reign of Charles V.  Under royal impetus, scores of Latin scientific and philosophical works were translated into French. Nicole Oresme, that strikingly assertive fourteenth-​century translator and counsellor to the king, conceded Latin’s superior lexical range and stylistic concision while taking the unusual step of historicizing this fact rather than viewing it as a difference of essence. Oresme reminds his reader that Latin was itself once a mother tongue, viewed as inferior to Greek for the same reasons it now dominates the vernacular in his day. He presents his own translational activity as the groundwork for future developments in French’s ability to handle knowledge transfer: “Par mon labour pourra ester mieulx entendue ceste noble science et ou temps avenir ester bailliee par autres en François plus clerement et plus complectement.” (Through my labours this noble science will come to be better understood, and in the future others will render it into French 20  Gautier de Coinci, Les Miracles de Nostre Dame, vol. 2, p. 93 (1 Mir 11, lines 2310–​17).

21  On Gautier’s construction of vernacular authority, and the role of Latinity in this, see Bolduc, The Medieval Poetics of Contraries, pp.  55–​88.

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more clearly and completely.)22 By asserting the historical contingency of Latin’s rise as a vehicle for cultural expression, Oresme abolishes the difference of type maintained by many Latin writers, and looks forward implicitly to a future in which French may have made up its inferiority in expressive potential.23 Late medieval Britain presents an especially interesting linguistic picture, which the diglossic model strained to accommodate. The Celtic languages, Flemish, and Danish maintained a presence in certain geographic areas, while French, Latin, and English were in widespread and evolving use as languages of culture and record. Of these different languages, French had an especially complex presence. It was a language of political power, the vernacular of the elites, a situation hastened by the more-​or-​less immediate and comprehensive replacement of the existing Anglo-​ Saxon elite with an Anglo-​Norman aristocracy following the Conquest.24 Simultaneously, in line with developments elsewhere in Europe, the thirteenth century saw French come to prominence as a vehicle for written expression, benefiting from a standing that transcended borders.25 As with the case of Occitan discussed above, both of these factors contributed to freeing French in England to aspire to a linguistic exclusivity along similar lines to Latin. Framing this in terms of the models we have been pursuing in the present chapter, we might talk about a double diglossia. In relation to Latin, French was the marked term, and authors of French texts in England 22  Lusignan, Parler vulgairement, pp. 163–​65; Lusignan, “Translatio Studii and the Emergence of French,” pp. 10–​11.

23  In De vulgari eloquentia Dante also draws attention to the vernacular’s historical continuity with classical Latin. His argument that “nobilior est vulgaris” (the vernacular is the nobler) relegates grammatica to a secondary role, with the living Latin of the ancient Romans and the modern European vernaculars implicitly bracketed together under the headings of “vulgaris.” Nor does Dante consider Latin exempt from language’s essential contingency through space and time: “per locorum temporumque distantias variari oportet” (it must vary according to distances of space and time). Hebrew, as the original pre-​Babel tongue, is the only one to buck the rule. See De vulgari eloquentia, bk. 1, pt. 1, para. 4 and bk. 1, pt. 9, paras. 6–​7 respectively.

24  See Gillingham, “Some Observations on Social Mobility in England between the Norman Conquest and the Early Thirteenth Century.” 25  See the two major recent collaborative projects on French as a literary lingua franca: “Medieval Francophone Literary Culture Outside France” (MLFCOF, www.medievalfrancophone.ac.uk) and “The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages” (TVOF, www.tvof.ac.uk).

were just as quick as their Continental counterparts to cast their literary activity as (inadequate) vernacular translations of Latin authority. In relation to English, French could pretend (along with Latin) to function as unmarked term, and it was fourteenth-​century authors choosing to write in English who most insistently considered the stakes involved in rejecting French.26 Those writing in French generally had as little to say about the option of choosing English as those writing in Latin had to say about French in the same period, and their silence on this score is similarly revealing of cultural assumptions shared by authors and their audiences. By the fourteenth century, French in England had become an established alternative to Latin in a number of domains of written culture. The nature of literacy was changing and fragmenting as its extent increased. The Oxford educator in business arts, Thomas Sampson, exemplifies the new educational models available, promoted by the expansion of employment opportunities at the end of the fourteenth century. The disruption this occasioned to Latin’s dominance is demonstrated by a statement in one of his lecture courses, that he will begin his explanation of letter writing in French as he cannot assume his students have an adequate grasp of Latin.27 Rather than a comment on declining Latinity, this surely speaks of a widening constituency interested in taking up educational opportunities, not all of whom could be guaranteed to have followed the traditional curriculum. To a greater extent than in the preceding centuries, Latin might be one language choice among others. Nicole Bozon’s Contes moralisés, composed probably after 1320, is a collection of short exempla largely comprising fables and anecdotes, which may have been intended for use in sermons. Bozon (probably a Franciscan friar from the East Midlands) was a prolific Anglo-​French writer. Three copies of the Contes moralisés survive; two are in what one assumes to be the original French (London, British Library, MS Additional 46919; London, Gray’s Inn MS 12), and the third (London, British Library, MS Harley 1288) is a translation into Latin. In both versions, the matrix language is sprinkled with nuggets of English, chiefly proverbs, which function as vernacular 26  For reflections by English writers on the choice to write in English and in French respectively, see Wogan-​Browne, Watson, Taylor, and Evans, The Idea of the Vernacular and Wogan-​Browne, Fenster, and Russell, Vernacular Literary Theory from the French of Medieval England. 27  London, British Library, Lansdowne MS 560, fol. 30v. For the full quotation, see Wogan-​Browne, Fenster, and Russell, Vernacular Literary Theory, p. 70.

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wisdom of a more homespun kind. The substitution of Latin for French in MS Harley 1288, while the English proverbial elements are maintained, implies an equivalence in the status and role of the two non-​anglophone languages in fourteenth-​ century English written culture. It is unclear to whom and in what language the information of the texts would have been conveyed, but English proverbs would constitute a linguistic resource shared by all members of the community, and thereby serve to authenticate the relevance and inclusiveness of the collection (or individual exemplum), balancing out the potential of the prestige language to exclude the linguistically “unworthy” from the text’s edifying message.28 From the later decades of the fourteenth century, the fortune of French in England varied according to two factors: the disruption of the chain of insular transmission of the language, and England’s involvement in the Hundred Years War. Both of these developments are in evidence in the increasing production of language learning texts, often tied into language acquisition courses which purported to teach the French of France or Paris – see for instance the early fifteenth-​century Donait François copied by the Buckfast Abbey monk Richard Dove in London, British Library, Sloane MS 513, fol. 135, which is rubricated: “Cy commence le Donait soloum douce franceis de Paris” (Here begins the Donatus according to the sweet French of Paris).29 One teaching text that survives from the early fifteenth century (Oxford, Magdalen College, MS 188) is a copy of the thirteenth-​century La Somme le Roi accompanied by interlinear translations into Latin and English; the translations appear to be exercises to aid in the acquisition of French, the target language. In such texts, French has taken on the role of target language traditionally allotted to Latin, as indicated by the use of the title “Donait” to label French grammatical teaching; Latin appears alongside English as an instrumental language used to facilitate students’ access to French. French in fifteenth-​century England appears to have been conceived as a foreign tongue with its home in Paris, the capital of the kingdom of France; yet it clearly remained a desirable language fulfilling various administrative, commercial and cultural functions, especially during the period when the English king could stake a realistic claim to the French throne.30 28  For the suggestive notion of languages of authenticity, see Baswell, “Multilingualism on the Page,” p. 40.

29  On French-​language teaching materials in late medieval England, see Nissile, “Grammaire floue” et enseignement du français en Angleterre au XVe siècle, pp. 15–​95. 30  See Butterfield, The Familiar Enemy.

Valorization of the Vernacular

For a large part of the Hundred Years War, while the prospect of a double kingdom united under English sovereignty was entertained, the promotion of French in England was part of the national military strategy. Even as it declined as a spoken tongue learned from childhood, French maintained and in some ways consolidated its position as a language of culture and authority. It was not until the mid-​fifteenth century that English soldiers finally abandoned French.

Conclusion

Latin clerical discourse’s claim to supremacy rested on a contradictory double impulse. It acted as a dividing practice purporting to exclude the illiterate from cultural expression, but simultaneously recuperated the non-​Latinate laici into a community held together by the Latinate communicative abilities of the clerical class. Yet vernacular literacy emerged and flourished alongside the flourishing and expansion of Latin literacy. The cases discussed in the present chapter demonstrate how this increasing incursion of the vernaculars into knowledge-​ bearing functions raised questions of intelligibility. The theoretical models of Henri de Crissey or Dante promote the ideal of Latin as a stable, universal language of maximal intellectual expressivity, while excluding the great majority of laici from that shared scientific inheritance. In contrast, the willingness of vernacular texts to think about language choice leads them more often to acknowledge the dynamics of power and pragmatism involved in the construction of textual communities. Once again, however, it is important to distinguish rhetoric and theory from practice. For instance, the insistence on the vernacular’s inclusive potential can mask the exclusionary force of French in England, which was far from “entendable” to the whole population. More generally, the focus on intelligibility made it difficult to acknowledge explicitly how texts functioned within an interlinguistic cultural realm, with translation perceivable for at least some audiences as a change of register. This kind of multilingual reading practice “would imply a more active intertextual awareness of the source text as a residue behind the translation.”31 Such audiences would also be in a position to grasp vernacular textuality (whether involving direct translation or a more diffuse engagement with models of authority derived from Latin tradition) as a negotiation between parasitism and contestation. 31  Townsend, “The Current Questions and Future Prospects of Medieval Latin Studies,” p. 16.

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The thirteenth century saw vernacular authors begin to present their own claims to authority in a more sustained manner, seeing in the vernacular’s ubiquity and reach a source of strength. In the early decades, authors such as Raimon Vidal and Gautier de Coinci legitimized Occitan and French through dialogue with Latin models, the vernacular’s authority being to a degree parasitic on the established pre-​eminence of Latin. By the close of the century, we find Jofre de Foixà conceptualizing Occitan as a fully-​fledged language that can be learned independently of Latin. The text community inscribed in Jofre’s Regles de trobar, unlike that of Raimon’s earlier text, no longer requires Latinity in order to be literate. Later in the period, once the legitimacy of vernacular writing had become established, the diglossic model was forced to accommodate the competing claims of multiple vernaculars. Dante’s De vulgari eloquentia responds to this situation by maintaining Latin as the standard against which (and in terms of which) these rival claims were to be evaluated, with Italian preferred to Occitan on that basis despite Occitan’s longer standing as a written vernacular. Authors writing in English maintain the binary structure, but work through two iterations of it, one with Latin in its traditional position of institutional, exclusionary language, and the other substituting French as the language against and in terms of which they were writing. As we move toward the end of the Middle Ages, we see Latin/​vernacular diglossia breaking down more frequently in the face of two trends: the ongoing spread of lay literacy and the development of the institutions of State with their concomitant promotion of the notion that will later become familiar to

us as a national (standard) language. Proclamations such as Edward III’s 1362 Statute of Pleading, or Francis I’s Ordonnance de Villers-​Cotteret in 1539, are well-​known markers along this road, harnessing the workings of the State to a single privileged language which functions increasingly as an element of national unity. Already in the fourteenth century, this direction of travel was announced in Charles V’s promotion of translation from Latin into French, creating a corpus of State-​approved learning. Once again it is Nicole Oresme who gives striking voice to innovation, opining that “la division et diversité des langues répugne a conversation civile et a vivre de policie.”32 (Division and diversity in languages is inimical to civic conversation and living as a single polity.) Where Dante and Henri de Crissey saw Latin as the basis of mutual intelligibility and knowledge transfer within the clerical class of Christendom, Oresme envisages the more limited geographic scope of the royal polity, within which the acquisition of literacy in the national language is sufficient for full participation in civic discourse. Perhaps because it never became the institutional language of a stable, well-​defined polity, Occitan’s early development of a grammatized vernacular was not sufficient to guarantee its significance in a Europe increasingly primed to exploit the political potential of language, as exemplified notably by changing attitudes toward French in England over the period of the Hundred Years War. The idea of the cultural community, defined linguistically by its shared appreciation of the vernacular’s role in transmitting certain kinds of content, was now overshadowed by that of the national community, defined rather by its identification with a given institutional tongue.

Bibliography Primary Sources Dante Alighieri. De vulgari eloquentia. Edited and translated by Steve Botterill. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Gautier de Coinci. Les Miracles de Nostre Dame par Gautier de Coinci. Edited by V. F. Koenig. 4 vols. Geneva: Textes Littéraires Français, 1955–​70. Giles of Rome. De regimine principum libri III. Rome, 1607; repr. Aalen: Scientia Verlag, 1967. Henri de Crissey. Gloss to De modis significandi by Jean Josse de Marville. Cited from Lusignan, Parler vulgairement, p. 41. Jofre de Foixà. Regles de trobar. See Marshall, The Razos de trobar of Raimon Vidal, pp. 55–​91. Marshall, John H., ed. The Donatz proensals of Uc Faidit. London: Oxford University Press, 1969. —​—​. The Razos de trobar of Raimon Vidal and Associated Texts. London: Oxford University Press, 1972. Oresme, Nicole. Le Livre de Ethique d’Aristote. Edited by A. D. Menut. New York: Stechert, 1940. Pierre d’Abernon de Fetcham. Lumiere as lais. In Wogan-​Browne, Fenster, and Russell, Vernacular Literary Theory, pp. 165–​72. Raimon Vidal de Bezalú. Razos de trobar. See Marshall, The Razos de trobar of Raimon Vidal, pp. 1–​25. 32  Lusignan, La Langue des rois, pp. 124–​25.

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Rauf de Lenham. Kalender. Cited from Wogan-​Browne, Fenster, and Russell, Vernacular Literary Theory, pp. 363–​66. Uc Faidit. The Donatz proensals of Uc Faidit. Edited by John H. Marshall. London: Oxford University Press, 1969. Secondary Sources

Baswell, Christopher. “Multilingualism on the Page.” In Oxford Twenty-​First Century Approaches to Literature: Middle English, edited by Paul Strohm, pp. 38–​50. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Bolduc, Michelle. The Medieval Poetics of Contraries. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2006. Bozon, Nicole. Les Contes moralisés de Nicole Bozon, frère mineur. Edited by Lucy Toulmin Smith and Paul Meyer. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1889. Butterfield, Ardis. The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language and Nation in the Hundred Years War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Cannon, Christopher. “The Middle English Writer’s Schoolroom.” New Medieval Literatures 11 (2009): 19–​38. Cayley, Emma. “ ‘Ainchois maintien des dames la querelle’: Poetry, Politics, and Mastery in the Manuscript Tradition of Alain Chartier.” In Chartier in Europe, edited by Emma Cayley and Ashby Kinch, pp. 75–​89. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2008. Gehl, Paul. A Moral Art: Grammar, Society, and Culture in Trecento Florence. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1993. Gillingham, John. “Some Observations on Social Mobility in England between the Norman Conquest and the Early Thirteenth Century.” In England and Germany in the High Middle Ages, edited by Alfred Haverkamp and Hanna Vollrath, pp. 333–​55. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Hexter, Ralph J., and David Townsend, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Latin Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Hunt, Tony. Teaching and Learning Latin in Thirteenth-​Century England. 3 vols. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1991. Kristol, Andres. “Le ms. 188 de Magdalen College Oxford: une ‘pierre de Rosette’ de l’enseignement médiéval du français en Angleterre?” Vox Romanica 60 (2001): 149–​67. Lusignan, Serge. La Langue des rois au Moyen Âge. Le français en France et en Angleterre. Paris: PUF, 2004. —​—​. Parler vulgairement: Les intellectuels face à la langue française. Paris: Vrin, 1984. —​—​. “Translatio Studii and the Emergence of French as a Language of Letters in the Middle Ages.” New Medieval Literatures 14 (2012):  1–​19. Nissille, Christel. “Grammaire floue” et enseignement du français en Angleterre au XVe siècle: Les leçons du manuscrit Oxford Magdalen 188. Tübingen: A. Francke Verlag, 2014. Orme, Nicholas. Medieval Schools: From Roman Britain to Renaissance England. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. Townsend, David. “The Current Questions and Future Prospects of Medieval Latin Studies.” In Hexter and Townsend, Oxford Handbook, pp. 3–​24. Waters, Claire M. Translating “Clergie”: Status, Education, and Salvation in Thirteenth-​Century Vernacular Texts. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. Watson, Nicholas. “The Idea of Latinity.” In Hexter and Townsend, Oxford Handbook, pp. 124–​48. Wogan-​Browne, Jocelyn, Thelma Fenster and Delbert W. Russell, eds. Vernacular Literary Theory from the French of Medieval England: Texts and Translations, c.1120–​c.1450. Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2016. Wogan-​Browne, Jocelyn, Nicholas Watson, Andrew Taylor, and Ruth Evans, eds. The Idea of the Vernacular: An Anthology of Middle English Literary Theory, 1280–​1520. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1999. Zumthor, Paul. Towards a Medieval Poetics. Translated by Philip Bennett. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992. Originally published as Essai de poétique médiévale. Paris: Seuil, 1972. Thomas Hinton is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Exeter. His research focuses primarily on literature written in French and Occitan in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with a particular interest in the transmission and reception of literary works. He has published on topics including Arthurian romance, troubadour lyric, the French of medieval Britain, narrative aesthetics, and History of the Book. His first monograph was The Conte du Graal Cycle: Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval, The Continuations, and French Arthurian Romance.

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9 VERNACULAR TRANSLATION IN MEDIEVAL ITALY: VOLGARIZZAMENTO ALISON CORNISH

What is Volgarizzamento? The Italian term volgarizzamento refers to a particular condition of translation, where the target language is volgare, vernacular: that is, not a language of literature, but essentially a spoken tongue. It presupposes a situation of diglossia: where two languages are in use, one regarded as higher and the other as lower. In the early period a third language was also in play since many translations were made from French, including translations of French translations of Latin texts. Unlike modern notions of translation, the aim of volgarizzamento was more to explain a given text than to provide a substitute, making it a species of exposition or commentary, a genre characterized by anonymity and mobility. If original texts, particularly ancient ones, were to be carefully copied verbatim and with no intentional alteration, vernacular versions of them were made to be updated, with no expectation of fixity. Such translations as they survive today are the product of multiple authors and multiple layers of authorship, as even the same individual might re-​translate or correct prior versions of it. The instability of vernacular languages and of vernacular translation in general is one of the challenges to producing critical editions of these texts.1

A Culture of Translation

The phenomenon of vernacular translation in Italy, starting in the middle of the thirteenth century was one of the main catalysts for the beginning of an Italian literature before the 1  New databases for the study of Italian vernacular translation have been put on line, particularly the combined databases of Censimento, Archivio e Studio dei Volgarizzamenti Italiani and Studio (CASVI) and Archivio e Lessico dei Volgarizzamenti Italiani (SALVIt): http://​casvi. sns.it/​index.php?type=db (accessed September 22, 2018).

Tuscan of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio triumphed as a cosmopolitan literary language. Emblematic of translation’s place at the origins is the lyric translation of Folquet de Marseille’s Occitan canso “A vos, midonz, voill retrair’ en cantan,” attributed to the Sicilian Iacopo da Lentini, inventor of the sonnet, at the head of Vatican manuscript Lat.3793, the most important transmitter of the earliest Italian poetry.2 But the majority of volgarizzamenti, even of poetic texts, are in expository prose: unassuming attempts at rendering a culture of learning accessible to an audience not well-​versed in Latin.3 They are an indicator of the tastes and interests of a particular reading public in a particular time and place.

Conditions of Early Italian Translation

Vernacular translation in Italy did not generally begin as a centralized effort to validate or dignify a particular regional dialect, patronized by a court, as occurred elsewhere and at other times in Europe. Rather it was often a spontaneous, anonymous activity undertaken by members of the notarial and juridical classes of the city-​states (comuni) for the benefit of wealthy merchants and their wives, or by the new mendicant preachers who addressed urban crowds, all of whom operated between the learned language of Latin and the spoken tongues.4 The anonymous late thirteenth-​century 2  Folena, Volgarizzare e tradurre, pp. 23–​ 25; Picone, “The Formation of Literary Italian,” pp. 13–​17; Roncaglia, “De quibusdam provincialibus translatis in lingua nostra”; Giannini, “Tradurre fino a tradire,” pp. 903–​4; Brugnolo, “I siciliani e l’arte dell’imitazione.”

3  In this regard, the Fiore, a rendition of the French Roman de la Rose into a sonnet cycle, attributable to Dante, is quite unusual. See Barański and Boyde, The Fiore in Context. 4  For a recent overview of this cultural context, see Robins, “The Study of Medieval Italian Textual Cultures.”

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Tuscan story collection, Il novellino, that describes its purpose as offering “flowers of speech” to people of noble and gentle hearts, tells of a philosopher who was too courteous in vulgarizing science and was berated in a dream by the goddesses of science for having brought them into a bordello.5 In the Italian communes, and in Florence especially, a relatively high proportion of the population had need and desire for a certain level of basic education and expression: for a vernacular literacy.6 This may be in part because merchants and bankers were scrupulous record-​keepers. As Leon Battista Alberti would say, assessing this vernacular writing culture from the vantage point of the fifteenth century, the good merchant always has his hands stained with ink. Records could become repositories also for literary texts. The register-​books of prominent merchant families would eventually become small libraries of vernacular works.7 For the citizen involved in the politics of his city who necessarily relied upon rhetorical persuasion, there was a practical, civic use in the ready availability of Latin learning and the cultivation of rhetorical style. Scholars have noted the virtual equation of politics with rhetoric in the second half of the thirteenth century, and for a moderately educated urban public there was a practical, civic use in the recovery of historical and mythological learning. Vernacular versions of Ciceronian texts, in particular, were motivated by the need for vernacular eloquence in the civic context of political speech-​making and debate. The choice of terms in these early volgarizzamenti suggest that late medieval Florentines could imagine identity and continuity with the Roman past, as they could translate the Latin “res publica” with their own “comune” and the Roman “imperium” with their own “signoria.”8 Communal life demanded ever more legal documentation, requiring more notaries. Already in the twelfth century 5  Conte, Il Novellino, pp. 3, 131–​32; Cornish, Vernacular Translation in Dante’s Italy, pp. 32–​33.

6  Black, Education and Society and Humanism and Education; Gehl, A Moral Art and “Preachers, Teachers and Translators.”

7  Alberti, The Family in Renaissance Florence, p. 67; Bec, Les marchands écrivains; Petrucci, “Reading and Writing Volgare” and “Storia e geografia delle culture scritte”; Tanturli, “I Benci copisti”; Balestracci, The Renaissance in the Fields.

8  Segre, Volgarizzamenti del Due e Trecento, p. 19; Milner, “Citing the Balcony” and “Communication, Consensus and Conflict”; Artifoni, “Sull’eloquenza politica nel Duecento italiano”; Lippi Bigazzi, I volgarizzamenti trecenteschi dell’Ars amandi e dei Remedia amoris, p. 12.

in the law schools of Bologna, the ars notaria, or notarial art, was integrated into the art of prose composition, the ars dictandi or ars dictaminis. This technique of letter-​writing was a medieval Italian invention, initiated by Benedictine monks at Montecassino in the late eleventh century. Although it originated in this monastic context as a method of Latin epistolography, lay teachers in Bologna began to apply it to writing in the vernacular. Guido Faba (or Fava), author of several important rhetorical treatises from about 1220 to 1243, was the first to recommend the dictaminal principles of Montecassino in vernacular composition, and is therefore considered the founder of Italian literary prose. Faba’s treatises provide formulas and models for speech-​making as well as letter-​writing. In Gemma purpurea he inserted into the Latin text brief formulas for letters in the vernacular, and in Parlamenta et epistole he started with vernacular models which he then translated into Latin. These exchanges between Latin and Italian, while not full-​blown volgarizzamenti, are a fundamental form of bilingualism that support Cesare Segre’s oft-​repeated remark that in Italy a “mentality of vulgarization” preceded its practice. The ars dictandi thus became a mediator between Latin tradition and vernacular culture in the formation of Italian prose.9

Outside Tuscany Rome

Despite the Tuscan pre-​eminence in translation as well as in vernacular literature in general, some of the very oldest volgarizzamenti were composed elsewhere. The civic imperatives of speech-​ making and transcription of legal documents were important also in cities around Rome, whence come the notarial formulas translated from the Ars notaria of Rainerio da Perugia into Viterbese around the first half of the thirteenth century, and some vernacular formulas in Giovanni da Viterbo’s Liber de regimine civitatum from around 1253. There are two anonymous volgarizzamenti from the 1250s into Roman dialect: Le miracole di Roma, translation of the medieval guidebook, Mirabilia Urbis Romae, and Storie de 9  Segre, Volgarizzamenti del Due e Trecento, p. 11: “Volgarizzamento è, nella nostra prima letteratura, situazione mentale prima ancora che attività specifica” (Vernacularization is, in our earliest literature, a mental situation even before it became a specific activity). On ars dictaminis, see Camargo, Ars dictaminis, Ars dictandi and Murphy, Rhetoric in the Middle Ages. On Guido Faba, Castellani, “Le formule volgari di Guido Faba”; D’Agostino, “Itinerari e forme della prosa,” pp.  535–​39.

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Troja e de Roma (1252–​1258), translation of a twelfth-​century compilation of various Latin authors known as the Multe Ystorie et Troiane et Romane or Liber Ystoriarum Romanorum. The Storie survives in at least four manuscripts which are independent of each other, one of which contains also the Miracole. The Roman translator of the Storie had evident difficulty with the Latin language, and had no qualms about substituting Christian reference points for Roman landmarks mentioned in the original text. In a subsequent Tuscanization of the Storie, it was the original romanesco of the Roman volgarizzamento that presented difficulties to the translator.10 Veneto and elsewhere We know of a group of other very early translations done in the Veneto region only because they are preserved in a single thirteenth-​ century manuscript (Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Hamilton 390) known as the Saibante because of the Veronese family that owned it for many years. It opens with a Venetian prose translation of the Disticha Catonis, a second-​ century collection of verse proverbs that were immensely popular in the Middle Ages.11 The Saibante contains also a prose vernacularization of Pamphilus, a comedy about a poor boy’s seduction of a rich girl, influenced by Ovid’s Ars amandi, written in Latin elegaic distychs in France in the twelfth century and enormously popular in the Middle Ages. (Boccaccio uses the name “Panfilo” for the lover in his Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta, as well as for one of the story-​ tellers in the Decameron.) In both the Disticha Catonis and the Pamphilus, the Latin verses are often transcribed between the lines of the vernacular text, suggesting they were scholastic exercises in translation.12 It seems that thirteenth-​century Veneto versions of the Irish-​Latin Navigatio sancti Brendani abbatis (The Voyage of St. Brendan the Abbot) are the source of later Tuscan translations, even if the latter are preserved in older manuscripts. The 10  Baldelli, “La letteratura dell’Italia mediana dalle Origini al XIII secolo,” pp. 61–​62.

11  The Saibante version, from around 1250, is among the oldest translations of this text. There are also two verse renditions, one by Bonvesin de la Riva, and another by Catenaccio Catenacci from Anagni, as well as a prose version in Tuscan.

12  Vinciguerra, “L’incanto del lotto Saibante-​ Hamilton 390”; D’Agostino, “Itinerari e forme della prosa,” p. 576; Elsheikh, “Sul volgarizzamento ‘veneziano’ del ‘Pamphilus de amore’ ”; Crespo, “Volgarizzamenti,” p. 464.

Vernacular Translation in Medieval Italy

oldest one, written in the dialect of Lucca, in fact asserts that San Blandano was born in Venice.13 As for other provenances, there is a Bolognese Vita di san Petronio, of a Latin life of the saint that has not survived.14 In old Genoese there is a compendium of the moral treatise Somme le roi by Laurent of Orleans from around the turn of the fourteenth century. The Mantuan Vivaldo Belcalzèr translated Bartholomew the Englishman’s De proprietatibus rerum, parts of the Imago Mundi and the Elucidarium, both by Honorius of Autun, into his own dialect. Bonvesin de la Riva used the Lucidario in some of his works in Lombard dialect. In Sicilian there are translations of the Aeneid and of Valerius Maximus, as well as of Gregory’s Dialogi, and of a prior Tuscan version of the French Somme le Roi. A verse translation of the Disticha Catonis survives in Milanese as well as in a southern dialect, possibly Calabrian, or a mix of Abruzzese and Campanian spoken in Anagni. There is a Neapolitan version of a poem on the baths of Pozzuoli and of a Tuscan version of the Latin history, Historia destructionis Troiae, by Guido delle Colonne.15

In Tuscany: Rhetoric and History

Bono Giamboni and Brunetto Latini The overwhelming majority of surviving vernacular translations are, however, from the region of Tuscany and the earliest ones are marked by an interest in rhetoric, morals, and history. The citizen, notary, and master of rhetoric Brunetto Latini, notorious for his appearance in Dante’s Hell and whom Giovanni Villani described as a “refiner of Florentines” was one of the first translators of Cicero, whom he described as “the best talker in the world” (il migliore parladore del mondo) and “a marvellous knight in arms” (d’arme meraviglioso cavaliere).16 Latini’s Rettorica, written while in exile in France around 1260, 13  Tagliani, “ ‘Navigatio Sancti Brendani.’” 14  Corti, Vita di san Petronio.

15  D’Agostino, “Itinerari e forme della prosa,” pp. 576–​79.

16  Villani, Nuova cronica, II.ix.10: “Nel detto anno MCCLXXXXIIII morì in Firenze uno valente cittadino il quale ebbe nome ser Brunetto Latini, il quale fu gran filosafo, e fue sommo maestro in rettorica, tanto in bene sapere dire come in bene dittare. E fu quegli che spuose la Rettorica di Tulio, e fece il buono e utile libro detto Tesoro, e il Tesoretto, e la Chiave del Tesoro, e più altri libri in filosofia, e de’ vizi e di virtù, e fu dittatore del nostro Comune. Fu mondano uomo, ma di lui avemo fatta menzione però ch’egli fue cominciatore e maestro in digrossare i Fiorentini, e farli scorti in bene parlare, e in sapere guidare e reggere la nostra repubblica secondo la Politica” (In said year of 1294, there died in Florence a worthy citizen who was called

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is a translation of and commentary on the first seventeen chapters of Cicero’s De inventione. The commentary itself is also in part a vernacular rendition of a twelfth-​century Latin one. Latini may have broken off the translation of the Rettorica at the moment he took up the large project of his French encyclopedia, the Tresor, which incorporates the Rettorica into Book Three. He went on to translate three of Cicero’s orations, Pro Marcello, Pro Ligario, and Pro rege Deiotaro as examples of the “bel parlare.” The richer style of the translated orations as compared with the Rettorica attests to the development of the genre of volgarizzamento even within the production of a single translator.17 The Tuscan version of Latini’s Tresor, the Tesoro, is itself a locus for volgarizzamenti, where versions of texts Brunetto translated or used in French, are sometimes substituted with extant Italian translations. Fiore di Rettorica The Fiore di Rettorica, a vernacular version of the pseudo-​ Ciceronian Rhetorica ad Herennium long attributed to Cicero, dates from about the same time as Brunetto Latini’s Rettorica. The dedication in one manuscript by a certain Guidotto da Bologna to King Manfred suggests that it was composed between 1258 and 1266, although that version seems to be a collage of previous versions, two of which are anonymous, and one of which is attributed in the manuscript to Bono Giamboni (ca. 1240–​ ca.1292), a Florentine judge contemporary with Brunetto Latini. Giamboni made a vernacular abbreviation of Paulus Orosius’s Historiae adversus paganos and a version of Vegetius’s De re militari.18 His Della miseria dell’uomo, a translation Lotario’s De misera humanae conditionis, also contains translated passages from Boethius, Honorius of Autun, and Albertano da Brescia. ser Brunetto Latini, who was a great philosopher, and highest master in rhetoric, both for knowing how to speak well and how to write. And he was the one who explained Cicero’s Rhetoric, made the good and useful book called the Treasure (Tresor), and the Little Treasure (Tesoretto), and the Key to the Treasure (Chiave del Tesoro), and other books of philosophy and on the virtues and vices, and he was dittatore of our commune. He was a worldly man, but we have mentioned him because he was the first and the best teacher in refining the Florentines, and making them good at speaking well and in knowing how to guide and rule our republic according to Politics.) 17  Folena, Volgarizzare e tradurre, p. 41; Maggini, I primi volgarizzamenti dai classici latini.

18  Speroni, Fiore di rettorica /​Bono Giamboni; Segre, Lingua, stile, e società, pp. 271–​300. There are further versions of Rhetorica ad Herennium in the Trecento: Scolari.

Albertano da Brescia, a judge born around the beginning of the thirteenth century, was the author of a treatise on speaking and remaining silent (De arte loquendi et tacendi) that Brunetto Latini incorporated into his Tresor. This treatise, together with two others on moral themes (De amore et dilectione Dei and Liber consolationis et consilii) were translated around the same time by two other Tuscans also working in France (Andrea da Grosseto in Paris in 1268 and the Pistoian Soffredi del Grazia in Provins before 1278).19

Importance of French

In 1967 Carlo Dionisotti criticized the authors of the Garzanti Storia della letteratura italiana for insisting on these thirteenth-​century translations of rhetorical texts because it gave a “mirage of the origins” to Italian literature, turning it into a presentiment of humanism which, Dionisotti says, it was not. The fact of the matter is that there survive far more volgarizzamenti done in that early period from French than from Latin, including of French translations of medieval and ancient Latin texts. Apart from quantity, Dionisotti asserted that everything that was known of ancient Roman history in the Italian thirteenth century was known through French intermediaries.”20 Old French and Occitan were familiar languages to Italians who frequently transcribed manuscripts in those languages and sometimes used them to compose their own poetry and prose. Some early translations retain so many Gallicisms and French syntax that the linguistic shift into Italian is very slight. The whole phenomenon of Franco-​Italian or Franco-​Venetian, a language used in northern Italy for works on themes of chivalric romance, may be viewed as a consequence of the coexistence and copenetration of these two languages in literary production and transcription.21 19  D’Agostino, “La prosa delle origini e del Duecento,” p. 112; Ciampi, Volgarizzamento dei trattati morali di Albertano giudice di Brescia da Soffredi del Grazia notaro pistojese, fatto innanzi al 1278. 20  Dionisotti, “Tradizione classica e volgarizzamenti,” pp. 136–​ 37: “un dato di fatto incontrovertibile … quanto allora in Italia si sapeva della storia di Roman antica proveniva non da testi latini, ma direttamente o indirettamente da testi francesi” (an incontrovertible fact of the matter … however much was known at that time in Italy of the history of ancient Rome came not from Latin texts, but directly or indirectly from French texts). 21  Segre, “La letteratura franco-​veneta”; Busby, Codex and Context; Infurna, “La letteratura franco-​ veneta”; Roncaglia, “La letteratura franco-​veneta.”

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At the same time, Jacques Monfrin observed that what ultimately distinguished Italian volgarizzamenti from their French predecessors was precisely their predilection for rhetoric, both in the choice of texts to translate and in a tendency to emulate the style of the Latin originals.22 In twelfth-​ century France the appropriation of classical material was often described as rendering it into Romance (“romancier” or “traire en romanz”) which typically meant also putting it into verse.23 By contrast, Italian translations were mostly in prose, aiming at explanation rather than substitution, and their linguistic passivity often left strong traces of their exemplars in a residue of Latinisms and Gallicisms.

Translations of Ancient Texts through French Fatti dei Romani

Yet even this predilection for prose has French antecedents. I Fatti di Cesare or Fatti dei Romani are titles given to numerous Italian translations and remakes of the large, anonymous, early thirteenth-​century prose French compilation, Li Fet/​Fait des Romains.24 Combining Lucan, Sallust, Suetonius, and Caesar, this text was almost the exclusive source for knowledge of Caesar in Italy. It was used by Brunetto Latini in his Tresor; by the late-​thirteenth-​century Tuscan collection of tales, Conti di antichi cavalieri; and in a Franco-​Venetian poem by Nicolò da Verona (mid-​1300s), the Pharsale, which quickly circulated in all of Italy, in turn producing an impressive number of translations and remakes. Of the seven different redactions of the Fatti, the most complete version also makes use of another thirteenth-​ century French source, the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César, a compilation of texts from the Bible, Paulus Orosius, medieval chronicles and romances. A shorter version of the Fatti seems to have circulated more widely, based on the forty or so manuscripts that contain it. The Fatti were mined extensively in the fourteenth century by the author of the didactic allegorical poem, Intelligenza, and by the author of the Libro imperiale, a book about Caesar, attributed to Giovanni di Bonsignori who also translated Ovid’s Metamorphoses.25 22  Monfrin, “Les traducteurs et leur public au moyen âge.” 23  Folena, Volgarizzare e tradurre, p. 16.

24  On this text see Beer, A Medieval Caesar; Bénéteau, Li fatti de’ romani dei manoscritti Hamilton 67 e Riccardiano 2418; Marroni, I fatti dei Romani; Staccioli, “Sul ms Hamilton 67 di Berlino e sul volgarizzamento della IV Catilinaria in esso contenuto.” 25  Parodi, “Le storie di Cesare nella letteratura italiana dei primi secoli.”

Vernacular Translation in Medieval Italy

Popularity of French Romance

French romances were extremely popular in Italy. There are some twenty manuscripts of the romances Tristan and Lancelot in French that were made in Italy, eight of which come from a single scriptorium. The Italian origin of manuscripts written in languages other than Italian is determined in a number of ways: a linguistic patina, a style of illumination, notes of possession, and titles and marginalia written in Italian. Most French texts on Arthurian themes copied in Italy are from the last quarter of the thirteenth century and the first half of the fourteenth. After that the material is transmitted mostly in Italian, in volgarizzamenti. The Tristan, unlike the Lancelot, was repeatedly translated into Italian, starting at least with the so-​called Tristano Riccardiano from the late thirteenth century, which translates a French prose Tristan that no longer survives and is the model for subsequent Castilian, Catalan, Latin, and Bergamasque translations, as well as a re-​translation into French. Apart from a few Duecento fragments in Pistoia, most of the other Italian Tristan material, including the Tristano Panciatichiano, the Tavola Ritonda, and the Tristano Palatino, is from the fourteenth century. Although there are about equal numbers of French copies made in Italy of the Lancelot and the Tristan, only recently has a single manuscript fragment turned up of a translated Lancelot, a rarity that suggests Dante’s Francesca in Inferno 5 was reading her French romance in the original.26 Le roman de Troie Another immensely popular French romance, based on an ancient historical theme, was Le roman de Troie by Benoît de Sainte-​Maure. The Roman makes use primarily of two fifth-​ century Latin texts, a history of the destruction of Troy supposedly by Dares of Phrygia, mentioned by Homer in the Iliad as a Trojan priest, and the presumed diary of Dictys of Crete, both of which claim to be eyewitness accounts of the Trojan war. Benoît’s Roman circulated in Italy in both its original French verse and several prose versions, but also in Italian and even Latin translation. Perhaps one third of the surviving manuscripts of the original French verse romance are Italian and only one of the five surviving prose versions was produced in French territory. Benoît was Brunetto Latini’s source for Trojan material in his Tresor, and for the story 26  Cadioli, Lancellotto; Allaire, Il Tristano Panticiachiano; Psaki, Tristano Riccardiano; Delcorno Branca, Tristano e Lancilotto in Italia; Heijkant, Tristano riccardiano.

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collections, I Conti di antichi cavalieri and the Novellino. The Istorietta troiana, a fragmentary Florentine work from the end of the Duecento, is a translation of a French prose version of Benoît’s Roman. In the earlier of the two manuscripts in which it is found, the Istorietta is flanked by vernacular versions of Ovid’s Heroides and Virgil’s Aeneid. In a later manuscript, from the end of the fourteenth century, it is followed by a translation of Guido delle Colonne’s Historia destructionis Troiae, which was itself a re-​Latinization of Benoît’s Roman.27 In his history of the destruction of Troy, the Sicilian judge Guido claimed to be going back to reliable ancient sources, but he in fact depends quite heavily on Benoît’s Roman, or perhaps a prose version of it, evidenced by details of plot and by traces of French in his Latin.28 Guido’s Historia became so popular that it eventually supplanted its French source, even in France. Among the many volgarizzamenti of the Latin text into different languages, there is one by a Florentine notary, Filippo Ceffi, dated 1324, in the same manuscript as the Istorietta; one by Mazzeo Bellebuoni da Pistoia from 1333; and one in Neapolitan. One Italian version combines Benoit’s Roman with a French version of Guido’s text. The Istorietta is itself contaminated with Ceffi’s translation of the Latin Historia destructionis Troiae, which is to say, written by someone who was using two versions at once. Boccaccio’s telling of an episode of the Trojan War in his Filostrato was most probably inspired by the Latin Historia destructionis Troiae rather than by Benoît’s Roman, but it is also possible that Boccaccio got some of his material from the Istorietta. The permutations of Benoît’s Roman de Troie and the impact of its adaptations in one language on those in another make this one of the remarkable examples of how vernacular versions can function backwards, forwards, and sideways as descendants, progenitors, and contaminants of other texts.29

Other Latin Sources Transmitted through French

Other Latin sources transmitted through French intermediaries include Ovid’s Heroides, from around the beginning of the Trecento, and the first ten books of Livy’s Roman history, Ab urbe condita, Seneca’s letters to Lucilius, and a number 27  D’Agostino, “La prosa delle origini e del Duecento,” p. 109. Binduccio dello Scelto, La Storia di Troia, pp. 40–​ 43; Crespo, “Volgarizzamenti.” 28  Jung, La légende de Troie en France au moyen âge.

29  Punzi, “La circolazione della materia troiana nell’Europa del ‘200.”

of translations of parts of the Bible.30 One Tuscan version of Proverbs cleaves so closely to its French source that it declares, in Italian, that it is a translation into French (“noi metremo lo primo [libro] in francescho”).31 Another category of translation strongly influenced by French is encyclopedic and scientific works. This would include Brunetto Latini’s Tresor, a pioneering encyclopedia of natural and moral science very soon translated from French into Latini’s native language, perhaps by the author himself.32 There are a number of versions of Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire d’amour, in Tuscan but also in Venetian.33 Working in Avignon in 1310, the Florentine notary Zucchero Bencivenni made use of the pseudo-​Aristotelian Secretum Secretorum, or a French translation of it, in his Sanità del corpo, an expanded vernacular version of Aldobrandino da Siena’s medical treatise, Régime du corps, written in French in 1256. To Bencivenni is also attributed an Italian version of the Liber medicinalis Almansoris by the Persian surgeon al-​Rāzī. It is not clear whether this translation was made from Gerard of Cremona’s Latin version of the Arabic original, as stated in the rubric of one manuscript from 1300, or from a French intermediary as stated at the end of the text in that same manuscript and before an acrostic revealing Bencivenni’s name (“traslato di francescho in volghare”).34 In his 1313 adaptation of the French instructional work by Laurent of Orleans, La Somme le Roi, Bencivenni expanded the text with elements taken from several Italian texts, including Bono Giamboni’s Libro de’ vizî e delle virtudi and Brunetto Latini’s Tresor, or its Italian version.35 Bencivenni also translated Sacrobosco’s Tractatus 30  The Tuscan versions of Seneca’s letters to Lucilius derive from a French translation by Bartolomeo Siginulfo, Count of Caserta, done between 1308 and 1310. Gualdo and Palermo, “La Prosa del Trecento,” p. 365; Azzetta, “Tradizione latina e volgarizzamento della prima deca di Tito Livio.” 31  Zinelli, “ ‘Donde noi metremo lo primo in francescho.’”

32  See Pietro Beltrami’s introduction to his edition of Brunetto Latini’s Tresor. 33  D’Agostino, “Itinerari e forme della prosa,” p. 587.

34  There exists another, anonymous Florentine version of Aldobrandino’s Régime du corps. Baldini, “Zucchero Bencivenni.” There is a Pisan version of the Secretum Secretorum and another from Arezzo, the same city of Restoro d’Arezzo, author of the 1282 vernacular scientific encyclopedia known as the Composizione del mondo. Zinelli, “Ancora un monumento dell’antico aretino e sulla traduzione italiana del Secretum secretorum.” 35  Bencivenni’s text is the basis for the Sicilian translation, Libru vitii virtuti, from the second half of the fourteenth century: Bruni, Libru di li vitii et di li virtuti.

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de Sphaera, perhaps also from French.36 Other anonymous translations, particularly on scientific subjects, have been attributed to Bencivenni, such as the Consolazione delle medicine; Peter of Spain’s Thesaurus pauperum; a lapidary; and a treatise on the virtues of rosemary.37 There are several Italian translations of the late thirteenth-​ century anonymous philosophical French work, Livre de Sydrac. A fragmentary Tuscan version is preserved in one manuscript, also late thirteenth century, collected together with an itinerary through the Holy Land, parts of the early Tuscan collection of tales, the Novellino, and passages from the Fiori e vita dei filosafi e d’altri savi e d’imperadori, which is a translation of Adam of Clermont’s 1270 Flores historiarium, itself a compendium of the third part of the Speculum maius of Vincent of Beauvais. Other versions of Sydrac in Tuscan and in Salentino are from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.38

Scientific Sources Translated Directly from Latin

Only a few philosophical and scientific sources were translated directly from Latin, not through French intermediaries. The Florentine doctor, Taddeo Alderotti, who taught in Bologna from 1230 to 1260, translated a compendium of Aristotle’s Ethics into the vernacular. Dante famously criticized the version as “ugly” and cited it as a reason never to leave vernacularization of one’s works to anyone else.39 The Italian version of Brunetto Latini’s Tresor, Il Tesoro, replaces the sixth book with Alderotti’s translation which, in any case, was probably the main source when Latini was writing the book in French. The only other Aristotelian text to be put into the vernacular was the treatise on Meteorology. The Metaura, from the second half of the fourteenth century, is a liberal adaptation of the commentaries of Thomas Aquinas and Albert the Great on that treatise.40 An extraordinary illustrated medical remedy book in the British Library, known as the “Carrara Herbal” (Erbario carrarerese) datable to 1390–​1404 36  Ronchi, Il trattato de la spera.

Vernacular Translation in Medieval Italy

contains a translation into Paduan of a thirteenth-​century Latin version of an Arabic original. The vernacular Questioni filosofiche, preserved in two Florentine manuscripts, translate large portions of the Quaestiones naturales of Adelard of Bath.41 Andrea Lancia

While the role of French as intermediary is undeniable, an important part of the story of Italian volgarizzamento is the direct encounter with authoritative Latin texts of the ancient world. A  prolific and indeed professional translator of the Florentine Trecento was Andrea Lancia, now thought to be the author of the so-​called “best” or “Ottimo” commentary on Dante’s Commedia. He was charged with translating municipal statutes, such as a Florentine sumptuary law of 1355.42 To Lancia have been attributed vernacular translations of Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s books on love (Ars amandi and Remedia amoris), the pseudo-​Ovidian Pulex, Valerius Maximus, and Seneca, as well as the twelfth-​century Andreas Capellanus. The abbreviated vernacular Aeneid is from a Latin prose compendium of the poem, now lost, that the manuscripts record was commissioned of a Franciscan friar by the prominent Florentine citizen, Coppo di Borghese Domenichi, a friend of Boccaccio’s mentioned in the Decameron.43 The same Coppo asked Andrea to translate it, which he did, from “gramaticha” into “piacevole volgare” (pleasing vernacular).44 There are similarities between Lancia’s compendium and the first full volgarizzamento of the Aeneid by the Sienese, Ciampolo di Meo degli Ugurgieri, from around the same time. Ciampolo’s many borrowings from Dante help to date his translation after at least the first two canticles of the Commedia were written, but before 1340, the date of one of its manuscripts. Unlike Lancia’s, Ciampolo’s translation is faithful to the original, accompanied by numerous glosses both in the margin 41  Kyle, Medicine and Humanism in Late Medieval Italy; Geymonat, “Questioni filosofiche” in volgare mediano dei primi del Trecento.

38  Sgrilli, Il “Libro di Sidrac” salentino; Bianchi de Vecchi, “Un frammento toscano inedito del Libro di Sidrac”; Minervini, “Sul testo veronese del Libro di Sidrach.”

42  Azzetta, “Le chiose alla Commedia di Andrea Lancia, l’ Epistola a Cangrande e altre questioni dantesche,” Ordinamenti, provvisioni e riformagioni del Comune di Firenze volgarizzati da Andrea Lancia, and “Per la biografia di Andrea Lancia: documenti e autografi”; Gorni, “Notizie su Dante, Andrea Lancia e l’Ovidio volgare.”

40  Librandi, La Metaura d’Aristotile.

44  Colomb De Batines, “Andrea Lancia, scrittore fiorentino del Trecento,” p. 21.

37  Baldini, “Zucchero Bencivenni,” p. 28.

39  Alighieri, Convivio, I.x.10; Gentili, “L’Etica volgarizzata da Taddeo Alderotti (m. 1295)” and L’uomo aristotelico alle origini della letteratura italiana.

43  Decameron V.9. Cellerino, “Domenichi, Coppo (Giacoppo, Jacopo, Coppo Di Borghese Domenichi).”

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and between the lines. It could be that Ciampolo had a copy of Lancia’s compendium in front of him as he was translating; or the reverse is also possible.45 Traces of Lancia’s text are evident in a Sicilian version of the Aeneid by a certain Angilu da Capua, also datable to the first quarter of the Trecento, as well as in Boccaccio’s Filocolo.46 Other versions of the Aeneid can be found in the second part of the Fiorita (or Fiore) d’Italia composed by another commentator on Dante, Guido da Pisa, sometime before 1337. This encyclopedic universal history becomes in its second part a volgarizzamento of the Aeneid under the subtitle of “Deeds of Aeneas” (Fatti di Enea).47 Andrea Lancia has been associated with one of the three Tuscan translations of Ovid’s Ars amatoria and Remedia amoris. A fourth volgarizzamento in Venetian contains only the Arte d’amare and is somewhat later. The most surely Florentine and most widely known version of both works contains two prologues, one in which the translator addresses a group of young people said to have requested the work, and one in which a self-​ described “rough scholar” (scolaio rozzo) claims authorship of some glosses, requested of him by the translator, whom he refers to as a “learned master” (scienzato maestro). It has been suggested that the learned master might be Andrea Lancia and the rough scholar Giovanni Boccaccio.48 Ovid’s Heroides were translated both from French, around the beginning of the Trecento, and then directly from the Latin by Filippo Ceffi, around 1320. On the basis of Ceffi’s version, Domenico da Monticchiello put the whole work into rhyming octaves. There are moreover resemblances between glosses on the Italian Eroidi in an early-​fourteenth-​century manuscript and mythological material in Boccaccio’s Filostrato and Filocolo.49 By 1333 Ovid’s Metamorphoses had been rendered into Tuscan by ser Arrigo Simintendi da Prato, accompanied in some manuscripts by translations of Giovanni del Virgilio’s allegories. Giovanni de’ Bonsignori relied heavily on these 45  Valerio, “La cronologia dei primi volgarizzamenti dell’Eneide e la difffusione della Commedia”; Porta, “Volgarizzamenti dal latino,” p. 587.

46  Folena, La Istoria di Eneas vulgarizata per Angilu di Capua; Tanturli, “Volgarizzamenti e ricostruzione dell’antico,” p. 881. 47  Parodi, “I rifacimenti e le traduzioni italiane dell’Eneide di Virgilio prima del rinascimento”; Porta, “Volgarizzamenti dal latino,” p. 588.

48  Lippi Bigazzi, I volgarizzamenti trecenteschi dell’Ars amandi e dei Remedia amoris. 49  Zaggia, Heroides; Perugi, “Chiose gallo-​romanze alle Eroidi.”

allegories in his 1377 Ovidio Metamorphoseos Vulgare, an exposition of the poem presented as a volgarizzamento.50 Valerius Maximus and Livy Lancia was also at one time credited with the extremely popular volgarizzamento of the Facta et dicta memorabilia by the first-​century Roman, Valerius Maximus. It was then attributed to Boccaccio, together with translations of the third and possibly also the fourth decade of Livy’s Ab urbe condita, although an early date in a manuscript gloss of a copy of Valerio Massimo and a number of discrepancies between the two decades of Livy have now placed that attribution in doubt. Traces of these volgarizzamenti are nonetheless discernible in some of Boccaccio’s works, particularly Filocolo.51 Unlike the Tuscan version of the first decade (ten books) of Livy, which is a translation from French, those of the third and fourth decades are a part of a much more sophisticated endeavour, more classicizing in language, and based on better copies of the Latin text. Indeed, the translator of the latter two decades of Livy seems to have been using the text painstakingly reconstructed by Petrarch, which survives in a manuscript of the British Library (Harley 2193). Because the spirit of vernacularization is to some degree at odds with the philological project of restoring Latin originals, the anonymity of the translator might be a symptom of some ambivalence about such a project.52 Despite Dante’s cryptic characterization of it as a little known book, Boethius’s Consolatio philosophiae was used as a schoolbook in Florence and influenced a variety of vernacular works.53 Alberto della Piagentina, a notary and grammarian, who made his version of Boethius’s Consolatio during his ten years in a Venetian prison where he died in 1332, reproduced the original’s alternation of prose with verse, for which he chose Dante’s rhyming tercets. Alberto’s references to the 50  Marchesi, “Volgarizzamenti ovidiani nel secolo decimoquarto,” pp. 563–​73; Bonsignori, Ovidio Metamorphoseos vulgare.

51  Casella, Tra Boccaccio e Petrarca; Lippi Bigazzi, Un volgarizzamento inedito di Valerio Massimo; Tanturli, “Volgarizzamenti e ricostruzione dell’antico”; Zampieri, “Una primitiva redazione del volgarizzamento di Valerio Massimo”; Quaglio, “Valerio Massimo e il Filocolo di Giovanni Boccaccio.” 52  Dionisotti, “Tradizione classica e volgarizzamenti,” p. 140; Billanovich, La tradizione del testo di Livio e le origini dell’umanesimo. 53  Dante, Convivio, II.xii.2. Black, “The Vernacular and the Teaching of Latin.”

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Paradiso and especially the Convivio are among the earliest witnesses of those works. Boethius was also known to the Trecento in two Italian versions of Henry of Settimello’s late-​ twelfth-​century Latin De diversitate fortunae et philosophiae consolatione. The Italian translation, nicknamed Arrighetto, is transcribed after Alberto’s Boezio in some manuscripts. Filippo Villani reports that the Arrighetto was widely used as a grammar book and it may underlie some of the Boethian elements of Petrarch’s Secretum.54 Another very popular Latin work of which there are many translations are the fables of Aesop.55

Clerical Translators

Bartolomeo di San Concordio Bartolomeo da San Concordio da Pisa (b.1262) translated Sallust’s Jugurtha and Catilina some time before 1313, when a copyist of the vernacular compilation Fatti de’ Romani interpolated them into his manuscript.56 This Dominican friar was also the author of a Latin compendium of ancient teachings useful for preaching called the Documenta antiquorum, which he translated himself into the vernacular around 1305 as the very popular Ammaestramenti degli antichi, dedicated to the Florentine Geri Spini, about whom a tale is told in Decameron VI.2. A confessional handbook Bartolomeo wrote in Latin, Summa de casibus conscientiae, was translated by another preacher, Giovanni delle Celle, that went by the title of Maestruzzo. Giovanni may also have translated the portion of Cicero’s De re publica now known as the “Dream of Scipio,” which bears a number of similarities to another translation of that same text by the humanist, Zanobi da Strada, correspondent of Petrarch and friend of Boccaccio.57 The most prolific translator among Trecento preachers was Domenico Cavalca, to whom have been attributed versions of the Vite dei santi padri, Gregory the Great’s Dialogi, the Acts of the Apostles from the Bible, and the letter of St. Jerome to Eustochium. Such a lot of translation work suggests that Cavalca may have had a team 54  Porta, “Volgarizzamenti dal latino,” p. 592; Battaglia, Il Boezio e l’Arrighetto nelle versioni del Trecento.

55  Branca, Esopo Veneto and Esopo toscano; Gualdo and Palermo, “La Prosa del Trecento,” p. 366.

56  Staccioli, “Sul ms Hamilton 67 di Berlino e sul volgarizzamento della IV Catilinaria in esso contenuto,” p. 32.

57  Brambilla, “Per la fortuna volgare del ‘Somnium Scipionis’ ” and “Zanobi da Strada volgarizzatore di Cicerone.”

Vernacular Translation in Medieval Italy

helping him in the Dominican monastery of Santa Caterina in Pisa.58

Religious Texts

Translations of religious texts were by far the most frequently copied and most widely read category of volgarizzamento.59 They would make up the totality of some smaller laymen’s libraries. Franceso Datini, the merchant of Prato, wrote in 1395 that he bought many books in the vernacular to read when wearied by business and to pay something toward his debt to God, specifying that they are all books that speak of virtuous things, such as the Gospels, the Epistles, the sayings and the lives of all the saints, and many other good things.60 There was no decline in production of devotional translations between the end of the fourteenth century and the middle of the fifteenth, as there was for other kinds of vernacularizations. Many translations made in the early Trecento were copied, recopied, collected, and eventually printed well into the era of the Counter-​Reformation.61 Holy Scripture itself was explained, paraphrased, and translated into the vernacular in the context of other works, starting as early as St. Francis of Assisi’s Cantico delle creature which paraphrases several verses from the Book of Daniel.62 The historiated Paduan Bible from the end of the fourteenth century includes biblical extracts as captions to its large illustrations.63 As for complete translations of biblical books, already in the mid-​Trecento Giovanni da Salerno wrote, in his prologue to his vernacular version of a commentary on the 58  Cavalca, Cinque vite di eremiti; Delcorno, “Diffusione del volgarizzamento”; Barbieri, “Domenico Cavalca volgarizzatore degli Actua Apostolorum.” 59  Delcorno (1998), p. 4.

60  Francesco Datini, merchant of Prato, writes to one of his employees: “Chompero molti libri in volghare, per legierli quando mi rincrescierà i fatti della merchatantia, e per fare quello debo inverso Dio. Sono tutti libri che parlano di chose vertudiose, cioè sono tutti Vangeli, Epistole, il Detto e la Vita di tutt’i Santi e molte altre chose e buone.” Bec, Les marchands écrivains, pp. 393–​ 94; Origo, The Merchant of Prato.

61  De Luca, Prosatori minori del Trecento, pp. xi–​xl; Zarri, Le sante vive; Zardin, “Mercato librario e letture devote nella svolta del Cinquecento tridentino”; Crespo, “Volgarizzamenti,” p. 466. Gualdo and Palermo, “La Prosa del Trecento,” p. 399. 62  Pollidori, “La glosa come tecnica di traduzione.”

63  Clivio, Profilo di storia della letteratura in piemontese; Folena and Mellini, Bibbia istoriata padovana della fine del Trecento.

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Gospels by Simone Fidati da Cascia, that in some places the Bible had been completely “volgarizzata.”64 Around the same time the Dominican preacher Jacopo Passavanti complained, in his compilation of vernacular sermons, that “everyone is becoming a translator/​expositor of Scripture.” The problem is not just with the volgarizzatori, who should ideally have not just Latin theology, expert knowledge of Holy Scripture, rhetorical training, practice in the vulgar tongue, and real piety. It is also with the copyists of those translations, who tend to have even less understanding. Passavanti recommends forbidding further translation for the time being, while existing translations get corrected.65 A Dominican decree dated 1242 from Bologna prohibiting friars from translating scripture suggests that biblical translation was already a common activity as much as a century before. The translations of Scripture collected in the Bibbia volgare published in 1471 are by earlier translators. Yet the oldest witnesses we have of complete books of the Bible translated into Italian are from the turn of the fourteenth century.66

Conclusion: Relation of Volgarizzamento to Humanism

The project of vernacularization extending from the origins of Italian literature in the thirteenth century to the mid-​to late-​fourteenth was both the preparation for, and the opposite of, the cultural movement we know as humanism. Inspired by Petrarch’s Latinism, humanists disdained translations in favour of a more refined Latin education for the lay elite. As the vogue for volgarizzamenti began to wane in Italy, in France

64  Simone da Cascia, Gli Evangelii del B. Simone da Cascia esposti in volgare dal suo discepolo fra Giovanni da Salerno; Oser-​Grote and Eckermann, Simone Fidati da Cascia OESA; Bolzoni, Rete delle immagini. 65  Passavanti, Specchio della vera penitenza, pp. 229–​30. Leonardi, “A volerla bene volgarizzare,” 171–​201.

66  Calabretta, “Contatti italo-​francesi nella storia dei più antichi volgarizzamenti della Bibbia.”

large vernacular translation projects were just taking off. Dante wrote his vernacular prose work, the Convivio, and his ambitious, encyclopedic vernacular poem, the Commedia, when the translation movement was already underway and there was, therefore, a ready audience with a confirmed demand for learning in the vulgar tongue. There is no question that his masterpiece also encouraged further translations, for example, of Virgil’s Aeneid. It appears that Boccaccio also embraced vernacularization with some enthusiasm, certainly reading and perhaps producing some of his own. Yet the fact that he seems to have kept such translation works anonymous and that they circulated less and less even as they became more sophisticated and Boccaccio grew more famous is a sign of a move away from vernacularization under the spell of Petrarch.67 There continued to be volgarizzamenti throughout the Quattrocento, although they tend to be repetitive. Translations made by humanists were more likely to be from Greek to Latin, although Leonardo Bruni, for one, translated Cicero’s oration Pro Marcello, which is often collected together with Bruni’s own vernacular speeches. Old volgarizzamenti from the previous two centuries continued to be copied and, when it became possible, printed. In the second half of the Quattrocento, Cristoforo Landino put Pliny’s Historia naturalis into Florentine, followed shortly by a Neapolitan translation by Giovanni Brancato, and Matteo Maria Boiardo translated Apuleius and Herodotus.68 Once the modern language became consolidated and codified, however, translation was more of an encounter among equals, and no longer had the special hierarchically lower and highly mobile status of volgarizzamento.

67  Dionisotti, “Tradizione classica e volgarizzamenti,” pp. 138–​39.

68  Barbato, Il Libro VIII del Plinio Napoletano di Giovanni Brancati; Carratelli, “Due epistole di Giovanni Brancati su la Naturalis Historia di Plinio e la versione di Cristoforo Landino”; McLaughlin, “Latin and Vernacular from Dante to the Age of Lorenzo.”

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—​—​. “Il volgarizzamento della Prima Catilinaria attribuito a Brunetto Latini: appunti sulle tecniche di traduzione.” In Il ritorno dei Classici nell’Umanesimo. Studi in memoria di Gianvito Resta, edited by G. Albanese, C. Ciociola, M. Cortesi, and C. Villa, pp. 379–​93. Florence: Sismel-​Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2015. Macciocca, Gabriella. “Le Storie de Troia et de Roma e il Liber ystoriarum romanorum.” Studi mediolatini e volgari 46 (2000):  167–​248. McLaughlin, Martin. “Latin and Vernacular from Dante to the Age of Lorenzo (1321-​c.1500).” In Cambridge History of Literary Criticism. Vol. 2: The Middle Ages, edited by Alastair Minnis and Ian Johnson, pp. 612–​25. Maggini, Francesco. I primi volgarizzamenti dai classici latini. Florence: Le Monnier, 1952. Marchesi, Concetto. “II Compendio volgare dell’ Etica aristotelica e le fonti del VI libro del Tresor.” Giornale storico della letteratura italiana 42 (1903): 1–​74. —​—​. “Volgarizzamenti ovidiani nel secolo decimoquarto.” Atene e Roma 11 (1908): 275–​85. Marinoni, Maria Carla. “ ‘Invasit Libye securi fata Catonis.’ Osservazioni su un italiano della Pharsalia.” In Studi vari di lingua e letteratura italiana in onore di Giuseppe Velli, vol. 1, pp. 221–​37. Milan: Istituto Editoriale Universitario—​ Monduzzi, 2000. Meyer, Paul. “De l’expansion de la langue française en Italie pendant le Moyen Âge.” In Atti del congresso internazionale di scienze storiche (Roma, 1–​9 aprile, 1903), IV, Atti della Sezione III: Storia delle letterature, pp. 60–​104. Rome: Accademia dei Lincei, 1904. Milner, Stephen J. “Citing the Balcony: The Politics of Place and Public Address in Trecento Florence.” Italian Studies 55 (2000):  53–​82. —​—​. “Communication, Consensus and Conflict: Rhetorical Precepts, the Ars concionandi, and Social Ordering in Late Medieval Italy.” In The Rhetoric of Cicero in Its Medieval and Early Renaissance Commentary Tradition, edited by Virginia Cox and John O. Ward, pp. 365–​401. Leiden: Brill, 2006. Minervini, Vincenzo. “Sul testo veronese del Libro di Sidrach.” In Estudis de llengua i litteratura catalanes oferts a R. Aramon i Serra en el seu setantè aniversari, vol. 2, pp. 367–​81. Barcelona: Curial, 1980. Monfrin, Jacques. “Humanisme et traductions.” Journal des Savants (1963): 161–​90. —​—​. “Les traducteurs et leur public au moyen âge.” Journal des Savants (1964): 5–​20. Murphy, James J. Rhetoric in the Middle Ages: A History of Rhetorical Theory from St. Augustine to the Renaissance. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974. Origo, Iris. The Merchant of Prato, Francesco di Marco Datini, 1335–​1410. New York: Knopf, 1957. Oser-​Grote, Carolin M., and Willigis Eckermann, eds. Simone Fidati da Cascia OESA: un agostiniano spirituale tra medioevo e umanesimo. Rome: Institutum historicum Augustinianum, 2008. Parodi, Ernesto. “I rifacimenti e le traduzioni italiane dell’Eneide di Virgilio prima del rinascimento.” Studi di filologia romanza 5 (1887): 97–​368. —​—​. “Le storie di Cesare nella letteratura italiana dei primi secoli.” Studj di Filologia Romanza 4 (1889): 237–​501. Perugi, Maurizio. “Chiose gallo-​romanze alle Eroidi. Un manuale per la formazione letteraria del Boccaccio.” Studi di Filologia italiana 47 (1989): 101–​48. Petrucci, Armando. “Reading and Writing Volgare in Medieval Italy.” In A. Petrucci, Writers and Readers in Medieval Italy: Studies in the History of Written Culture, translated by Charles M. Radding, pp. 169–​235. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. —​—​. “Storia e geografia delle culture scritte (dal secolo XI al secolo XVII).” In A.  Petrucci, Letteratura italiana: una storia attraverso la scrittura, pp. 127–​246. Rome: Carocci, 2017. Picone, Michelangelo. “The Formation of Literary Italian: Aspects of Poetic Tradition and Translation in the Thirteenth Century.” The Italianist 16 (1996): 5–​19. Pollidori, Valentino. “La glosa come tecnica di traduzione. Diffusione e tipologia nei volgarizzamenti italiani della Bibbia.” In Leonardi, La Bibbia in italiano, pp. 93–​118. Pomaro, Gabriella. “Ancora, ma non solo, sul volgarizzamento di Valerio Massimo.” Italia medioevale e umanistica 36 (1993):  199–​232. Porta, Giuseppe. “Volgarizzamenti dal latino.” In Il Trecento. Storia della letteratura italiana, edited by Enrico Malato, vol. 2, pp. 581–​600. Rome: Salerno, 1995.

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Psaki, F. Regina, and Gloria Allaire, eds. The Arthur of the Italians: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Italian Literature and Culture. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2014. Punzi, Ariana. “La circolazione della materia troiana nell’Europa del ‘200: da Darete Frigio al Roman de Troie en prose.” Messana 6 (1991): 69–​108. Quaglio, Antonio. “Valerio Massimo e il Filocolo di Giovanni Boccaccio.” Cultura Neolatina 20 (1960): 45–​77. Rinoldi, Paolo, and Gabriella Ronchi, eds. Studi su volgarizzamenti italiani due-​trecenteschi. Rome: Viella, 2005. Robins, William. “The Study of Medieval Italian Textual Cultures.” In Textual Cultures of Medieval Italy, edited by W. Robins, pp. 11–​52. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011. Romello, Laura. “Preliminari all’edizione degli antichi volgarizzamenti italiani del De senectute.” In Filologia romanza e cultura medievale. Studi in onore di Elio Melli, edited by Andrea Fassò, vol. 1, pp. 687–​713. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 1998. Roncaglia, Aurelio. “ ‘De quibusdam provincialibus translatis in lingua nostra.’ ” In Letteratura e Critica: Studi in onore di Natalino Sapegno, edited by Walter Binni, vol. 2, pp. 1–​36. Rome: Bulzoni, 1975. —​—​. “La letteratura franco-​veneta.” In Il Trecento. Storia della letteratura Italiana, edited by E. Cecchi and N. Sapegno, vol. 2, pp. 727–​59. Milan: Garzanti, 1965. Ronchi, Gabriella. “Tresor, Trattato della Sfera, Composizione del Mondo: una serie di derivazioni.” In Miscellanea di studi in onore di Aurelio Roncaglia, vol. 4, pp. 1161–​75. Modena: Mucchi, 1981. Scolari, Antonio. “Un volgarizzamento trecentesco della ‘Rhetorica ad Herennium’: il ‘Trattatello di colori rettorici.’ ” Medioevo Romanzo 9 (1984): 215–​66. Segre, Cesare. “La letteratura franco-​veneta.” In Il Trecento. Storia della letteratura italiana, edited by Enrico Malato, vol. 2, pp. 631–​47. Rome: Salerno, 1995. —​—​. Lingua, stile, e società: Studi sulla storia della prosa italiana. Milan: Feltrinelli, 1963. Staccioli, Giuliano. “Sul ms Hamilton 67 di Berlino e sul volgarizzamento della IV Catilinaria in esso contenuto.” Studi di filologia italiana 42 (1984): 27–​58. Steinberg, Justin. Accounting for Dante: Urban Readers and Writers in Late Medieval Italy. Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 2007. Tanturli, Giuliano. “I Benci copisti. Vicende della cultura fiorentina volgare tra Antonio Pucci e il Ficino.” Studi di filologia italiana 36 (1978): 197–​313. —​—​. “Codici dei Benci e volgarizzamenti dell’‘Eneide’ compendiata, in Per Domenico De Robertis.” In Studi offerti dagli allievi fiorentini, edited by I. Becherucci, S. Giusti, and N. Tonelli, pp. 431–​57. Florence: Le Lettere, 2000. —​—​. “Volgarizzamenti e ricostruzione dell’antico. I casi della terza e quarta Deca di Livio e di Valerio Massimo, la parte del Boccaccio (a proposito di un’attribuzione.” Studi medievali 27 (1986): 811–​88. Tardiola, Giuseppe. “I volgarizzamenti della Navigatio Sancti Brendani.” Rassegna della Letteratura Italiana 90 (1986): 516–​36. Trotta, Stefania. “L’Elegia di madonna Fiammetta di Giovanni Boccaccio e un volgarizzamento delle Epistulae Heroidum di Ovidio attribuito a Filippo Ceffi.” Italia medioevale e umanistica 38 (1995): 217–​61. Usher, Jonathan. “Origins and Duecento: Prose.” In The Cambridge History of Italian Literature, edited by C. P. Brand and Lino Pertile, pp. 31–​33. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Vaccaro, Giulio. “Per una nuova edizione del Vegezio volgarizzato da Bono Giamboni.” In Il ritorno dei Classici nell’Umanesimo. Studi in memoria di Gianvito Resta, edited by G. Albanese, C. Ciociola, M. Cortesi, and C. Villa, pp. 577–​88. Florence: Sismel-​ Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2015. Valerio, Giulia. “La cronologia dei primi volgarizzamenti dell’Eneide e la difffusione della Commedia.” Medioevo Romanzo 10 (1985):  3–​18. Vinciguerra, Gianni. “L’incanto del lotto Saibante-​Hamilton 390: coordinate per un manoscritto.” Critica del testo 7 (2004): 1–​31. Witt, Ronald G. “In the Footsteps of the Ancients”: The Origins of Humanism from Lovato to Bruni. Leiden: Brill, 2000. Zampieri, Adriana. “Una primitiva redazione del volgarizzamento di Valerio Massimo.” Studi sul Boccaccio 10 (1977–​8): 21–​41. Zardin, Danilo. “Mercato librario e letture devote nella svolta del Cinquecento tridentino. Note in margine ad un inventario milanese di libri di monache.” In Stampa, libri e letture a Milano nell’età di Carlo Borromeo, edited by N. Raponi and A. Turchini, pp. 135–​246. Milan: Vita e pensiero, 1992.

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Zarra, Giuseppe. “Il discorso consolatorio: osservazioni sul lessico del volgarizzamento anonimo della Consolatio ad Marciam.” In Discorso e cultura nella lingua e nella letteratura italiana, edited by Elena Pîrvu, pp. 393–​406. Florence: Cesati, 2014. Zarri, Gabriella. Le sante vive. Profezie di corte e devozione femminile tra ‘400 e ‘500. Turin: Rosenberg & Sellier, 1990. Zavattero, Irene. “I volgarizzamenti duecenteschi della Summa Alexandrinorum.” Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie 49 (2012): 333–​59. Zinelli, Fabio. “Ancora un monumento dell’antico aretino e sulla traduzione italiana del Secretum secretorum.” In Per Domenico de Robertis. Studi offerti dagli allievi fiorentini, edited by I. Becherucci, S. Giusti, and N. Tonelli, pp. 509–​61. Florence: Le Lettere, 2000. —​—​. “ ‘Donde noi metremo lo primo in francescho’: I Proverbi tradotti dal francese ed il loro inserimento nelle sillogi bibliche.” In La Bibbia in italiano tra Medioevo e Rinascimento, edited by Lino Leonardi, pp. 145–​99. Florence: SISMEL, 1998.

Alison Cornish is Professor of Italian at New York University, having taught in Romance Languages at the University of Michigan for twenty-​three years, and before that at Yale University. She has been a fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and at the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti. Author of two monographs, Reading Dante’s Stars (2000) and Vernacular Translation in Dante’s Italy: Illiterate Literature (2011), she has written a number of essays on Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and the culture of translation in which they flourished. Her interests are in science and literature, readership, translation, religion, and sound studies. Most recently she has authored a commentary on a new translation of Dante’s Paradiso by Stanley Lombardo, and an essay on Decameron 4.2.

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2  Par. 20.37–​39. All citations from the Commedia follow Petrocchi’s edition; the translations are by Robert and Jean Hollander.

he uses another verb, “transmutare,”7 in various forms when speaking about the impossibility of rendering poetry into another language: “E però sappia ciascuno che nulla cosa per legame musaico armonizzata si può de la sua loquela in altra transmutare sanza rompere tutta sua dolcezza e armonia”8 (Therefore everyone should know that nothing harmonized according to the rules of poetry can be translated from its native tongue into another without destroying all its sweetness and harmony). Dante continues by noting that this is the reason why Homer’s poetry (unlike Greek works in prose) was not translated into Latin, and why the Psalms lack the sweetness of music and harmony precisely because they were translated—​ “furono transmutati”—​ from Hebrew into Greek and then from Greek into Latin: “E questa è la cagione per che Omero non si mutò di greco in latino come l’altre scritture che avemo da loro. E questa è la cagione per che li versi del Salterio sono sanza dolcezza di musica e d’armonia; ché essi furono transmutati d’ebreo in greco e di greco in latino, e ne la prima transmutazione tutta quella dolcezza venne meno.”9 (This is the reason why Homer has not been translated from Greek into Latin as have been other writings we have of theirs. And this is the reason why the verses of the Psalter lack the sweetness of music and harmony; for they were translated from Hebrew into Greek and from Greek into Latin, and in the first translation all their sweetness was lost.) This is, of course, a common complaint about translations: that they have lost the “music” of the original. This shortcoming may also be present in the not

5  Con. II xiv 6.

7  Con. I vii 14–​15.

Although Dante is not renowned primarily as a translator, translation forms a large and important part of his work. From his treatise, De vulgari eloquentia, it is evident that, for his work as a translator, he was conversant in or could read at least four languages—​Italian, Latin, Occitan, and Old French.1 Dante employs the verb tra(n)slatare only twice in the Commedia, both in Paradiso and in its strict etymological sense of movement from one place to another: David’s transferral of the Ark of the Covenant from town to town: “Colui … /​fu il cantor de lo Spirito Santo, /​che l’arca traslatò di villa in villa” (He … /​was the one who sang the praises of the Holy Ghost /​and brought the ark from town to town)2 and the passage of the Pilgrim and Beatrice from one celestial heaven to another: “vidimi translato /​sol con mia donna in più alta salute” (I saw myself translated, alone now with my lady, /​ to a more exalted state of bliss).3 In the Convivio, however, Dante uses derivatives from translatare in the modern sense of “translation”—​ translatori4 and translazione5—​in reference to translations of Aristotle and to an apparently contradictory statement concerning the composition of the galaxy in the Stagirite’s works, an obvious error which Dante attributes to the “translators” and not to the author: “E credo che fosse lo errore de li translatori” (I believe that this is due to an error on the part of the translators).6 Earlier in the Convivio 1  For some reason Dante associates Old French with works in prose, while giving credit to Occitan for excellence in lyric poetry. 3  Par. 14.83–​84. 4  Con. II xiv 7.

6  Con. II xiv 7. The text of the Convivio follows Simonelli’s edition; the translation is by Lansing.

8  Con. I vii 14. 9  Con. I vii 15.

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very mellifluous prose of the Convivio, where Dante proves to be an able, but extremely literal, translator of passages from Holy Scripture.10 Perhaps the serious philosophical nature of the Convivio necessitated an accurate, verbatim version of the sacred text. Moreover, given the very personal nature of that treatise, Dante took pains to justify his decision to write it in Italian and not in Latin. Herein may lie the reason for his comments on the impossibility of translating poetry. However, if Dante translates the Bible very literally in the Convivio, in the Commedia he often presents the biblical text in its original garb, thus maintaining both its integrity and its authority. One term—​volgarizzatore—​never occurs in Dante’s works, and this absence may reflect his negative appraisal of the “vulgarizer” as one of lesser ability who plies a lower trade, rendering works in a more mundane, unimaginative, and utilitarian way for a decidedly less well-​ educated readership.11 A volgarizzatore is not a poet or rhetorician or authority figure, as Dante considered himself. Throughout his career as a writer Dante relied on both the literal and metaphorical process of translation to further his literary goals and to establish his credentials as a voice of authority on a par with those past luminaries whose works form the firm foundation on which he would raise his own formidable edifice. Translation is thus central to his purpose as a writer; it is an interpretive act, one that involves a number of factors and calculations, all of which are aimed at making his various works in Italian and in Latin the best, most comprehensive, innovative, and authoritative. It is helpful to examine Dante’s work as a translator under the following headings, using the taxonomy employed by Massimiliano Chiamenti in his study, Dante Alighieri: traduttore: trasferimento (= the simple act of moving one text [e.g., in Latin] into another [e.g., in Italian] without changes);

traduzione parola-​per-​parola o uno-​a-​uno (= a rendering of a text word by word, maintaining the identical word order);

traduzione letterale o fedele (= a literal and faithful version of a text that attempts to capture its original contextual meaning); traduzione modulate (= a version of a text, in which Dante takes certain grammatical liberties similar to those found in the medieval volgarizzamenti that employed 10  Chiamenti, Dante Alighieri traduttore, p. 25.

11  See Folena, “Volgarizzare e tradurre,” pp. 82–​84.

the techniques of expolitio [saying the same thing with different words] and amplificatio [paraphrasing and expanding upon a text for rhetorical purposes]); traduzione libera (= a rather loose version of a text that contains notable variations and departures from the original text); and traduzione di servizio (= Dante’s rendering of his own Italian text into Latin in another of his works).12

Examples from these categories will demonstrate how the Florentine incorporated crucial elements of other, usually canonical texts into his own, whether through simple verbatim transfer of a source text, through an exact or faithful translation of a given text, or through a significantly modified version of the original text. No matter what the category, Dante always makes sure that the borrowed text conforms to the purpose of his work and serves in some way to guarantee its authority. Through translation Dante assumes the power, prestige, and authority of earlier writers, and furthers his personal quest to attain equal if not greater status. Dante’s verbatim incorporation of a non-​Italian text in his work is translation in its true etymological sense, for the text has been literally moved from one place to another. While undoubtedly giving a certain cachet to Dante’s text, the words in question must be read and understood for the meaning and importance they bring to their new context. At roughly the centre point in the Vita nuova Dante’s beloved Beatrice dies, and while her death is not recorded specifically in the work, the poet evokes the destitute state of the city without her living presence by using the opening words of Lamentations: “Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo! facta est quasi vidua domina gentium” (How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! How is the mistress 12  Most examples of this category are found in the Letter to Can Grande, in which Dante sent the first ten cantos of Paradiso to his protector. In it he provides a guide to the reading of the poem as a whole, glossing certain passages and translating them into Latin, such as the first tercet of canto 1: “La gloria di colui che tutto move /​per l’universo penetra, e risplende /​in una parte più e meno altrove” (The glory of Him who moves all things /​pervades the universe and shines /​in one part more and in another less), which becomes in the Letter: “Dicit ergo quod ‘gloria primi Motoris,’ qui Deus est, ‘in omnibus partibus universi resplendent,’ sed ita ut ‘in aliqua parte magis, et in aliqua minus’ ” (53). (He says, then, that “the glory of the First Mover,” which is God, “shines forth in every part of the universe,” but in such wise that it shines “in one part more and in another less.”) The Latin text follows Brugnoli’s edition, the translation is by Toynbee.

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of the Gentiles become as a widow).13 By using the prophet Jeremiah’s words referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, Dante captures the grief of the desolate city (which he never names), thus implicitly referring to its symbolic value as the Heavenly City and reinforcing the analogy between Beatrice and Christ that he stresses throughout the Vita nuova. By citing the Bible, Dante does not merely translate a text; he also evokes the web of allusions that were present in its original context. Another example is found in Paradiso 18, the Heaven of Jupiter where the souls of the just rulers appear as more than a thousand individual lights in the sky and arrange themselves into letters that spell out the initial words of the Book of Wisdom (Liber Sapientiae Salomonis): “DILIGITE IUSTITIAM /​… /​QUI IUDICATIS TERRAM” (LOVE JUSTICE, YOU THAT ARE THE JUDGES OF THE EARTH).14 Given his situation as an exile from Florence, Dante seeks answers regarding the nature of justice in the world, and the biblical citation provides the proper prescription for temporal rulers. In this canto the breathtaking account of “skywriting” leads to the marvellous transformation of the final M of “TERRAM” (signifying monarchia (monarchy) or mondo (world)), first into a lily (the emblem of Florence), then into an eagle (the Roman empire and the bird of God) whose thousand components speak with one voice and eventually provide answers to the Pilgrim’s questions. One final example is from Purgatorio 2: the ship arrives with the angel at its helm carrying souls, who sing Psalm 113 in unison:15 (“ ‘In exitu Isräel de Aegypto’/​ cantavan tutti insieme ad una voce/​con quanto di quel salmo è poscia scripto” (“In exitu Isräel de Aegypto”/​they sang together with one voice, /​and went on, singing the entire psalm). The movement signified in the “translated” text—​the passage of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt to freedom—​is mirrored in the analogous movement of the souls from the death of their physical body on earth to the first stage (Purgatory) of their otherworldly journey. It also reflects the transfer of the biblical text from one Scripture—​the Old Testament—​to another—​the Commedia, the “poema sacro” (sacred poem).16 In this tercet Dante is careful to note that the souls sing the

13  The text is from Chapter 28 of De Robertis’s edition. Citations from Scripture follow the Vulgate (Biblia sacra juxta vulgatam versionem) and the Douay translation in English. 14  Par. 18.91–​93. 15  Purg. 2.46–​48. 16  Par. 25.1.

Dante and Translation

entire psalm. This additional information guides us in our reading, for we know that we must think in terms of the entire psalm in order to understand fully its importance to the events at hand. This is how we should understand most if not all of the Poet’s textual citations of this sort in the Commedia, which have both an immediate impact and a long-​term effect, guaranteeing that the two texts are in dialogue with each other. Dante uses Psalm 113 also in the Letter to Can Grande to exemplify how biblical texts can be interpreted allegorically according to the four levels of meaning—​literal/​historical, allegorical, moral, and anagogical.17 Furthermore, he uses this verse, in a free Italian translation in Convivio, to exemplify the anagogical sense of Scripture: “… in quel canto del Profeta che dice che, ne l’uscita del popolo d’Israel d’Egitto, Giudea è fatta santa e libera” (… in the song of the Prophet which says that when the people of Israel went out of Egypt, Judea was made whole and free).18 If we adopt a strict interpretation of translation as the movement of a text from one place to another, this first category should include also those auto-​citations that Dante makes when he includes the incipit of one of his poems in the Commedia, as he does on three occasions—​“Amor che ne la mente mi ragiona”;19 “Donne ch’avete intelletto d’amore”;20 and “Voi che ‘ntendendo il terzo ciel movete.”21 The effect of these “translations” is to evoke the earlier poem both in its entirely and in its original context—​the Convivio for the first and third canzone, and the Vita nuova for the second—​and to provide a commentary and/​or correction/​modification from the perspective of the Commedia. These particular occurrences in the Commedia are “palinodic” moments. For exact translations from Latin to Italian in Dante’s texts—​ category 2—​I would offer just a few examples without commentary, noting that the problem with this sort of translation is that the Italian version often has a stilted, unnatural quality. The following is a direct translation from Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae: “tu cuncta superno /​ducis ab exemplo, pulchrum pulcherrimus ipse /​mundum mente gerens.”22 Dante renders this in the Convivio as “Tutte le cose produci da lo superno 17  Dante, Epistola X, 21. 18  Con. II i 6.

19  Purg. 2.111. 20  Purg. 24.51. 21  Par. 8.37.

22  III meter ix 6–​8. The text of the Consolatione follows Stewart and Rand’s edition.

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essemplo, tu, bellissimo, bello mondo ne la mente portante” (You produce all things from the supernal exemplar, you, most beautiful, bearing in your mind the beautiful world).23 He generally gives the source of his citation/​translation. “Sapientiam Dei praecedentem omnia quis investigavit?” (Ecclesiasticus 1:3) becomes in Convivio “La sapienza di Dio, precedente tutte le cose, chi cercava?” (Who has sought out the wisdom of God that goes before all things?).24 In reference to St. Paul as the “chosen vessel,” a short, exact translation of “vas electionis” from Acts 9:15 becomes its Italian equivalent “vas d’elezione”25 in the well-​known passage where the Pilgrim questions his worthiness for the journey and, seemingly lacking this special grace, protests: “io non Enëa, io non Paulo sono” (I am not Aeneas, nor am I Paul).26 For categories 3 and 4—​literal/​faithful and modulated/​ free translation —​a few examples again without commentary. Literal/​faithful translations differ from exact versions in that the results in Italian do not appear to be forced and remain within the original structures and context. For example, in the circle of the heretics when Farinata degli Uberti identifies the Pilgrim as a fellow Florentine by saying “La tua loquela ti fa manifesto” (Your way of speaking makes it clear),27 he translates the words spoken to Peter after his denial of Jesus: “loquela tua manifestum te facit” (thy speech doth discover thee).28 In the Gospel account the servant maid and her companions recognize Peter as a Galilean by his speech and by his accent, which is different from the Judean, and thus the important connection is made between one’s manner of speaking and one’s native city—​a connection which Dante frequently makes. In their original context the words in the gospel denote a double betrayal—​of Christ by Peter who denies him three times and of Peter by his speech. By employing these words, Dante may have intended to create an atmosphere of betrayal and denial, for in the Inferno the sin of heresy is presented precisely in terms of death and denial: as deniers of the immortality of the soul, the immortal souls of the heretics are appropriately and ironically punished in flaming tombs that reflect the finality, the mortality of their own vision.29

A second example is found in Purgatorio 30 when, upon seeing Beatrice for the first time in the poem, the Pilgrim acknowledges his passion for her, saying “conosco i segni de l’antica fiamma” (I know the signs of the ancient flame),30 which translate the words of Dido to her sister Anna in the fourth book of the Aeneid when she senses an amorous passion for Aeneas that she had not felt since her husband Sicheus’s death: “agnosco ueteris uestigia flammae.”31 There are numerous considerations that could be made with regard to these particular verses and their ramifications, but it should suffice here to note simply that the ubiquitous presence of Virgil in the Commedia, both in his role as the Pilgrim’s guide and in his works through citations from his poetry, reaches a climax here, and appropriately so since the pagan poet will quickly vanish from the scene and return to Limbo having fulfilled his mission ordained by Beatrice in the second canto of the Inferno. Modulated/​free translations move further away from the original, using the source for its evocative value and focusing on those linguistic, stylistic, and thematic similarities appropriate to the new context. Here, too, a couple of examples without commentary will suffice. In Purgatorio 15 among the examples of gentleness (the virtue that corrects the sin of wrath on the third terrace) the Pilgrim sees in an ecstatic vision (“in una visïone /​estatica”) the Virgin Mary who finds Jesus in the temple:32

24  Con. III viii 2.

And these verses render the following in the Gospel of Luke:33

23  Con. III ii 17. 25  Inf. 2.28. 26  Inf. 2.32.

27  Inf. 10.25. 28  Matthew 26:73.

29  For further details on these points see Kleinhenz, “Poetics of Citation.”

Ivi mi parve in una visïone estatica di sùbito esser tratto e vedere in un tempio più persone; e una donna, in su l’entrar, con atto dolce di madre dicer: “Figliuol mio, perché hai tu così verso noi fatto? Ecco, dolenti, lo tuo padre e io ti cercavamo.”

(There it seemed to me I was caught up /​in an ecstatic, sudden vision /​in which I saw a temple full of people /​and, at the door, about to enter, a woman, /​with the sweet demeanor of a mother, who said: /​“My son, why have you dealt with us like this? /​Behold, your father and I have searched /​for you in sorrow.”)

30  Purg. 30.48. 31  Aen. 4.23. 32  Purg. 15.85–​92. 33  Luke 2:46, 48.

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Invenerunt illum in templo sedentem in medio doctorum … Et dixit mater eius ad illum fili quid fecisti nobis sic ecce pater tuus et ego dolentes quaerebamus te.

(They found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors … And his mother said to him: “Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.”)

While the words in the two passages are virtually the same, Dante makes his version more personal, more affective by adding the adjectival phrase “with the sweet demeanour of a mother” and the possessive adjective “Figliuol mio” and by omitting “ad illum” (to him). In Inferno 8, the fifth circle of wrath, the two wayfarers are crossing the marsh of the Styx in Phlegyas’s boat, when a soul befouled with mud—​Filippo Argenti—​suddenly rises from the murky depths and challenges the Pilgrim with the intemperate question “Chi se’ tu che vieni anzi ora?” (Who are you that come before your time?), which implies that Dante is so evil that he has descended to Hell while still alive.34 After the Pilgrim’s violent outburst that successfully turns the tables on Filippo, Virgil embraces the Pilgrim and praises him, saying: “Alma sdegnosa, /​benedetta colei che ‘n te s’incinse!” (44–​45: Indignant soul, /​blessed is she that bore you in her womb!), and these words roughly translate those addressed to Jesus in the gospel of Luke—​Beatus venter qui te portavit (11:27: Blessed is the womb that bore thee). Encouraged by these words of high praise, the Pilgrim then expresses his desire to see Filippo punished more severely, and, according to his wise guide, “di tal disïo convien che tu goda” (your wish deserves to be fulfilled).35 Critical opinion on this episode is divided on whether the Pilgrim’s outburst is an example of ira bona (righteous indignation) or ira mala (sinful wrath). In my view, the answer to this conundrum lies in our consideration of the translation from Luke in its larger context, i.e., the rest of the biblical passage, which would suggest Virgil’s praise is wrongly motivated and, consequently, that Dante’s reaction to Filippo Argenti in this canto is equally erroneous. Although not considered by critics, the additional text in Luke is crucial, for there Jesus replies sharply to the woman’s words, saying “Quippini beati qui audiunt verbum Dei et custodiunt” (Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it). In short, Jesus says that the woman’s words of praise 34  Inf. 8.33. 35  Inf. 8.57.

Dante and Translation

are inappropriate and reprimands her for her sentimental effusion, cautioning her regarding the proper response to God’s word.36 Dante would have been aware of the entire passage in Luke, and his translation at this particular point in the poem calls our attention to the need for larger contextual readings.37 With the final category of traduzione libera (free translation), Dante allows himself the privilege of taking certain liberties with his source texts, to mold and adapt them to his needs, and to be inventive, even daring, in his expression and thought. Two passages in Purgatorio 22 demonstrate these particular aspects of Dante’s innovative use of translation and focus on the proper way to read and interpret pagan literature—​morally and allegorically—​by applying Christian hermeneutics to Virgil’s poetry. In this canto the Silver Age Roman poet Statius appears, whose admiration for Virgil is an historical fact, for at the end of the twelfth book of the Thebaid he addresses his work with the verses: “vive, precor; nec tu divinam Aeneida tempta, /​sed longe sequere et vestigia semper adora” (O live, I pray! Nor rival the divine Aeneid, but follow afar and ever venerate its footsteps).38 Indeed, in his poem, Dante has Statius attribute his conversion to Christianity to his discovery of the true meaning concealed in the verses of the Fourth Eclogue—​ “Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo. /​Iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna; /​iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto” (The great line of the centuries begins anew. Now the Virgin returns, the reign of Saturn returns; now a new generation descends from heaven on high)39—​when he says:40 Facesti come quei che va di notte, che porta il lume dietro e sé non giova, ma dopo sé fa le persone dotte, quando dicesti: “Secol si rinova; torna giustizia e primo tempo umano, e progenïe scende da ciel nova.” Per te poeta fui, per te cristiano.

36  Luke 11:28.

37  For a more detailed examination of these points see Kleinhenz, “Dante and the Bible.” 38  Statius, Thebaid 12.816–​17. The text follows Mozley’s edition and translation.

39  Virgil, Fourth Eclogue, 5–​7. The text follows Fairclough’s edition and translation. 40  Purg. 22.67–​73.

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(You [Virgil] were as one who goes by night, carrying /​the light behind him—​it is no help to him, /​but instructs all those who follow—​/​when you said: “The centuries turn new again. /​Justice returns with the first age of man, /​new progeny descends from Heaven.” /​Through you I was a poet, through you a Christian.)

In his inventive recasting of Statius, Dante presents an interpretive paraphrase of Virgil’s text—​“giustizia” for “Virgo” and “primo tempo umano” for “Saturnia regna”—​and fashions Statius’s reading of this passage to conform to the generally accepted allegorical interpretation of the Virgilian verses in the Middle Ages: according to the Providential view of history, the birth of Christ would usher in the new age and justice would be restored. It is this sort of inspired reading and interpretation of pagan texts that occur earlier in the same canto, Purgatorio 22, where Statius describes how his reading and enlightened understanding of specific verses from Virgil’s Aeneid saved him from the sin of prodigality, the opposite of avarice, both punished in the fourth circle of Hell, where, had he not repented, he “would know the rolling weights and dismal jousts” (voltando sentirei le giostre grame):41 E se non fosse ch’ io drizzai mia cura, quand’ io intesi là dove tu chiame, crucciato quasi a l’umana natura: “Perchè non reggi tu, o sacra fame de l’ oro, l’appetito de’ mortali?” voltando sentirei le giostre grame. Allor m’accorsi che troppo aprir l’ali potean le mani a spendere, e pente’mi così di quel come de li altri mali.

(And had I not reformed my inclination /​when I came to understand the lines in which, /​as if enraged at human nature, you cried out: /​“To what end, O cursèd hunger for gold, /​do you not govern the appetite of mortals?” /​I would know the rolling weights and dismal jousts. /​Then I learned that we can spread /​our wings too wide with spending hands, /​and I repented that and other sins.)

In their original context, the verses in question—​“Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, /​auri sacra fames!” (To what do you not drive human hearts, impious hunger for gold?)42—​comment 41  Purg. 22.37–​45. 42  Aen. 3.56–​57.

on Polymnestor’s heinous murder of Polydorus, committed for gold, and express Virgil’s condemnation of the power of avarice. In his free translation of these lines Dante the Poet, while obviously aware of their original meaning, had Statius, who admits to being guilty of prodigality, interpret them as an exhortation to moderation, thus allowing him to repent and achieve salvation. The interpretive modifications Dante brings to Virgil’s text—​the adjective “sacra” understood as either “unholy” or “holy”;43 “Quid” as either “per che” (to what end) or “perché” (why); and “reggi” (guide, govern) for Latin “cogis” (push, drive)—​make it clear that the text in Purgatorio could be read in two ways: either with the original Virgilian meaning—​“To what end, O cursed hunger for gold, do you not govern the appetite of mortals”—​or in Statius’s inspired reading—​“Why do you not govern mortal appetites, O holy hunger for gold?” In this particular instance Dante wants us to understand Virgil’s verses both in and out of their original context, as condemning avarice (“cursed hunger for gold”) and as encouraging a “holy (i.e., moderate) hunger for gold.” This sort of out-​of-​context reading would follow the general practice of Christian exegetes who searched for and found spiritual meaning in pagan writings. This plundering of ancient texts for their “true” meaning is not rendered invalid if the original context is not respected, and, given the sort of exegesis that Statius applies to the Fourth Eclogue (noted above), Statius’s transformative reading of Virgil’s verses would be very much in character. Chiamenti refers to this particular passage as “the most beautiful example of free translation in Dante” (il più bell’esempio di traduzione libera in Dante).44 In addition to Dante’s multifaceted translation practices as seen in the above examples, he may also have lent his hand to a more major undertaking: the rendering of the Roman de la Rose into an Italian sonnet cycle (232 in all) known as the Fiore, the name given it by its first editor, Ferdinand Castets.45 The Rose is an allegorical work, a dream vision, written in the thirteenth century by two Old French poets, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun.46 It enjoyed great popularity as the more than three hundred extant manuscripts attest. Conversely, the Fiore is extant in only one manuscript, 43  There are twelve occurrences of “sacro/​a” in the Commedia. If its meaning here is negative, then this would be the only such occurrence of “sacro” in this sense in Dante’s works. 44  Chiamenti, Dante Alighieri traduttore, p. 134. 45  Il Fiore, poème italien du XIIIe siècle.

46  See pp. 000–​000 of the Introduction to this volume.

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probably composed in France by someone conversant in French, given the large number of Gallicisms, and appears to be unknown until its discovery in the late nineteenth century. In its reconstructed, recomposed, and greatly reduced form of the Rose,47 the Fiore is very different from the generally pedestrian, sentence-​by-​sentence volgarizzamenti, most often in prose, that characterize the Italian versions of Latin and Old French works in the same period.48 Indeed, the Fiore is only about one-​seventh as long as the Rose: 3,248 lines in the Italian sonnets compared to the 21,750 lines of the Old French text. In addition, the Fiore does not distinguish between the two parts of the Rose, as the author removes the story from its original courtly and didactic frames—​Guillaume’s lyrical style and Jean’s encyclopedic and digressive formulations—​and casts it in the style of the Italian comic poets. The most recent editor of the Fiore, Luciano Formisano, notes that the “mixed idealism and realism of the Rose are reduced to ‘pure realism’ in the Fiore,” and this can be seen in the obscene metaphors found in some sonnets.49 By choosing the sonnet form, the author may have intended both to dissociate his work from the French poem and to place it within a distinctively Italian (comic) poetic tradition. In De vulgari eloquentia, Dante relegates the sonnet (and the ballata) to the inferior ranks of poetry.50 However, poems written in this stylistic register co-​ existed with the more conventional courtly lyrics, a literary situation already present in the Sicilian School and in many of the sonnets by Guido Cavalcanti and Dante. While the use in the Fiore of sonnets as narrative units is not completely unprecedented (e.g., the corone or sonnet cycles by Guittone d’Arezzo and the so-​called “Amico di Dante”), their deployment here may be viewed as a conscious literary choice that enabled its author to represent the pivotal points of the Rose in discrete units that can be linked poetically, as necessary, to foster continuities and syntheses. 47  Large portions of the Rose have been omitted in the Fiore, particularly Reason’s discourse on the various forms of love and the role of pleasure in human generation (some 3,000 lines are reduced to two sonnets, 39–​40), as well as the digressions on the fickleness of Fortune, Nature’s extended commentary on cosmological and philosophical matters (another 3,000 lines), and Genius’s sermon. Perhaps the author of the Fiore considered these digressions as examples of amplificatio and unnecessary to the poem. 48  For volgarizzamenti in general, see Cornish, Vernacular Translation. 49  Dante, Il Fiore, xlvi.

50  De vulgari eloquentia II.iii.5–​6.

Dante and Translation

One of the great mysteries of medieval Italian literature is the identity of the author-​protagonist to whom the text twice refers as “ser Durante,” and the vexata quaestio is whether he is Dante Alighieri.51 This question has been debated for over 130 years and is unlikely to be resolved unless some new evidence comes to light. Despite the connections that scholars have made between the Fiore and Dante, this is hardly the sort of translation he practised in his authentic works. Could the Fiore be considered an exercise, a sort of proving ground for a young poet, who was perhaps Dante? One of the most cogent arguments against Dante’s authorship of the Fiore is that neither he nor any of his contemporaries ever mentions it.52 Whoever its author may be, the Fiore, while reflecting to a certain degree the language and style of various late thirteenth-​and early fourteenth-​century poets, apparently had little literary impact in Italy, but stands as a very interesting experiment in medieval literary and cultural translation and adaptation. In conclusion, this chapter on Dante and translation demonstrates that in all of his works he had frequent recourse to texts in other languages, primarily Latin, to support his arguments on a variety of topics, to evoke the larger context of these source texts as a way of commenting on his own work, and ultimately to ensure that his works would also possess a level of authority equal to—​or greater than—​that enjoyed by the illustrious writers of the past and present. Given that Dante’s prominence and prestige have not diminished in the seven centuries since his death, it is evident that he truly understood the purpose and power of translation, for by this process not only did he give new life to earlier works and embellish his own, but he essentially began, in stunning fashion, the Italian literary tradition.

51  Comparisons of language and style have led to the “identification” of no fewer than thirteen possible authors (excluding Dante) of the Fiore: Durante di Giovanni; Dante da Maiano; Brunetto Latini; Rustico Filippi; Lippo Pasci dei Bardi (or “Amico di Dante”); Dante degli Abati; Folgore da San Gimignano; Antonio Pucci; Guido Cavalcanti; Francesco da Barberino; Immanuel Romano; Cecco Angiolieri; and Guillaume Durand. 52  Dante sometimes cites his earlier works in later ones (e.g., the reference to the Vita nova in Convivio and the citations of his three canzoni in the Commedia). Mazzucchi (“A proposito”) has raised the possibility that Cecco Angiolieri knew the Fiore and associated it with Dante.

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Bibliography

Primary Sources Biblia sacra juxta vulgatam versionem. Edited by Robert Weber. 3rd ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1983. Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Edited by H. F. Stewart and E. K. Rand. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968. Dante Alighieri. La Commedia secondo l’antica vulgata. Edited by Giorgio Petrocchi. Società Dantesca Italiana, Edizione Nazionale. Florence: Le Lettere, 1994. —​—​. Convivio. Edited by Maria Simonelli. Bologna: Pàtron, 1966. —​—​. Dante’s “Il Convivio” (“The Banquet”). Translated by Richard H. Lansing. New York: Garland, 1990. —​—​. De vulgari eloquentia. Edited and translated by Steven Botterill. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. —​—​. Epistola X. In Dantis Alagherii, Epistolae. The Letters of Dante. Edited and translated by Paget Toynbee, pp. 160–​211. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966. —​—​. Epistola XIII. Edited by Giorgio Brugnoli in Dante Alighieri, Opere minori, vol. 2, pp. 598–​643. Milan: Ricciardi, 1979. —​—​—​. Il Fiore e il Detto d’Amore. Edited by Luciano Formisano. In Dante Alighieri, Le Opere, vol. 7.1: Opere di dubbia attribuzione e altri documenti danteschi. Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2012. —​—​. The Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso. Translated by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander. New York: Doubleday, 2000, 2003, 2007. —​—​. Vita Nuova. Edited by Domenico De Robertis. Milan: Ricciardi, 1980. Statius, Publius Papinius. Silvae, Thebaid, and Achilleid. Edited and translated by J. H. Mozley. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1961. Virgil. Aeneid. Translated by H. Rushton Fairclough. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967. Secondary Sources Chiamenti, Massimiliano. Dante Alighieri traduttore. Florence: Le Lettere, 1995. Cornish, Alison. Vernacular Translation in Dante’s Italy: Illiterate Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Folena, Gianfranco. “Volgarizzare e tradurre.” In La traduzione: saggi e studi, pp. 59–​120. Trieste: LINT, 1973; repr. separately as Volgarizzare e tradurre. Turin: Einaudi, 1994. Kleinhenz, Christopher. “Dante and the Bible: Intertextual Approaches to the Divine Comedy.” Italica 63 (1986): 225–​36. —​—​. “The Poetics of Citation: Dante’s Divina Commedia and the Bible.” In Italiana 1988. Selected Papers from the Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Conference of the American Association of Teachers of Italian, November 18–​20, 1988, Monterey, CA, edited by Albert N. Mancini, Paolo A. Giordano, and Anthony J. Tamburri. Rosary College Italian Studies 4 (1990): 1–​21. Leemans, Pieter D., and Michèle Goyens. Translation and Authority—​Authorities in Translation. The Medieval Translator. Traduire au Moyen Age 16. Turnhout: Brepols, 2016. Mazzucchi, Andrea. “A proposito dellaconsecuzione R[ose]—​F[iore]—​Angiolieri: Un supplement d’indagine sulladanteità del Fiore.” Studi danteschi 63 (1991): 313. Niccoli, Alessandro. “Trasmutare (Transmutare, Tramutare).” In Enciclopedia dantesca. 2nd ed. 6 vols. Vol. 5, pp. 699–​700. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1984. Singleton, Charles S. “In Exitu Israel de Aegypto.” Seventy-​Eighth Annual Report of the Dante Society (1960): 1–​24. Christopher Kleinhenz is the Carol Mason Kirk Professor Emeritus of Italian at the University of Wisconsin-​Madison. Among his numerous publications are: The Early Italian Sonnet; Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia; Approaches to the Teaching of Petrarch’s “Canzoniere” and the Petrarchan Tradition (2014); and Dante intertestuale e interdisciplinare: saggi sulla “Commedia.” He has served as President of the American Association of Teachers of Italian, the American Boccaccio Association and the Medieval Association of the Midwest, and as Editor of Dante Studies.

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11 CHAUCER AND TRANSLATION MARILYN CORRIE

Throughout his life, Chaucer was exposed to material written in languages other than English. He was probably introduced to works in Latin during his schooling (about which we can only make speculations, since no records pertaining to it survive), and it is clear that he extended his knowledge of material in Latin over the course of his lifetime. He is likely to have become familiar with courtly poetry in French, as well as other literature in the same language, when he served in the entourages of members of the English royal family, including the king’s: some of the men who composed such poetry, for example the Savoyard knight Oton de Granson, were attached to the courts of members of the English royal family likewise. Chaucer probably came to know further writings in French when he visited French-​speaking territories on the European continent, as he did repeatedly during his adult life, often to conduct the king’s business there. In the 1370s, two voyages that Chaucer made to Italy on behalf of the king (Edward III, then Richard II) brought him into contact with Italian literature—​or more of this than Chaucer may have come to know through the dealings that he had with the Italian merchant community in London. At various different points during his life, Chaucer translated into English works that he had read in other languages. Probably when he was still a young, or youngish, man, he translated Le Roman de la rose into English from French; one of the fragments of English translations of the work that survive to us—​a fragment known as “Fragment A,” which contains an anglicized version of the first few hundred lines of the opening section of the poem by Guillaume de Lorris—​is thought by most scholars to have been produced by Chaucer. Later in his life, probably in 1380, or a little later, Chaucer translated into English Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae, which had been written, in Latin, early in the sixth century, and translated into French by Jean de Meun,

the continuator of Guillaume de Lorris’s Le Roman de la rose, early in the fourteenth century (Chaucer translated from both the Latin and the French versions of the text, as will be discussed further below). Several of the tales in The Canterbury Tales are translations into English of texts in Latin (the Second Nun’s tale is formed of translations of sections of two different Latin versions of St. Cecilia’s life), or of texts in French (The Tale of Melibee is a translation of Le Livre de Melibée et de Dame Prudence (The Book of Melibee and Dame Prudence) written earlier in the fourteenth century by Renaud de Louens, and itself a translation of a treatise in Latin by Alberto of Brescia, the Liber consolationis et consilii (The Book of Consolation and Advice). Like Chaucer’s English version of Boethius’s Consolatio, the Boece, the Clerk’s tale in The Canterbury Tales is a translation of a text that existed in both Latin and French versions, and anglicizes details from both of these—​the Latin contained in one of Petrarch’s Epistolae seniles (XVII.3, which itself translates one of the tales in Boccaccio’s Italian Decameron), the French a translation of Petrarch’s account known as Le Livre Griseldis (The Book of Griseldis). Chaucer seems also to have produced translations that have not survived to us. In the revised version of the Prologue to Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women (known as the “G-​Prologue”), Alceste, consort of the God of Love, says that the narrator has translated “Of the Wreched Engendrynge of Mankynde,/​As man may in Pope Innocent yfynde” (lines 414–​15; Of the Wretched Conception of Mankind, as one can find in Pope Innocent).1 She is claiming for the narrator—​who has also, she says, translated “ ‘Boece” ’ (Boethius)—​a translation of Pope Innocent III’s De miseria conditionis humanae (On 1  All quotations from Chaucer’s writings are taken from The Riverside Chaucer, gen. ed. Benson.

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the Misery of the Human Condition). No English translation of this text, as a whole, however, is extant. Chaucer did not translate only when he produced translations of complete texts. Several of his works incorporate translations of snatches or sections of texts that had been written in other languages. Chaucer’s early “dream vision” poems—​The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls—​pick details from French courtly poetry that Chaucer renders in English. In The Book of the Duchess (written some time between 1368 and 1372), for example, Chaucer translated passages from different poems that Guillaume de Machaut had composed earlier in the fourteenth century. When Chaucer had his “man in blak,” an avatar of the bereaved John of Gaunt, say of Fortune’s “false whel” (false wheel) that “hyt ys nothyng stable—​/​Now by the fire, now at table” (lines 644–​46; it is not at all stable—​ now by the fire, now at the table), and go on to complain that Fortune “… ys pley of enchauntement,/​That semeth oon and ys not soo” (lines 648–​49; is a trick of enchantment, which seems one thing and is not so), he was translating (loosely) details of what Guillaume had had his knight say with reference to the lady who had jilted him in Le Jugement dou roy de Behaingne (The Judgement of the King of Bohemia) (lines 1068–​80):    … il me samble Qu’une chose qui se part et assamble En pluseurs lieus, …    Et n’est estable, … Puis ci, puis la, or au feu, a la table, Et puis ailleurs, c’est chose moult doubtable, …: C’est droitement li gieus d’enchantement, Que ce qu’on cuide avoir certeinnement,    On ne l’a mie.2

(It seems to me that something that spreads itself between several different places, … and is not stable, … one minute here, then there, now at the fire, at the table, and then elsewhere, is a very troubling thing …: it is truly the game of enchantment that one does not have at all what one thinks one has for sure.) 2  Quotations are taken from Machaut, Œuvres For modern English translations of texts from which Chaucer translated in his dream vision poems, see Chaucer’s Dream Poetry, transl. Windeatt.

When, later in The Book of the Duchess, Chaucer had his “man in blak” ponder why he served Love from the earliest age—​“Paraunter I was therto most able,/​As a whit wal or a table,/​For hit ys redy to cacche and take/​Al that men wil theryn make,/​Whethir so men wil portreye or peynte” (lines 779–​83; Perhaps I was most able to do that, like a white wall or a table, for it is ready to receive and take everything that people want to put on it, whether men want to portray or paint)—​he was putting into the mouth of the figure an anglicized version of lines that were part of another (even longer) poem by Guillaume, the Remede de Fortune (Remedy against Fortune). In these lines Guillaume had written about the true state of innocence—​“le droit estat d’innocence”—​ which, he said, “Ressamble proprement la table/​Blanche, polie, qui est able/​A recevoir, sans nul contraire,/​Ce qu’on y vuet peindre et pourtraire” (lines 26–​30; Fully resembles the white, polished table, which is able to receive without any resistance whatever one wants to paint and portray on it). In his later Troilus and Criseyde (probably written some time between 1382 and 1386), Chaucer incorporated many passages translated from the Italian work that supplied him as well with most of the plot of Troilus: the Filostrato of Boccaccio, also written earlier in the fourteenth century. Sometimes Chaucer rendered whole stanzas of the Filostrato in English. In an attempt to cheer his distraught friend up after Troiolo has heard the Trojans agree to give Criseida to the Greeks in exchange for the captured Trojan warrior Antenor, Boccaccio’s Pandaro had said the following to Troiolo (4.48): Ed oltre a ciò, questa città si vede piena di belle donne e graziose, e, se ‘l ben ch’io ti vo’ merita fede, nulla ce n’è, quai vuoi le più vezzose, ch’a grado non le sia aver mercede di te, se tu per lei in amorose pene entrerai; però se noi perdemo costei, molte altre ne ritroveremo.3

3  Boccaccio’s Filostrato is printed in parallel with Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde in “Troilus and Criseyde”: “The Book of Troilus,” ed. Windeatt. This edition also prints the sonnet by Petrarch and the section of Boccaccio’s Teseida that were used by Chaucer in Troilus. I quote from the editions of the Filostrato by Vittore Branca and the Teseida delle nozze di Emilia by Alberto Limentani in Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio, gen. ed. Branca, vol. 2 (these editions are also the sources of Windeatt’s text of the Filostrato and the passage that he quotes from the Teseida respectively). I give parts and stanza

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(And, in addition to this [Pandaro’s argument that Troiolo should console himself because, unlike Pandaro himself, Troiolo has obtained the love of the woman with whom he was in love: Criseida], this city can be seen to be full of beautiful and charming ladies, and, if the good that I wish you is worthy of faith, there is none of those, even the sweetest you might wish for, who would not be happy to have mercy on you, if you entered into the pains of love for her; and so if we lose this one, we shall find many others.)

Chaucer, similarly, had his Pandarus say to Troilus (4.400–​6): And over al this, as thow wel woost thiselve, This town is ful of ladys al aboute; And, to my doom, fairer than swiche twelve As evere she was, shal I fynde in som route —​ Yee, on or two, withouten any doute. Forthi be glad, myn owen deere brother! If she be lost we shal recovere an other.

(And in addition to all this, as you well know yourself, this town is full of ladies, all around; and I shall find in some company somebody fairer, in my opinion, than twelve such women—​yes, one or two of them, without any doubt. And so be happy, my own dear brother! If she is lost, we shall get somebody else.)

Elsewhere, however, Chaucer incorporated minute details from the Filostrato in stanzas that were otherwise his own. Boccaccio had said that one result of Criseida’s distress after she learned that she was to be handed over to the Greeks was that “‘ntorno agli occhi un purpureo giro/​dava vero segnal del suo martiro” (4.100; around her eyes a purple ring was a true sign of her martyrdom); Chaucer wrote, turning what Boccaccio had said into the present tense, and so actualizing Crisyede’s suffering, “Aboute hire eyen two a purpre ryng/​ Bytrent, in sothfast tokenyng of hire peyne” (4.869–​ 70; A purple ring encircles her two eyes, as a true sign of her pain). In the Filostrato, Boccaccio had said that when, shocked at the change in Troiolo’s appearance following Criseida’s departure numbers for quotations from the Filostrato, and book and stanza numbers for quotations from the Teseida. For an English translation of the Filostrato, as well as of sections of the Teseida, see Chaucer’s Boccaccio, trans. Havely. Windeatt’s introduction to his edition discusses Troilus as a translation; see also his essay “Chaucer and the Filostrato,” and his Oxford Guide to Chaucer on Troilus and Criseyde.

Chaucer and Translation

from Troy, Troiolo’s brothers asked him what news he had received, Troiolo told them all that he felt heart troubles (“Alli quai tutti diceva ch’al core/​si sentia noie”; 7.22). Chaucer, carrying over the ambiguity in the Italian—​ are the heart problems from which Troiolo/​Troilus is suffering physiological or emotional?—​ wrote that if anybody asked Troilus what was causing him pain, “He seyde his harm was al aboute his herte” (5.1225). Sometimes, in translating details that he took from the Filostrato, Chaucer responded to, and developed, the metaphors that they expressed. Chaucer’s final line in the very first stanza of Troilus, in which he terms what he is embarking on writing “Thise woful vers, that wepen as I write” (1.7; These woeful verses, which weep as I write), extends Boccaccio’s personification of his lines in the Filostrato when he referred to them as “mio verso lagrimoso” (1.6; my tearful verse). It was not only the Filostrato that Chaucer mined for details of his Troilus. For the first song that Troilus sings in the text, in Book 1 (lines 400–​20), Chaucer translated a sonnet by Petrarch (number 132 in his Canzoniere), modifying its details and expanding its fourteen lines to twenty-​one. Famously, the ending of the English Troilus’s story, in which, having been killed by “the fierse Achille” (the fierce Achilles) in battle, Troilus’s “lighte goost” ascends to “the holughnesse of the eighthe spere” (the concavity of the eighth sphere), looks down on the “litel spot of erthe” in which he has suffered such pain, and laughs at the grief of those who are weeping for his death, translates the passage in Boccaccio’s Teseida in which “l’anima leve” (the light spirit) that here belongs to the Theban knight Arcita flies toward “la concavità del cielo ottava,” sees “il poco/​globo terreno” (the little earthly globe), and laughs to himself when he thinks of the Greeks’ lamentation for him (Arcita has been a prisoner in Athens): “e seco rise de’ pianti dolenti/​della turba lernea” (11.1–​3; and he laughed to himself at the painful cries of the Lernean [that is, Greek] mob). Alighting on the fact that Boccaccio’s characters—​Troiolo in particular—​ repeatedly ascribe what is happening, or has happened, to them to Fortune, goddess of the pagan world in which the Trojans and Greeks lived, Chaucer connected Troiolo’s beliefs with those of the Boethian prisoner figure (the narrator of Boethius’s Consolatio, a projection of the imprisoned Boethius himself) that Chaucer had already expressed in English in his Boece. In Book 4 of Troilus, in particular, Chaucer put into Troilus’s mouth the problems with reconciling the fact of God’s foreknowledge with the existence of free will to which the Boethian prisoner figure had confessed in the third prosa (prose section) in Book 5 of the Consolatio.

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Within Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer represents his text as a translation, of what one “Lollius” wrote (thus suggesting that it is a translation of a text in Latin). Scholars often write of Troilus as if it is a translation also—​of Boccaccio’s Filostrato, with translations of parts of other texts integrated into it. But Troilus is a reworking of the Filostrato, and, as such, belongs more comfortably amongst what Chaucer elsewhere calls his “enditynges” (compositions), a class of writings that he distinguishes from translations.4 This is not to say, however, that, if Chaucer’s “enditynges” are not themselves translations, translation, as a practice, does not play an important part in their contents. “Endityng” equally can play an important part in Chaucer’s translations. In the Clerk’s tale, Chaucer slips lines of his own devising into his rendering of his Latin and French source texts. These show especially his interpretation or his development of the characters whose story his source texts related. When the Clerk’s tale says that Walter, the marquis of Saluzzo, departed from his wife, Griselda, “with drery contenance” (4:671; with a sad face) after he had told her that he was going to take their son from her (as he had previously taken their daughter), the tale is translating the phrase “turbato vultu” (line 257; with a troubled face) in its Latin source. The line that Chaucer wrote following this, however—​“But to his herte it was ful greet pleasance” (4:672; But to his heart it was very pleasing indeed)—​is not in either the Latin or the French sources of the tale.5 In this line, Chaucer intimates that he regarded Walter as somebody approximating to what we would call a sadist. In the cases of his anglicizations of Le Roman de la rose and Boethius’s Consolatio (as a complete text), there can 4  Compare the Retraction that concludes The Canterbury Tales, in which Chaucer writes of his “translacions and enditynges of worldly vanitees,” all of which he revokes. See also Windeatt, “Geoffrey Chaucer,” which argues that in some of Chaucer’s writing, the distinction between “translacions and enditynges” is barely sustainable (p. 143).

5  On the literary relationships of the Clerk’s tale, see Severs’s entry on the tale in Sources and Analogues, ed. Bryan and Dempster, pp. 288–​ 331. Severs printed Petrarch’s Latin and its French translation in parallel; I  quote from the slightly modified reprinted versions of these texts (with accompanying English translations) in Thomas J. Farrell and Amy W. Goodwin, “The Clerk’s Tale,” in the updated Sources and Analogues, ed. Correale and Hamel, vol. 1, pp. 101–​67. A useful outline of the relationship of the Clerk’s tale to its sources can also be found in Cooper, The Canterbury Tales, pp. 188–​91. Line references for quotations from the Clerk’s tale indicate the “fragment” of The Canterbury Tales to which the tale belongs, and the numbers of the lines within the fragment.

be no doubt that Chaucer translated because he wanted to make available in English works that were popular in other languages, and that had stimulated discussion amongst people who had been able to read them in those languages. Boethius’s Consolatio had been subjected to Latin commentaries, notably one by the fourteenth-​century English Dominican friar Nicholas Trevet, which Chaucer knew and incorporated into his English translation; in doing so, and working into his English version of the text both Boethius’s Latin and Jean de Meun’s translation of it into French, Chaucer produced a text of the Consolatio that was a more comprehensive version than any that existed already in other languages. In integrating translations of snatches of texts in other languages into his “enditynges,”Chaucer expressed the continuity of his work with texts that influenced it, in the case of Boccaccio’s Filostrato very considerably. Perhaps the French courtly poetry that Chaucer dips into and out of in his dream vision poems was so ingrained in his mind that he integrated snatches of it into his own compositions without always realizing the boundary between his own poetic inventions and ones that had been, originally, other people’s. But Chaucer’s incorporation of translated passages into Troilus, in particular, serves to accentuate the differences between his work and the one on which it draws the most heavily, Boccaccio’s Filostrato. Directing the story that Boccaccio had told to the philosophical issues that Chaucer raises in his work, and reconceiving, and humanizing, the individuals who had played roles in Boccaccio’s text (Boccaccio’s Pandaro, most notably, who is Criseida’s cousin in the Filostrato, becomes Chaucer’s Criseyde’s uncle, and is given more than a whiff of loucheness by Chaucer in the process), Chaucer gives his work a scope on the one hand, and resonances on the other, that might be thought to make it surpass the Filostrato as a literary endeavour. Translation in Troilus, in other words, is not an uncomplicated expression of deference: it betrays a competition, one that Chaucer implicitly knows that he has won. The closeness of Chaucer’s translations in Troilus to the contents of the Filostrato shows that he was, without doubt, translating from a written copy of the text, as he was when he produced his translations of the complete texts that he rendered in English. The haziness of Chaucer’s translations from French courtly poetry in his dream vision poems (compare the examples of Chaucer’s translation from Machaut’s poetry in The Book of the Duchess quoted above) may, on the other hand, result from his memorization of that poetry rather than any use of a manuscript, or manuscripts, containing it. Sometimes Chaucer rendered the material that

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he translated (by one means or the other) into the same form as had been its vehicle in the “source” language. If we accept that “Fragment A” of The Romaunt of the Rose (as the three fragments of Middle English translations of Le Roman de la rose are collectively known) was written by Chaucer, then he translated Guillaume de Lorris’s French octosyllabic rhyming couplets into English couplets with the same number of syllables. Jean de Meun’s French translation of Boethius’s Consolatio was in prose, in contrast to the mixture of prose and verse in which Boethius had written the Latin original of the text; Chaucer wrote his Boece in prose (throughout). Both the Latin and the French sources of the Clerk’s tale in The Canterbury Tales were in prose; but these—​perhaps because he felt that a poetic treatment was suited to the subject matter of the tale, perhaps because he wanted to test (and demonstrate) his poetic capabilities—​ Chaucer translated into verse, specifically rhyme royal stanzas (stanzas that rhyme ababbcc, the vehicle also for Troilus, different from the ottava rima—​stanzas rhyming abababcc—​in which Boccaccio had written most of the Filostrato, and also the Teseida). Translation offered Chaucer the opportunity to show his ability as a writer. Yet for all Chaucer’s status as one of the greatest writers in the English language, there can be no doubt that his translation of material into that language caused him many problems. For one thing, he translated material that dealt with subject matter that had not been discussed in the English language before—​or at least in any form of English that Chaucer could read. Boethius’s Consolatio had been translated into Old English in the ninth century, but when Chaucer came to translate it again, he had to solve the problems of how to express such concepts as foreknowledge, for example, for himself (Old English was no longer comprehensible to people in the fourteenth century—​and there is no evidence that Chaucer knew of the Old English translation of the Consolatio anyway). In his French translation, Jean de Meun had expressed Latin prescientia (foreknowledge) as “(la) prescience,” and Chaucer carried over Jean’s word in the Boece.6 Where Jean, at nearly the very end of his translation,

6  The texts of Boethius’s Latin and Jean de Meun’s French are printed in parallel in Sources of the “Boece.” Quotations from and line references for each text are taken from this edition. Chaucer’s processing of his sources in his Boece is discussed in Machan’s Techniques of Translation; calques in Chaucer’s text (see below) are discussed at pp. 14ff. On vocabulary that Chaucer introduced to English, and vocabulary that he did not, in fact, see also Cannon, The Making of Chaucer’s English.

Chaucer and Translation

had written “necessité n’est pas es chosez par la prescience divine” (5, prosa 6, line 172; necessity does not reside in things by reason of divine foreknowledge), Chaucer wrote “necessite nis nat in thinges by the devyne prescience” (lines 287–​88), reversing the order of the noun and the adjective in Jean’s French to produce the word order conventional in English. But Chaucer also sometimes expressed the concept of “la prescience” via a calque: foreknowynge (as in 5, prosa 6, lines 269–​71: “he [God] ne entrechaungith nat … the stoundes of foreknowynge” (he does not alternate the times of foreknowledge), that is, God’s knowledge of what is going to happen is constant, not varying according to changes in people’s exertion of their free will). Chaucer’s solutions to the difficulties he faced here enabled him to expand the resources of the English language as well as to develop resources that were already inherent in it. Not all of the words that Chaucer carried over from Jean’s French expressed philosophical concepts. In his translation of what had been Boethius’s third metrum (versified passage) in Book 4 of the Consolatio, Jean had written “Eurus, li vent d’oriant, arriva les vailez Ulixez, duc de Narice” (line 1; Eurus, the east wind, drove to the shore the sails of Ulysses, duke of Neritos [that is, Ithaca]). Chaucer translated this as “Eurus, the wynd, aryved the sayles of Ulixes, duc of the cuntre of Narice” (lines 1–​2). Chaucer retained Jean’s arriva (compare French [la] rive, shore) with substitution only of English -​ed for the French past tense ending. Thus he introduced a new, transitive usage of the verb aryve to English—​a usage that must have made Chaucer’s English seem as strange as his introduction of the word prescience did. Chaucer’s practice in translating here expresses deference to Jean’s language, but also, it would seem, a desire to make his English as poetic as Jean had made his French in his translation of the metrum. Chaucer’s comparison of different versions of some of the texts that he translated revealed to him discrepancies between those versions. In narratives such as the Clerk’s tale he chose between the alternative versions with which he was presented. In the Boece he worked to incorporate both versions of his source material, even if the discrepancies between them did not affect the meaning of the text in any substantial way. In the third metrum of Book 4, for example, Boethius had written that Circe, preparing to metamorphose Ulysses’s companions into beasts, “Miscet hospitibus novis/​ Tacta carmine pocula” (lines 6–​7; Mixes for her new guests drinks touched with a spell). In his translation, Jean had said that Circe “melle a ses nouviaus hostes [bevragez] fez

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par enchantements” (lines 3–​4; mixes for her new guests drinks made through enchantments). Chaucer wrote (preserving the present tense in both texts) that she “medleth to hir newe gestes drynkes that ben touchid and makid with enchauntementz” (mixes for her new guests drinks that are touched and made with enchantments), translating both Boethius’s tacta and Jean’s fez (“touchid,” “makid”) respectively. In the same metrum, Boethius had apostrophized the hand with which Circe had mixed the drinks that she gave to her guests: “O levem nimium manum” (O too light hand). Jean had felt the need to replace what Boethius had said with an explanation of what had made him characterize Circe’s hand as “too light”: “O certes, je di que ceste main de ceste deesse est trop vilz et trop foible” (Oh indeed, I say that this hand of this goddess is too hateful and too weak). In the Boece, Chaucer translated Boethius’s Latin as “O overlyght hand!” and he then explained for his readers what this meant in terms that resonate with what Jean had said, without quite replicating this: “As who seith: O feble and light is the hand of Circes the enchaunteresse, that chaungith the bodyes of folk into beestes, to regard and to comparysoun of mutacioun that is makid by vices!” (As someone who says: O feeble and light is the hand of Circe the enchantress, which changes the bodies of people into beasts, with regard to and comparison with mutation that is made by vices!). Chaucer was in fact here incorporating what he had read Trevet say about Boethius’s apostrophe in his commentary. “O levem,” Trevet had written, comparat mutacionem hominum secundum mores ad istam corporalem mutacionem ostendens illam que est secundum mores peiorem esse quia per illam transmutatur homo secundum mentem que est melior corpore; in alia uero remansit mens transmutato corpore. Unde dicit “O” admiratiue; “manum” scilicet Circes dico; “nimium levem” id est imbecillem scilicet in comparacione ad transformacionem que fit per uicia.7 (“O levem” compares the mutation of men by dint of their morals to that bodily change, showing the one that is by dint of their morals to be worse, because through that a man is metamorphosed with regard to his mind, which is superior to the body; in the other it is the case that the mind remains even when the body

7  The previously unpublished edition of Trevet’s commentary by E. T. Silk is available online at http://​campuspress.yale.edu/​trevet/​. I have slightly modified the punctuation in Silk’s text in my quotation.

has been transformed. This is why he [Boethius] says “O” admiringly; “manum”—​that is to say, I say this is Circe’s; “nimium levem”—​that is feeble, that is to say in comparison with the transformation that is effected through vices.)

Chaucer decided to distil the sense of this segment of Trevet’s commentary without deferring (mercifully) to each and every one of its words. Translation into verse was even more difficult for Chaucer, as he had been made aware in what was probably his first extended attempt at translation into English, his anglicization of Le Roman de la rose. Guillaume de Lorris had been able to rhyme adverbs with present participles, since the particles with which these two parts of speech ended contained similar vowel sounds. He could write, for example, “Lors m’iere avis en mon dormant/​Qu’il iere matin durement” (lines 87–​ 88; Then it seemed to me as I slept that morning was well established).8 Fragment A of The Romaunt of the Rose renders this couplet as “Me thought a-​nyght in my sleping,/​Right in my bed, ful redily,/​That it was by the morowe erly” (lines 92–​94; It seemed to me as I slept at night, there in my bed, indeed, that it was early in the morning). In the translation the French adverb durement has been replaced by an English adverb, erly, that ends as most adverbs do in English: in –​ly. But this choice of adverb changes the meaning of what the French says. Chaucer (if it was he) also inserted a line (“Right in my bed, ful redily”) that has no equivalent in the French, in order to provide a rhyme for erly. In the process the verse has been padded out with phrases that distract from the progress of the narrative, rather than contributing to it. Many verbs in Old French took the same ending in the future tense in the first-​person singular as they did in the past tense—​ as is still the case in modern French. Guillaume, telling his readers about the images that he saw painted on the wall that he came to in his dream—​the wall that surrounds the Garden of Love—​had thus been able to write “Les ymages et les pointures/​dou mur volentiers remirai;/​si vos conterai et dirai/​de ces ymages la semblance” (lines 134–​37; I gazed willingly at the images and the paintings on the wall, and I shall tell and say to you what those images looked like). In Fragment A of the Romaunt, these lines have been translated as “And bothe the ymages and the peyntures/​Gan I biholde

8  Quotations are from Le Roman de la rose, ed. Lecoy. For a helpful discussion of differences between Le Roman de la rose and “Fragment A” of the English Romaunt of the Rose, see Eckhardt, “The Art of Translation.”

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bysyly,/​And I wole telle you redyly/​Of thilk ymages the semblaunce” (lines 142–​45; And I began to look at both the images and the paintings attentively, and I will gladly tell you what those same images looked like). Having put the adverb bysyly at the end of the line, where Guillaume’s verb remirai had been, Chaucer completed his rhyme by using (again) the adverb redyly, transferring the willingness with which Guillaume says he had looked at the wall in his dream (“volentiers remirai”) to the narrator’s act of reporting what he saw (“I wole telle you redyly”). Placing the adverbs at the ends of the lines puts emphasis on the ways in which the narrator looked and will tell, rather than on the looking and the telling themselves. In translating these lines, therefore, Chaucer drove another wedge between the sense of what he was translating, and that of his translation. Translating a poem from octosyllabic rhyming couplets into octosyllabic rhyming couplets was bad enough. Translating ottava rima into rhyme royal stanzas, as Chaucer did in Troilus, was no doubt worse. But when he came to translate French balades—​poems containing three stanzas, all of them using the same ababbccb rhyme scheme and ending with the same line—​Chaucer’s problems were multiplied further. This exercise in translation is one that Chaucer attempted in The Complaint of Venus (of uncertain date, but probably written late in Chaucer’s life), which translates five balades by Oton de Granson into three English balades, to which Chaucer added an envoi that does not have a parallel in the poems that he was translating. Faced with words that were not easily translated into English, as he had been so many times before, Chaucer sometimes—​once again—​transplanted those words into his English. Granson had begun one of his balades with the line “Certes, Amours, c’est chouse convenable” (Truly, Love, it is an appropriate thing).9 Chaucer rendered this line, at the beginning of his second balade in The Complaint of Venus, as “Now certis, Love, hit is right covenable” (line 25; Now indeed, Love, it is very appropriate), tinkering with what Granson had said to give both the number of syllables and the prosodic effect that Chaucer desired. Translating some of the lines that Granson had rhymed with his line, however, confronted Chaucer with more difficulties. At the beginning 9  This is poem 27 in Granson, Poésies; quotations from Granson’s works are taken from this edition. The relationship of Chaucer’s poem to Granson’s balades is explored in Scattergood, “Chaucer’s Complaint of Venus,” Phillips, “The Complaint of Venus” and Renevey, “Grandson in the World.”

Chaucer and Translation

of the second stanza of his balade, Granson had written “Jalousie est la mere du Dyable” (Jealousy is the mother of the Devil). Carrying over “Dyable” was probably a step too far even for Chaucer’s heavily Frenchified English in The Complaint of Venus (as in so many of his other works), and so he replaced Granson’s line with “Jelosie be hanged by a cable!” (line 33)—​perhaps not the most accomplished line that Chaucer ever wrote. Some of the changes that Chaucer made to what Granson had written may not have been obliged by the difficulties that Chaucer encountered as a translator. In particular, he changed the male speaker whose feelings Granson had expressed in his balades into a female speaker. But when Chaucer in the envoi to The Complaint of Venus lamented the paucity of words available for rhymes in English—​this had made following “word by word” Granson’s “curiosite,” his intricate poetic art, a “gret penaunce” for him (as his advanced age had caused him problems with the “subtilte” (subtlety) of “endityng”)–​—​he was probably not being disingenuous: … elde, that in my spirit dulleth me, Hath of endyting al the subtilte Wel nygh bereft out of my remembraunce, And eke to me it ys a gret penaunce, Syth rym in Englissh hath such skarsete, To folowe word by word the curiosite Of Graunson, flour of hem that make in Fraunce. (Age, that dulls me in my spirit, has very nearly taken away from my memory all the subtlety of composing poetry, and it is also a great penance to me, since there is such scarcity of rhyme in English, to follow word by word the intricate poetic art of Granson, flower of those who compose poetry in France.)

No essay on “Chaucer and Translation” would be complete without mentioning the balade by Eustache Deschamps, another of Chaucer’s poet-​contemporaries, in which, in the often-​cited refrain with which each stanza of the poem ends, Deschamps hails the “Poete hault” (Exalted poet) who is Chaucer: “Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier (Great translator, noble Geoffrey Chaucer).”10 Chaucer was not exclusively a great translator—​his writing does not always depend on translation—​but translation is vital to his œuvre. As a 10  I quote from the edition of Deschamps’s balade (poem CCLXXXV) in Œuvres complètes. Deschamps’s characterization of Chaucer is discussed in, for example, Olson, “Geoffrey Chaucer.”

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translator, Chaucer might indeed be thought “great” because of his commitment to the art of translation throughout his life, and because of the distinction of the work that he produced through translating. Chaucer was a great translator as well, however, because the nature of the material that he translated, and the forms that he translated it into, forced him to overcome difficulties of manifold kinds every

time that he translated. The greatest problems that he faced, perhaps, were when he translated his source material into verse. Deschamps’s praise of Chaucer as a “great translator” complements his encomium of Chaucer as an “exalted poet.” As Deschamps, a poet himself, recognized, it was precisely as an “exalted poet” that Chaucer earned his honorific of “great translator” (and vice versa).

Bibliography Primary Sources Boccaccio, Giovanni. Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio. General editor Vittore Branca. 10 vols. Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori, 1964–​98. Chaucer’s Boccaccio: Sources for “Troilus” and the Knight’s and Franklin’s Tales —​Translations from the “Filostrato,” “Teseida” and “Filocolo.” Translated by N. R. Havely. Chaucer Studies 5. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1980. Chaucer’s Dream Poetry: Sources and Analogues. Translated by B. A. Windeatt. Chaucer Studies 7. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1982. Deschamps, Eustache. Œuvres complètes. Edited by le Marquis de Queux de Saint-​Hilaire and Gaston Raynaud. SATF. 11 vols. Paris:  Firmin-​Didot, 1878–​1903. Lorris, Guillaume de, and Meun, Jean de. Le Roman de la rose. Edited by Félix Lecoy. Les Classiques français du moyen âge 92, 95, and 98. 3 vols. Paris: Honoré Champion, 1965–​70. Machaut, Guillaume de. Œuvres. Edited by Ernest Hœpffner. SATF. 3 vols. Paris: Firmin-​Didot, 1908–​21. Oton de Granson. Poésies. Edited by Joan Grenier-​Winther. Les Classiques français du moyen âge 162. Paris:  Honoré Champion, 2010. The Riverside Chaucer. General editor Larry D. Benson. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. Sources and Analogues of “The Canterbury Tales.” Edited by Robert M. Correale and Mary Hamel. 2 vols. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2002–​5. Sources and Analogues of Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” Edited by W. F. Bryan and Germaine Dempster. New York: Humanities Press, 1941. Sources of the “Boece.” Edited by Tim William Machan, with the assistance of A. J. Minnis. The Chaucer Library. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2005. Trevet, Nicholas. Expositio fratris Nicolai Trevethi Anglici ordinis praedicatorvm svper Boetio De consolatione. Edited by E. T. Silk. http://​campuspress.yale.edu/​trevet/​. “Troilus and Criseyde”: “The Book of Troilus” by Geoffrey Chaucer. Edited by B. A. Windeatt. London: Longman, 1984. Secondary Sources Cannon, Christopher. The Making of Chaucer’s English: A Study of Words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Cooper, Helen. The Canterbury Tales. Oxford Guides to Chaucer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. 2nd ed., 1996. Eckhardt, Caroline D. “The Art of Translation in The Romaunt of the Rose.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 6 (1984): 41–​63. Ellis, Roger. “Translation.” In A Companion to Chaucer, edited by Peter Brown, pp. 443–​58. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. Machan, Tim William. “Chaucer as Translator.” In The Medieval Translator: The Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages, edited by Roger Ellis, assisted by Jocelyn Price, Stephen Medcalf, and Peter Meredith, pp. 55–​67. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1989. —​—​. Techniques of Translation: Chaucer’s “Boece.” Norman: Pilgrim Books, 1985. Olson, Glending. “Geoffrey Chaucer.” In The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature, edited by David Wallace, pp. 566–​ 88. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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Phillips, Helen. “The Complaint of Venus: Chaucer and de Graunson.” In The Medieval Translator 4, edited by Roger Ellis and Ruth Evans, pp. 86–​103. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1994. Renevey, Denis. “Grandson in the World: from the Pays de Vaud to Edward III’s Court.” In The Medieval Translator/​Traduire au Moyen Age 14: “Booldly bot meekly”: Essays on the Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages in Honour of Roger Ellis, edited by Catherine Batt and René Tixier, pp. 363–​77. Turnhout: Brepols, 2018. Scattergood, John. “Chaucer’s Complaint of Venus and the ‘Curiosite’ of Graunson.” Essays in Criticism 44 (1994): 171–​89. Windeatt, Barry. “Chaucer and the Filostrato.” In Chaucer and the Italian Trecento, edited by Piero Boitani, pp. 163–​83. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. —​—​. “Geoffrey Chaucer.” In The Oxford History of Literary Translation in English. Vol. 1: To 1550, edited by Roger Ellis, pp. 137–​48. Oxford: Oxford University Press. —​—​. Troilus and Criseyde. Oxford Guides to Chaucer. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992. Marilyn Corrie teaches in the Department of English Language and Literature at University College London, but she writes about medieval literature not just in English, but in other languages, especially French, as well. She has published articles and essays about English manuscripts, the history of the English language, Old French literature, and later Middle English literature, and has edited A Concise Companion to Middle English Literature. Her current major project is a book about magic in medieval literature.

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12 ALCHEMY AND TRANSLATION EOIN BENTICK

The history of alchemy is a history of translations. Born in the crucible of Greco-​ Roman Egypt, alchemy was primarily an amalgamation of Egyptian metallurgical practices and Greek philosophy with certain Judaic influences. Many of alchemy’s origin myths concern the translation of alchemical secrets from foreign and ancient gods to mankind. The secret of alchemy was a powerful truth that could never be fully translated. In the first seven centuries of the Christian era, alchemy was largely retained in the Greek language. With the birth and expansion of the Islamic Empire in the seventh and eighth centuries, alchemical knowledge, together with a truly remarkable number of Greek scientific and philosophical texts, was translated into Arabic. Alongside the works of Aristotle, Galen, and Hippocrates, alchemy received great attention by some of greatest Arabic philosophers. In the twelfth century this Arabic-​influenced alchemy entered into the Latin West through programs of translation, such as that of the prolific translation school at Toledo. It was not until the fifteenth century that the secrets of alchemy were translated into the vernacular tongues in large numbers. At each stage of this history, alchemy was not only translated but also transmuted. Each time it was carried across from language to language, even from alchemist to alchemist, it became something different from what it had been before. Alchemy was concerned with making things look like something else. Greco-​ Egyptian alchemists manufactured alloys, purified metals and gems, created dyes and gilded base metals. Compared with the philosophical questioning and linguistic obscurity that came to define later iterations of alchemy, the earliest extant witnesses of alchemical writing provide a clear idea of what exactly alchemists were doing. The Leiden and Stockholm papyri, composed in third-​century Egypt, contain 255 Greek recipes for how to make certain dyes, how to make imitation precious stones, and how to make metals look like gold and silver. Although the nature of

some ingredients was hidden behind jargon that is difficult to comprehend, these recipes are relatively straightforward and largely replicable:  “Ασήμον ποιήσεις Κασσιτέρου ∠ιβ’, υδραργύρου ∠δ’, γῆς Χείας ∠β’· χενεύσας τον κασσίτερον ἐπέμβαλε τὴν γῆν τετριμμένην, εἶτα τὴν υδράργυρον, καὶ κείνει σειτήρω καὶ χρῶ.”1 (Manufacture of Asem. Tin, 12 drachmas; mercury, 4 drachmas; earth of Chios, 2 drachmas. To the melted tin, add the crushed earth, then the mercury, stir with an iron, and put (the product) in use.)2 “Asem” is a term that is used throughout the papyri to denote something that resembles either gold or, as in this case, silver. “Earth of Chios,” as explained by Galen,3 was a particular astringent native to the Greek island of Chios. This would have produced a tin-​mercury amalgam, which is a shiny substance that looks like silver. Although laced with a certain degree of jargon, the Leiden and Stockholm papyri bear witness to the very practical and unobscured origins of alchemy. The myths surrounding the origin of alchemy usually involve some form of translation. In one story, the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus, who in fact had nothing to do with alchemy, was thought to have learnt the secrets of alchemy from a Persian magus called Ostanes.4 Other myths concerning the source of alchemical secrets suggested that the art was more divine. The Greek god Hermes, identified with the character Hermes Trismegistus, was sometimes understood to be the father of alchemy. The proximity between his name and the Greek word for “translate” or “interpret” (ἑρμηνεύω, hermēneúō) was seldom lost on alchemical 1  Leemans, Papyri graeci musei antiquarii publici lugduni-​ batavi, vol. 2, pp. 205–​7. 2  Caley, “Leyden Papyrus,” p. 1152.

3  Galen, The Alphabet of Galen, p. 242.

4  Martelli, The “Four Books” of Pseudo-​Democritus, pp. 2–​3.

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commentators.5 In another alchemical origin myth, found in the third-​century text, Ισις προφητις τω υιω αυτης (Isis the Prophetess to Her Son),6 the Egyptian goddess, Isis, writes in Greek to her son, Horus, telling him how she received the secrets of alchemy from a Judaic angel, Amnaël. This mélange of mythological characters typifies the multicultural society of third-​century Alexandria in which the traditions of alchemy grew. The Greek language is used to describe how an Egyptian goddess received alchemical wisdom from a Judaic angel. In the text, Isis tells Horus how she had exchanged sexual intercourse with the angel for powerful alchemical secrets. This concept of humans receiving arcane knowledge from fallen angels is heavily influenced by the apocryphal Book of Enoch, in which the angel Azaz’el teaches mankind manual crafts in return for sexual favours.7 Whilst Isis’s message to her son does not explicitly deal with the concept of translation from an angelic to a human language, it does suggest that alchemy was a secret that had been transferred from divine beings to mankind. The knowledge of alchemy was given to mankind by a powerful yet fallen race. A prolific and influential alchemist, Zosimos of Panopolis (ca. early fourth century) epitomizes the religious, literary, and highly philosophical approach to alchemy, and instigates the bizarre tradition of alchemical allegory. In Ζωσιμου του θειου περι αρετης (The Divine Zosimos on Virtue),8 Zosimos speaks of meeting a sacrificial priest at a cup-​shaped altar. As his eyes become like blood, the priest vomits up all his flesh. Zosimos also meets a copper man holding a lead tablet who turns to gold. When Zosimos has finished his narration of the vision, he interprets it, speaking of metallic transmutation and of a specific alchemical process involving copper, salt, and sulphur. He translates this abstract vision into alchemical teachings, interpreting the symbolic language of his vision in the language of physical alchemy. In another text, Περι ὀργάνων καὶ καμίνων γνήσια ὑπομνήματα περὶ τοῦ Ω στοιχεῖου (Apparatuses and Furnaces:  Authentic Commentaries on the Letter Omega),9 Zosimos explores the concept of a material and an immaterial language. According to Zosimos, bad alchemists, who often fail in their experiments, can only hear the language of matter with their material understanding 5  Zosimos, Zosimos of Panopolis on the Letter Omega, pp. 26–​27.

6  Berthelot, Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs, vol. 2, pp. 28–​33.

7  1 Enoch 8:1–​9:6 in Isaac, “Ethiopic Apocalypse of Enoch,” pp. 16–​17.

8  Berthelot, Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs, vol. 2, pp. 107–​13. 9  Berthelot, Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs, vol. 2, pp. 228–​35.

(“σωματικὰς ἒχοντες μόνον ἀκοὰς τῆς”) whereas he who has spiritual understanding (“ἒχουσιν ὰκοὰς νοεράς”) can hear the divine language and can therefore perform alchemy properly.10 Good alchemists can understand the divine language; bad alchemists cannot. Bad alchemists do not comprehend that the physical world speaks anything other than a material language. In this way, as he reveals alchemical truths to his readers, he translates the immaterial language of the mind into a language that they can understand. This was a role often taken up by alchemical authors: they acted as interpreters, translating the overlooked significations of the physical world to their readers. Alchemy was translated from Greek into Arabic during the great translation movement that took place in the eighth and ninth centuries under the Abbāsid caliphate. The Greco-​ Arabic translation movement was a huge cross-​cultural phenomenon, funded by and undertaken by all aspects of Abbāsid society. Patrons and translators came from a wide variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds, each with his own motivation. The Islamic conquests of the sixth and seventh centuries drew together cultures and intellectual communities that had previously been separated, from Egypt and North Africa, through the Arab Peninsula, Persia, and the Levant, all the way to India. The breakdown of borders allowed for such intellectual communities to engage with one another more freely than before. The newly founded city of Baghdad was also a beacon of intellectual life and a multicultural melting-​ pot. When the Abbāsids moved the seat of Islamic power from Damascus to Baghdad, they removed themselves from the cultural influence of the Byzantines, who had rejected secular Greek learning.11 Alchemy enters the Arabic language as just one of a large number of philosophical and scientific disciplines that was carried over from Greek in the great translation movement that followed. One of the most popular myths surrounding the transference of alchemy from Greek to Arabic survives in Masā’il Khālid li-​Maryānus al-​Rāhib (Khālid’s Questions to the Monk Morienus):  a powerful Umayyad prince, Khālid ibn Yazīd, receives alchemical secrets from the Greek hermit, Morienus, a story that has nothing to do with any interest in alchemy on the part of a historical Khālid—​it is unlikely that alchemical translation took place from Greek into Arabic before 10  Berthelot, Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs, vol. 2, pp. 232–​33; translation by Howard Jackson in Zosimos of Panopolis, p. 37. 11  Gutas, Greek Thought, Arabic Culture, pp. 2–​19.

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the Abbāsid caliphate. Rather, the projection of alchemical translation onto the Umayyads associates alchemical knowledge with the great territorial expansion that took place under the caliphate, linking alchemy with worldly power. Alchemy is seen to have been transferred from a previously great culture to a currently great culture, and the Morienus myth suggests that Arabic alchemists picked up where the Greeks left off and used the benefits of alchemy for cultural expansion. Apart from a few translations of Zosimos’s works, no surviving Arabic versions of extant Greek alchemical texts have been found. This is surprising when the tenth-​century bibliographer, al-​Nadīm, lists over sixty Greek alchemical texts in his Kitāb al-​Fihrist (Book of the Catalogue).12 The Fihrist promises to enumerate all the books available in Baghdad’s bookshops and libraries. Whether or not the texts that al-​ Nadīm lists had been translated into Arabic is unknown. Wholesale translations of Greek texts were far less popular than original alchemical compositions. It was more likely for an Arabic alchemist to encounter the words and theories of a Greek alchemical authority mediated through the writings of Arabic alchemists. The authority of the Greek alchemists was never questioned and yet, as technology, culture, and religion changed, so too did alchemy. In this way, the explicit statements of ancient authorities had to be reinterpreted and reimagined as metaphors. Rather than directly translate Greek texts, Arabic alchemists selected quotations that aligned with their conception of alchemy and provided extended explanatory commentaries. The alchemy that was translated into Arabic was the complicated philosophical alchemy that Zosimos explored. It was an alchemy that promised the ability to transform the material world, but still focused on the transmutation of metals. Two alchemists who would come to define the Islamic age of alchemy were Jābir ibn Hayyān and Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-​Rāzī. Jābir has over 3,000 texts attributed to him in the Fihrist and al-​Rāzī, nineteen. These two exemplify the different ways in which alchemy was translated into Arabic. Like Zosimos, Jābir makes use of obscure alchemical language and incorporates alchemy into all aspects of philosophy. He focuses on the philosophers’ stone or the al-​iksīr (elixir), which has the ability to transmute metals. He develops the sulphur-​mercury theory, positing that all metals are made up of a balance of the two substances. His theory of “balances”

extends to all things: stones, plants, animals, music, grammar, etc.13 He believed that all things in their perfect state were balanced; the alchemist’s role was to manipulate and restore the balance of things. Conversely, al-​Rāzī’s alchemy is refreshingly practical. Writing just under a century later than Jābir, al-​Rāzī incorporates some of the earlier alchemist’s theories, but his texts contain comparatively little of Jābir’s obscurity and philosophical speculation. The style of al-​Rāzī’s writings is more akin to the recipes of the Leiden and Stockholm papyri than to the writings of Zosimos. His major influence in the history of alchemy was to associate the world of alchemy with the world of medicine. Whilst metaphors for healing metals had abounded in alchemy since Greek times, signifying metallic purification or transmutation (from the idea that gold was the true and healthy state of all metals), al-​Rāzī saw that alchemical distillation methods could allow for the extraction of medicinal properties from substances. In this way, the alchemist became the healer of the natural world. Alchemical works were translated from Arabic into Latin in the twelfth century, largely in Toledo which was the site of a major program of translation. This was indeed a program of translation rather than the translation movement that was seen in the ninth-​and tenth-​century Islamic world. Whereas the Islamic translation movement was a cross-​cultural phenomenon, the Toledo school of translators was localized and governed by individuals with specific religious and political motives. When Toledo, which had been under Islamic rule, fell into the hands of Christian Castilians in 1085, the city became remarkably liberal and tolerant. The coexistence of Jews, Arabs, and Christians under the rule of the open-​ minded Castilians, led to a community that fostered dialogue between cultures and across languages. Reminiscent of the newly founded and diverse city of ninth-​century Baghdad, twelfth-​ century Toledo was a recently Christianized cauldron of cultures. Under the auspices of the Benedictine monk, Raymond de Sauvetât, who was the archbishop of Toledo and the chancellor of Castile in the mid-​twelfth century, the Toledo school of translators was formed. At each stage in the translation of alchemical knowledge from Greek through Arabic into Latin the need for secrecy was emphasized. Zosimos tells his reader not to reveal the secrets that he has shared to anyone, lest the reader should thereby destroy himself, “[η] γὰ� ρ σιωπὴ� διδά� σκει τὴ� ν ἀ� ρετή� ν”

12  Al-​Nadīm, “The Arabic Literature on Alchemy,” pp. 91–​95.

13  Jābir, Names, Natures and Things, p. 167.

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(for silence teaches virtue).14 In the first alchemical text to be translated from Arabic into Latin, Khālid’s Questions to the Monk Morienus, Morienus tells Prince Khālid that the ancients told their secrets in symbols )“‫ )”با لرموز‬in order to keep away fools (“‫عنها‬ ‫)”وحاولوا دفع السفهاء‬. He says that they signalled to men of learning ‫( وأشاروا ألھل العلم والفھم‬whilst confounding the ignorant).”15 The Latin translation of the Morienus text takes this idea a step further. The author describes the “malicia stultorum” (the evil intentions of fools),16 which necessitates the keeping of alchemical secrets from the unlearned. The Latin tradition of alchemy accentuates the separation between wise alchemists who are in the know and ignorant fools who must be kept from alchemy’s powerful secrets. In particular, Pseudo-​Arnold of Villanova revels in the fact that he is speaking only to a select elite: “Enim dicam ut fatuos derideam, sapientes doceam […] Ideo Deo supplico ut det mihi intellectum et viam ut celem stultis et fatuis et declarem sapientibus.”17 (I shall speak to laugh at the foolish and to teach the wise […] I ask God to grant me the wit and the way to hide [the secret] from the stupid and foolish whilst declaring it to the wise.) The secrets of alchemy are protected behind a wall of difficult language. Difficult alchemical language manifests itself in Decknamen (common words that stand for technical words, e.g., sol, the Latin for sun, which refers to gold), in knotty philosophical explorations, and simply in being foreign or unknown. Pseudo-​Arnold goes on to define exactly who the fools are who cannot access the secrets of alchemy: “Nullus ergo ad hanc scientiam veniat nisi primo audiverit logicam, postea philosophiam, et sciat causas et naturas rerum.”18 (No one can come to this knowledge unless he has first read logic, then philosophy, and he knows the causes and the natures of things.) According to Pseudo-​Arnold, the foolish are those who have not had a formal university education. Everything that Pseudo-​ Arnold mentions, “logic,” “philosophy,” and “the causes and the natures of things” are topics that would have been covered in an early fourteenth-​century university. Logic was part of the trivium, philosophy was a by-​word for the 14  Berthelot, Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs, vol. 2, p. 112. My translation of Berthelot’s French rendition, vol. 3, p. 121.

15  Al-​Hassan, “The Arabic Original of Liber de compositione alchemiae,” p. 228; translation p. 229. 16  Stavenhagen, A Testament of Alchemy, p. 12; translation, p. 13.

17  Pseudo-​Arnold, “Le De secretis naturae du pseudo-​ Arnold de Villeneuve,” pp. 178–​80. 18  Pseudo-​Arnold, “Le De secretis naturae du pseudo-​ Arnold de Villeneuve,” pp. 178.

seven liberal arts (the trivium and quadrivium combined), and “the causes and natures of things” referred to the fundamental principles of natural philosophy. In this way, the secrets of alchemy are being kept from those who have not had a formal Latin education. The Latin translator of Khālid’s Questions to the Monk Morienus, Robert of Chester, inserted a section into the text in which he translates complicated Decknamen and strange Arabic words for the reader: Incipit expositio specierum secundum dicta Morieni. Dixit Morienus quod corpus immundum apud philosophos dicitur plumbum, i.e. terra, quod interpretatur ascop. Corpus vero mundum est stannum, quod interpretatur aborec. Leo viridis est vitrum et almagra est laton, quamvis in precedentibus terra rubea nominetur. Et sanguis est auripigmentum, et terra fetida est sulfur fetidum. Eudica est omnium horum secretum, quod nominatur morhuma, i.e. feces vitri, licet eius immundita.19

(Now here is an explanation of the various substances according to Morienus, who said that the philosophers referred to the impure body as lead [i.e., earth, which is what ascop means]. The purified body is tin [which is what aborec means]. The green lion is glass and almagra is latten, although it may have been called red earth earlier. And blood is orpiment, and foul earth is foul sulfur. Eudica is the secret of all these things and is called glaze, or the dregs or impurity of glass.)

Khālid’s Questions to the Monk Morienus sees someone without alchemical knowledge (Prince Khālid) asking someone with alchemical knowledge (Morienus) to explain alchemy to him. It is not only Khālid who needs difficult alchemical minutiae explained to him, but the reader too. This dialogic form is common in alchemical literature. Very often the interlocutor asks questions that the reader yearns to ask. A reader does not want to be one of Pseudo-​Arnold’s “fools,” and yet it is more than likely that such a reader does not understand the complicated language of what he or she is reading. Alchemical information needs mediation and translation. The bizarre language of alchemy needs to be interpreted by each generation of alchemists. However, the call for secrecy contradicts this necessity. If someone is clever enough, he or she will be able to understand the truths behind the difficult language without mediation. People like Robert of Chester, who kindly 19  Stavenhagen, A Testament of Alchemy, p. 44; translation, p. 45.

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let their readers know what they think “foul earth” signifies, are just as helpful as Pseudo-​Arnold with his taunting of the uneducated. The fact that alchemists told their readers that if they were clever enough, they could find the truths behind the obscurity, meant that generations of alchemists imposed their own meanings onto alchemy’s fluid vocabulary. Alchemy’s transition to the vernacular languages is not simple. As one would expect, it was not the case that there was a certain point in time when alchemy abruptly moved into the vernacular languages. There were many different reasons and methods for translating many different versions of alchemy into many vernacular languages. The first vernacular languages to encounter alchemy were the Iberian languages. This is no surprise considering the location of most of the translation from Arabic in the twelfth century. Romance languages were used as an intermediary step between the translating of Arabic and Hebraic texts into Latin during the translation process at Toledo.20 However, these intermediary vernacular translations of Arabic alchemy do not have a long life. Whilst this process of translation has been recorded, manuscripts that would bear witness to this process have not survived. It is not until the early fourteenth century that the first lengthy alchemical treatise is written in a vernacular language. The Testamentum of Pseudo-​Ramon Lull was written in Catalan in 1332, although it circulated widely in Latin. Michela Pereira argues that the Testamentum was written first in Latin and then translated into Catalan.21 Whilst the evidence for the primacy of either language is inconclusive, an alchemical text was certainly circulating in Catalan in the fourteenth century. Copying the style of Ramon Lull, the Testamentum makes use of complex diagrams and interweaves literary images with philosophical pronouncements. One literary image that Pseudo-​Lull uses in order to explain his conception of alchemy and alchemists is that of the anthropomorphized figure of Nature lamenting. Right at the beginning of the treatise, Pseudo-​Lull speaks of how Nature is sad that mankind has corrupted her and revealed her secrets: Mandatum habemus de magisterio nature, quia ipsa manifeste nobis apparuit plorans, lamentans atque clamans: “Proth dolor, quia mea instrumenta me volunt tolli atque mea secreta vie volunt decelare ac illa que formavi per preceptum mei magistri, morti

20  Burnett, “The Coherence of the Arabic-​Latin Translation Program,” p. 252.

21  Pereira, “Alchemy and the Use of Vernacular Languages,” pp. 344–​45.

Alchemy and Translation

me tradere volunt!” […] Et ob hoc, cum ipsa requisivit, in mandatum suscepimus, quod sua instrumenta habemus secretare et custodire a manibus inimicorum suorum.22

(We have been given the mandate by the authority of Nature, who appeared openly to us crying, lamenting, and shouting: “Oh, the pain! They want to take away my tools, to unveil my secrets, and those whom I have created through the order of my master want to give me over to death!” […] Therefore, as she has asked, we have taken up her commandment. We will hide her tools and guard them from the hands of her enemies.)

According to Pseudo-​Lull, Nature has been ravaged by the hands of fools who wish to reveal her secrets to the masses. To alchemists, the secrets of Nature are the secrets of alchemy. It is therefore the alchemist’s job to help this lamenting Nature, not only to keep her secrets from those who are unworthy, but also to recreate her operations, for example that of perfecting metals in the bowels of the earth until they become gold. There is a long literary tradition of a lamenting Nature. From Bernardus Silvestris’s Cosmographia (Cosmography) through Alain de Lille’s De planctu naturae (Plaint of Nature) to Jean de Meun’s Roman de la rose (Romance of the Rose), Nature has been presented weeping. The reason for Nature’s lament changes with each author but it is always associated with a lack of creation. In the Cosmographia, Nature laments because the universe has not been created yet. In De planctu, Nature laments because mankind is not having sex properly. She is sad because men are having sex with men and putting things in the wrong place; activities that do not lead to procreation. Jean de Meun takes up the image of Nature’s lament in the fourteenth century. In his extension of Guillaume de Lorris’s Roman de la rose, Jean de Meun has his anthropomorphized Nature complain that mankind is not procreating enough. As well as focusing on homosexual relationships, Jean de Meun’s Nature condemns asexual relationships, calling instead for mankind to create. In the lines leading up to Nature’s lament in the Roman de la rose, Jean de Meun speaks at length about alchemy. Written in Old French, this is the first mention of alchemy in a vernacular language, pre-​dating Pseudo-​Lull’s Testamentum by around sixty years. Jean de Meun’s depiction of alchemy is largely positive. After an impressive Jābirian description of 22  Pseudo-​Lull, Il testamentum alchemico attribuito a Raimondo Lullo, p. 5.

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how the metals are all of the same matter, he explicitly states that alchemy is legitimate and “[un] art veritable” (a true art).23 Soon after this alchemical digression, Nature begins her lament over the fact that mankind is not creating properly. Pseudo-​Ramon Lull and many other alchemists like him took inspiration from Jean de Meun’s alchemical digression in the Roman de la rose. He saw Nature’s lament as analogous to the alchemists’ call to make Nature better through human intervention. In both instances, mankind is asked to be more creative. Pseudo-​Lull believed that alchemists were making the world better by bringing metals to their perfected form in the shape of gold, as well as creating medicines that improved the health of individuals. Jean de Meun’s alchemical digression in the Roman de la rose was not only a catalyst for alchemical intrigue amongst those who were not steeped in alchemical literature; it also provided an important image for one of the most influential alchemists in the vernacular, Pseudo-​Ramon Lull. Other mentions of alchemy in non-​alchemical vernacular texts, for example, by Ramon Lull in Fèlix o llibre de meravelles (Felix, or the Book of Wonders) (ca. 1289);24 by the anonymous author of the Livro del cavallero Cifar (Book of the Knight of Zifar) (ca. 1300);25 by Dante in Canto 29 of the Inferno (1320);26 by Petrarch in the De remediis utriusque fortunae (Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul) (ca. 1366);27 by William Langland in Piers Plowman (ca. 1380);28 and by Chaucer in “The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale” (ca. 1390)29—​are all scathing about alchemical deceit. However, it was through these popular texts that the ideas of alchemy were translated most readily into the vernacular languages. There were some more positive mentions of alchemy—​for example in John Gower’s Confessio amantis (The Lover’s Confession) (1390)—​but the majority of vernacular readers, who were neither alchemical adepts nor steeped in philosophical Latin literature, read that alchemy was a dangerous system of knowledge that led to pennilessness and self-​deception. Yet the vernacular authors mentioned above translated the words of alchemists into their denigrations of alchemy, just as Jean de Meun had 23  Jean de Meun, Le Roman de la rose, vol. 2, p. 238, line 16054. 24  Lull, Selected Works of Ramon Llull, pp. 776–​79.

25  Nelson, The Book of the Knight Zifar, pp. 268–​72. 26  Dante, Commedia—​Inferno, pp. 325–​33.

27  Petrarch, I remedi per l’una e l’altra sorte, vol. 2, pp. 820–​25. 28  Langland, The Vision of Piers Plowman, p. 151.

29  Chaucer, “The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale,” pp. 270–​81.

translated paraphrases of alchemical knowledge into the Roman de la rose. Chaucer, for example, cites Arnold of Villanova, uses precise alchemical terminology, and quotes the Arabic authority “Senior” whilst all the while presenting alchemists as fools. This was tantalizing for non-​alchemical readers. Some readers of “The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale” even believed that Chaucer’s denigration of alchemists was in fact a veiled revelation of the most potent alchemical secrets. Elias Ashmole, the seventeenth-​century antiquarian, was not alone in believing that Chaucer was “a Judicious Philosopher, and one that fully knew the Mistery” of alchemy;30 a number of alchemical recipes can be found that bear Chaucer’s name.31 A similar fate befell the Roman de la rose. There exist extensions of the poem’s alchemical digression in verse, as well as prose recipes that claim to have been written by Jean de Meun.32 As information about alchemy was translated into the vernacular, it was ostensibly presented as something useless. However, the concept of utmost secrecy which had accompanied alchemy from the mouth of Isis, through Morienus, even to Chaucer’s Canon, allowed for readers to believe that all they needed to do was to understand things metaphorically and then the secrets would be revealed. Vernacular alchemical literature exploded in the fifteenth century, for example in the Italian alchemical poems attributed to Dante and Frate Elia, the first general of the Franciscan Order; in Occitan literature which in another Franciscan context was associated with the Catalan alchemy of the fourteenth century; and in Czech, Dutch, and German literature, the last of which helped to propagate the translation of alchemical concepts from word to image.33 The focus of this chapter will now shift, however, to two poems from England and France that display a fascination with alchemy in translation: Jean de la Fontaine’s La fontaine des amoureux de science (The Fountain of Lovers of Knowledge) (1413) and Thomas Norton’s Ordinal of Alchemy (1477). Both poems investigate the incongruities behind the fact that alchemy was meant to be a powerful secret guarded by the intellectual elite and yet they both translate these secrets from Latin, the 30  Ashmole, Theatrum chemicum britannicum, p. 470. 31  Dunleavy, “The Chaucer Ascription,” p. 2.

32  Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, MS 2972, ff. 475v–​477v; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1451, f. 38v.

33  Pereira, “Alchemy and the Use of Vernacular Languages,” pp. 339–​43; Kahn, “Survey,” pp. 254–​58.

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language of the intellectual elite, into the vernacular, the language of fools. La fontaine des amoureux de science is an allegorical dream-​vision poem about how to find the philosophers’ stone. Influenced by the Roman de la rose and poets like Guillaume de Machaut, the poem concerns a narrator who encounters figures such as Reason, Knowledge, and Nature at a beautiful fountain. After the poet asks about what the specifics of his dreamscape signify, for example the seven streams issuing from the fountain, Reason gives him a complicated answer. She tells him that within the fountain there is a beautiful thing and that whoever knows what that thing is, loves it. She then goes on to explain that if one finds this thing then one has a virgin with plentiful breasts, ascending into the air only to descend again giving birth to a dragon with three throats. This section lasts for over forty lines. Unsurprisingly, the narrator is none the wiser about alchemical transmutation. At this point, Nature appears in order to show herself to the narrator. She is astonished that he cannot speak Latin, and finds it difficult to believe that he has been allowed into the garden of Nature without being a clerk: “Car c’estoit un lieu moult sauvage,/​Et pour les non clercz moult umbrage.”34 (Because it was a very wild place and very murky for non-​clerks.) To be a clerk meant to have had a formal Latin education. The French-​speaking narrator defends his position to Nature by evoking his wise teacher: “Qui preschoit en commun langage,/​Ainsi que font maint hommes sage.”35 (Who taught in the common language as many wise men do.) He argues that knowledge is the gift of God, that clerks often fail in their studies, and that carpenters, masons, and poets can study and create just as well as lawyers, theologians, and physicians. Jean de la Fontaine argues that the secrets of alchemy belong with makers and not with thinkers. The French language is worthy of alchemical secrets because it is not the language of fools, but rather of people who create beautiful things. Knowledge, according to Jean de la Fontaine, does not only belong to those who have Latin, but to all. Knowledge comes from Nature, not from Latin learning. Over half a century later and across the channel, Thomas Norton presents a very different conception of alchemy and translation. By the time Norton’s Ordinal was written, there was already a burgeoning culture of vernacular alchemical poetry in England. As well as the anonymous verse that can

be found in fifteenth-​century manuscripts like British Library, MS Harley 2407, George Ripley had written his popular Compound of Alchemy in 1471. However, whilst these texts are fascinating in their own right, the Ordinal of Alchemy does something very strange regarding the translation of ideas from Latin into English. The Ordinal proper begins with a declaration that it was written for both laymen (who cannot speak Latin) and clerks (who can): “To the honour of god oon in persones þree/​This boke is made þat lay-​men shuld it se,/​ And clerkis al-​so aftir my decese.”36 (To the honour of God, one person in three/​This book was made for laymen to see, /​ And clerks too, when I am dead.) Throughout the poem, Norton states that he uses “playne & comon” (plain and everyday) speech so that he can teach the common people.37 He begs pardon from his clerical reader for using “englishe blonte & rude” (blunt and rude English) when speaking of such a noble science,38 whilst he also begs pardon from his lay reader for using technical vocabulary: “I pray yow lay-​men haue me excuside/​Thofe such wordis be not with you vside;/​I most vse them, for alle Auctours affermys/​How euery science hath his propre termys.”39 (Pray excuse me, you laymen,/​Even though you do not use such words,/​I must use them, for all the authorities agree/​that every branch of knowledge has its own terms.) Norton has two readers in mind: a lay reader and a clerical reader. It seems, however, that he thinks less of the former than of the latter because he explicitly states in plain and humble English that only clerks can successfully perform alchemical transmutations: “For truly he that is not a grete clerke/​Is nyse & lewde to medle with that werke.”40 (For truly, he who is not a great clerk is silly and foolish to mess with this work.) He also prefaces the Ordinal with a series of Latin verses that laugh at the prospect of a layman being able to understand what is to follow: “Liber iste clericis monstrat scientiam,/​ Liber sed laicis auget insciciam.”41 (This book reveals knowledge to clerks but increases the ignorance of laymen.) Norton plays with his lay reader. He champions himself as one who will teach the layman how to understand

34  Jean de la Fontaine, La fontaine des amoureux de sciences, p. 16.

40  Norton, The Ordinal of Alchemy, p. 6.

35  Jean de la Fontaine, La fontaine des amoureux de sciences, p. 16.

36  Norton, The Ordinal of Alchemy, p. 5. 37  Norton, The Ordinal of Alchemy, p. 6.

38  Norton, The Ordinal of Alchemy, p. 95. 39  Norton, The Ordinal of Alchemy, p. 55. 41  Norton, The Ordinal of Alchemy, p. 3.

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alchemy, whilst guffawing with his clerical readers at such an idea. Nonetheless, it is in English and not Latin that both the clerk and layman receive alchemical secrets in the Ordinal. Norton creates two readers: one who is clerical and understands the Ordinal; another who is English-​speaking and does not understand. However, no one who reads the Ordinal for alchemical secrets believes he or she is in the latter category even though he or she is reading in English. By insulting his lay reader, he is in fact inviting him or her to read like a clerk. From its genesis, the transference of alchemical knowledge from one language to another was seen as translatio studii et imperii (the transference of learning and of power). It was presented as the passing over of secrets from a previously powerful culture to a currently powerful culture. From the Greek of Alexander the Great (who was said to have learnt the secrets of alchemy from Aristotle) to the Arabic of the Islamic Golden Age to the Latin of the twelfth-​century Renaissance, alchemical knowledge gave emperors, caliphs, and kings the power to conquer. In reality, the translation of alchemy through each language was piecemeal, sporadic, and continuously corrupted by the need to explain and update. The impetus to translate alchemical literature was due to a more general desire to translate the works of ancients. There is little evidence of a great power’s request for alchemy in particular to be translated.

Alchemy promised the ability to translate one substance into another. All that was needed was an understanding of the constituent languages of the source and the target material. Alchemists believed that if they could understand the languages of the natural world, they would be able to translate matter at their will. Unfortunately, however, metals are less translatable than language. What had begun in third-​century Alexandria as a system of knowledge that taught how to make things look like something else had become a complex mass of conflicting philosophies. Alchemical doctrine picked up pieces of each culture through which it had been translated. By the end of the Middle Ages, alchemy claimed to teach how to manipulate the physical world, live forever, achieve salvation, become infinitely rich, defeat the Antichrist, and attain spiritual perfection. As alchemy passed from language to language it transmuted, and it was these partial translations that led to the art’s longevity. The fundamental promises of alchemy were never achieved, and yet alchemists paved the way for modern science. The methods, apparatuses, and substances that were invented and discovered through the partial translations of alchemy are innumerable. Alchemy was an impenetrable secret that belonged to another language and could never be fully translated—​alchemical writers made sure of that. However, the attempts to understand this powerful language of gods and to translate the physical world into something else have inspired a great deal of human endeavour.

Bibliography Manuscripts Cited London, British Library, MS Harley 2407. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1451. Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, MS 2872. Primary Sources Al-​Hassan, Ahmad Y., ed. and trans. “The Arabic Original of Liber de compositione alchemiae: The Epistle of Maryānus, the Hermit and Philosopher, to Prince Khālid ibn Yazīd.” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 14 (2004): 213–​31. Al-​Nadīm. “The Arabic Literature on Alchemy According to an-​Nadīm (A.D. 987).” Edited and translated by J. W. Fück. Ambix 4 (1951):  81–​144. Al-​Rāzi. The Alchemy of Al-​Razi: A Translation of the “Book of Secrets.” Translated by Gail Marlow. North Charleston: Gail Marlow, 2014. Alain de Lille. Literary Works. Edited and translated by Winthrop Wetherbee. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. Ashmole, Elias, Theatrum chemicum britannicum. London, 1652. Berthelot, Marcellin, ed. and trans. Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs. 3 vols. London: Holland Press, 1963. Caley, Earle Radcliffe, ed. and trans. “The Leyden Papyrus X: An English Translation with Brief Notes.” Journal of Chemical Education 3 (1926): 1149–​66.

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Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale.” In The Riverside Chaucer, edited by Larry D. Benson, 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987; repr. 2008. Dante Alighieri. Commedia—​Inferno. Edited by Giorgio Inglese. Rome: Carocci, 2007. Gower, John. The English Works of John Gower. Edited by G. C. Macaulay. 2 vols. London: Oxford University Press, 1900; repr. 1957. Galen. The Alphabet of Galen. Edited and translated by Nicholas Everett. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012. Guillaume de Lorris, and Jean de Meun. Le Roman de la rose. Edited by Félix Lecoy. 3 vols. Paris: Champion, 1965–​70. Isaac, E., trans. “Ethiopic Apocalypse of Enoch.” In The Old Testament Pseudepigraphia, edited by James H. Charlesworth. 2 vols. Vol. 1, pp. 5–​89. New York: Doubleday, 1984. Jābir ibn Hayyān. Names, Natures and Things: The Alchemist Jābir ibn Hayyān and his “Kitāb al-​ahjār” (Book of Stones). Edited and translated by Syed Nomanul Haq. Dordecht: Kluwer, 1994. Jean de la Fontaine. La fontaine des amoureux de sciences. Lyon, 1547. Langland, William. The Vision of Piers Plowman: A Critical Edition of the B-​text Based on Trinity College, Cambridge, MS B.15.17. Edited by A. V. C Schmidt, 2nd ed. London: Dent, 1978; repr. 2001. Leemans, Conrad. Papyri graeci musei antiquarii publici lugduni-​batavi. Leiden: Brill, 1833. Lull, Ramon. Selected Works of Ramon Llull (1232–​1316). Edited and translated by Anthony Bonner. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985. Martelli, Matteo, ed. The “Four Books” of Pseudo-​Democritus. Leeds: Maney, 2013. Nelson, Charles L., trans. The Book of the Knight Zifar: A Translation of “El Libro del Cavallero Zifar.” Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1983. Norton, Thomas. The Ordinal of Alchemy. Edited by John Reidy. EETS, OS. 272. London: Oxford University Press, 1975. Petrarch, Francesco. I remedi per l’una e l’altra sorte. Edited and translated by Ugo Dotti. 4 vols. Torino: Nino Aragno, 2013. Pseudo-​Arnold of Villanova. “Le De secretis naturae du pseudo-​Arnold de Villeneuve.” Edited and translated by Antoine Calvet. Chrysopoeia 6 (2000): 155–​206. Pseudo-​Ramon Lull. Il testamentum alchemico attribuito a Raimondo Lullo. Edizione del testo Latino e Catalano dal manoscitto Oxford, Corpus Christi College, 244. Edited by Michela Pereira and Barbara Spaggiari. Florence: Sismel, 1999. Ripley, George. Compound of Alchymy (1591). Edited by Stanton J. Linden. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001. Stavenhagen, Lee, ed. and trans. A Testament of Alchemy: Being the Revelations of Morienus, Ancient Adept and Hermit of Jerusalem to Khalid ibn Mu’awiyya, King of the Arabs of the Divine Secrets of the Magisterium and Accomplishment of the Alchemical Art. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1974. Zosimos of Panopolis. Zosimos of Panopolis on the Letter Omega. Edited and translated by Howard M. Jackson. Missoula: Scholars Press, 1978. Secondary Sources

Bidez, Joseph, and Franc Cumont. Les mages hellenisés: Zoroastre, Ostanès et Hystaspe d’après la tradition grecque. 2 vols. Paris: Belles Lettres, 1938. Burnett, Charles. “The Coherence of the Arabic-​Latin Translation Program in Toledo in the Twelfth Century.” Science in Context 14 (2001): 249–​88. Dunleavy, Gareth W. “The Chaucer Ascription in Trinity College, Dublin MS. D.2.8.” Ambix 13 (1965): 2–​21. Eggert, Katherine. Disknowledge: Literature, Alchemy, and the End of Humanism in Renaisance England. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. Forster, Regula. “The Transmission of Secret Knowledge: Three Arabic Dialogues on Alchemy.” Al-​Qantara 37 (2016): 399–​422. Fraser, Kyle A. “Zosimos of Panopolis and the Book of Enoch: Alchemy as Forbidden Knowledge.” Aries 4 (2004): 125–​47. Gutas, Dimitri. Greek Thought, Arabic Culture. London: Routledge, 1998. Hallum, Benjamin. Zosimus Arabus: The Reception of Zosimos of Panopolis in the Arabic/​Islamic World. PhD Thesis, Warburg Institute, University of London, 2008.

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Kahn, Didier. “Alchemical Poetry in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: A Preliminary Survey and Synthesis. Part 1—​Preliminary Survey.” Ambix 57 (2010): 249–​74. —​—​. “Alchemical Poetry in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: A Preliminary Survey and Synthesis. Part 2—​Synthesis.” Ambix 58 (2011): 62–​77. Lammer, Joep. “From Alexandria to Baghdad: Reflections on the Genesis of a Problematic Tradition.” In The Ancient Tradition in Christian and Islamic Hellenism, edited by Gerhard Endress and Remke Kruk. Leiden: Research School CNWS, 1997: 181–91. Mertens, Michèle. “Une scène d’initiation alchimique: La ‘Lettre d’Isis à Horus.’ ” Revue de l’histoire des religions 205 (1988): 3–​23. Newman, William. Promethean Ambitions: Alchemy and the Quest to Perfect Nature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Partington, J. R. “The Chemistry of Rāzī.” Ambix 1 (1938): 192–​96. Patai, Raphael. The Jewish Alchemists: A History and Source Book. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. Pereira, Michela, “Alchemy and the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Late Middle Ages.” Speculum 74 (1999): 336–​56. Rampling, Jennifer. “Transmuting Sericon: Alchemy as ‘Practical Exegesis’ in Early Modern England.” Osiris 29 (2014): 19–​34. Ziolkowski, Theodore, The Alchemist in Literature: From Dante to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Eoin Bentick completed his BA in English Language and Literature at UCL in 2013, his MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, funded by a Provost studentship, in the UCL History Department in 2014, and his PhD, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, in the UCL English Department in 2018. In it he explores the obscurity of fifteenth-century alchemical poetry and the ways in which that obscurity was interpreted in fifteenth-century England.

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13 SCIENTIFIC TRANSLATION: A MODERN EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE ANTHONY HUNT

Historically, the first great surge of scientific translation activity in medieval Europe came in the eleventh century with the reception of Arabic medicine following the Hellenization of Islam from the ninth century. It is a problematic phenomenon, embracing multiple languages, difficulties of defining and identifying authorship (i.e., distinguishing authors, collaborators, and scribes), a paucity of satisfactorily edited texts, and the methodological challenge of weighing scientific accuracy against textual authenticity, to say nothing of the uncertainties caused by variations of lexis and terminology. Of the areas enriched by translations of scientific writings, the most substantial is medicine, which accounts for approximately one third of the translations. It is followed in importance by works dealing with astrology and astronomy, some of which are quite extensive. Then comes alchemy, the vernacular treatment of which has been seriously neglected.1 Treatises on divination are well represented and include a number of major works on geomancy. Pharmacology is covered by multiple translations of texts like the Antidotarium Nicolai and De simplicibus medicinis (“Circa instans”) where there is a complex Latin manuscript tradition. A handful of translations are devoted to subjects as diverse as uroscopy, physiognomy, ophthalmology, mathematics, hippiatry, geometry, chiromancy, meteorology and cometary phenomena, and botany. Treatises on falconry are more numerous than might be expected, and there are no fewer than six devoted to hippiatry (rendering a Latin source of ca. 1250 by Jordanus Rufus) including one by François du Tronchoy. Conversely, it is surprising that a text with such a rich manuscript tradition as the Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum (Flos medicinae) (184 manuscripts) seems to have inspired only one French translation, which is particularly difficult to date. These 1  See Chapter 12.

varied subjects may be found treated in Old/​Middle French, Occitan, Anglo-​ Norman, Spanish, and Catalan. Starting in the last quarter of the fourteenth century, translation into Middle English becomes prominent. The vast quantity of (pseudo-​) scientific writing, above all medical works, may be easily gauged from the standard repertoire of George Keiser2 and Voigts and Kurtz. The medical materials have been the most intensively investigated.3 Most of these materials have not been edited and are resistant to simple identification as translations because they are generally anonymous and represent compilations.4 Their use in the Middle Ages continues to be a fruitful line of inquiry.5 Many are not single-​ language productions, for in medieval England there was no exclusive language of medicine and a variety of texts exhibit the phenomenon of code-​switching.6 Compositions of a compilatory nature are often linguistically composite. But whereas there has been little linguistic evidence for the regionalization of Anglo-​ Norman, substantial translations in Middle English have yielded valuable indications for dialect study. The translation of Gilbertus Anglicus in Glasgow University Library, MS Hunter 509, for example, indicates an origin in the Norwich region, confirming East Anglia as the provenance of many medical texts.7 The translation of major figures like Gilbertus Anglicus, Gui de Chauliac, Bernard 2  Keiser, A Manual of Writings in Middle English, vol. 10.

3  Taavitsainen and Pahta, “Vernacularisation of Medieval Writing in English.” 4  Dumas and Boucher, “Traductions et compilations médicales.”

5  Mooney, “Manuscript Evidence for the Use of Medieval English Scientific and Utilitarian Texts.” 6  Hunt, “The Languages of Medical Writing.”

7  See Fisiak and Trudgill, East Anglian English.

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Gordon, John of Ardrene, and John of Mirfield and their transmission will conture to reward study. The contribution of Greek and Arabo-​Latin science in Europe was immense, not least in the field of medicine in which textbooks used by European medical students for close to four hundred years were derived from Muslim authors writing in Arabic who had fresh concepts to contribute to the understanding of physiology, disease and infection, dietetics, and drug therapy. The great medical compendium, Rhazes’s Almansor, gave rise to at least three, albeit partial, French translations. Constantine the African’s Liber de melancholia was also rendered, in a somewhat idiosyncratic form, into French in the fourteenth century. The Latin translation by Gerard of Cremona of Albucasis’s Surgery marked a considerable surgical advance, whereafter further translations were made into French and Occitan. There was also considerable translation activity in the fields of astronomy and astrology. The Centiloquium attributed to Pseudo-​ Ptolemy was translated into Latin five times in the twelfth century and two translations were made into French in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries from the version of Plato of Tivoli. What became the Liber introductorius (by Alcabitius) was translated by Pélerin de Prusse in the fourteenth century, and in 1430 Guillaume Harnois translated Abenragel’s astrological compendium In judiciis astrorum. There followed three translations of works by Masha’allah: two, of his De cogitationibus ab intentione and De occultis, were made in 1359 for the future Charles V of France, followed by a translation of De receptione planetarum sive de interrogationibus (Des interrogations). In the most celebrated work of all to be translated, the pseudo-​ Aristotelian Secreta secretorum, translated from Greek to Arabic (Sirr al-​Asrar) in the eighth century and established in its basic compilatory form by Pseudo-​Yahya Ibn al-​Batriq (ca. 850–​900), no fewer than ten translations, of differing proportions, were made into Old French after the long version of Philip of Tripoli and five into Occitan from the short version of John of Seville.8 In many (e.g., the translation of Pierre d’Abernon and that of Joffroi de Waterford and Servais Copale), the astrological material was taken out, though these two works preserve the oldest astronomical tables in French. As Alexandrian medicine enriched the world of Arabic science in the fifth and sixth centuries, so Arabic achievements greatly strengthened the status of medicine and scientific enquiry, not least in the school of Salerno, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries and thereafter, 8  Pseudo-​Aristote, Le Secret des Secrets, pp. 23–​45.

especially in the fourteenth century, familiarized a wider lay public with some of its principles. Translation’s operational poles of literalism and interventionism emerge clearly in the comparison of two major translators, Constantine the African and Gerard of Cremona.9 Constantine, a monk of Montecassino (d. 1085–​1098), tended to translate selected parts of his Arabic sources. His aim was propaedeutic and he was ready to achieve adaptation and brevity in a rapid synthesis. Constantine’s texts often give the impression of a translation from the Greek, whereas later translators sought to minimize such an impression and to translate verbum de verbo. Constantine greatly assisted in the establishment and normalization of medical terminology, now less Hellenized, but from the beginning he was criticized for his interventionism, as exemplified by cuts and omissions that he made to his sources. Some of them may of course have already been effected in his source copy, whilst others were no doubt caused by his desire for clarity and concision. He does not always translate literally; and he often summarizes passages which strike him as too long, omitting repetitions. His most obvious omissions concern Arabic proper names and book-​titles (including the very ones he is translating). He also attempts to compile and combine several treatises in a single translation. Unfortunately, none of his translations contains a translator’s prologue. He has, further, been criticized for wordiness and the retention of Arabic technical terms. Before him there was a concentration on what was available in North Africa in the eleventh century, especially medical activities associated with Kairouan, and on Galenist writings adapted with Greek titles, such as Isagoge and Pantegni. In the period immediately following his death little translation took place. In contrast, the prolific Gerard of Cremona (d. 1187), who apart from twenty-​one medical translations, tackled many other disciplines, was taxed with excessive literalness leading to awkward and deficient renderings. Many unfamiliar words in his sources were simply transliterated and syntactic approximations often mar the grammar. There are also many instances where he failed to recognize metaphors and idioms. Gerard translated works of Galen when these were tending to give way to the enthusiasm for Hippocrates. His translations furnished pedagogical aids and reference works for practitioners. He concentrated on authors of the Muslim Orient (ninth–​eleventh centuries) and although his activity gave a boost to surgery and pharmacology, he did not make an early impression on Salerno. Gerard was interested in the 9  Burnett, “Translating from Arabic into Latin,” pp. 55–​78.

15

more original and technical works, for his aim was less initiation than accomplishment, especially in respect of the two rather little known but major figures of Rhazes and Avicenna, in whose case he favoured works of pedagogical content, namely the former’s Liber ad Almansorem and the latter’s Canon. In Toledo he made known the two most significant figures of Arabic medicine, no longer just introductions to Galenism, but important synthesizing works. He also made a translation, the first, of the Surgery of Albucasis. Gerard was prolific and the question of authorship, single or multiple (“Gerard” as shorthand for a team) is always present. The stylistic study of these medical texts requires great attentiveness and sensitivity. It was usefully undertaken by Danielle Jacquart who in 1989 examined how Gerard dealt with the Practica of Serapion, the Canon of Avicenna, the Liber ad Almansorem of Rhazes (with its glosses), and the Surgery of Albucasis.10 What the Latin translations have in common is that they are very literal and adhere closely to the word order of the original (sometimes leading to obscurities), employing certain stylistic characteristics that are widespread in Gerard’s works. The greatest awkwardness is exhibited by the Serapion rendering, which contains the highest number of transliterations of Arabic words (although there were many also in Albucasis and in Avicenna), showing Gerard at his least experienced. Liber ad Almansorem exhibits a lighter style, more direct and less obscure, with a variety of translations of the same Arabic phrases, hence greater freedom and flexibility than in the Canon, a preference for variety in style and choice of words, often avoiding repetitions in the source and clearing some of the transliterations. The transliterations in Gerard usually arise from non-​recognition of the precise meaning of an Arabic word or the difficulty of finding a Latin equivalent, particularly regarding anatomical terms and pharmaceutical ingredients. In Gerard transliterations tend to go along with extreme literalism, a valuable aid in the establishing of bilingual glossaries and dictionaries. But are variation and consistency, including individual stylistic features, reliable criteria for determining authorship? Jacquart suggests that the lack of rigour in its use of technical terms and its reduced fidelity to the letter of the original text may demonstrate that the translation of Liber ad Almansorem is not by Gerard himself. He usually translates very literally, copying small grammatical details, and seeking to preserve word order so that the Latin 10  Jacquart, “Remarques préliminaires à une étude comparée des traductions médicales de Gérard de Crémone,” pp. 109–​18.

Scientific Translation

and the vernacular are two embodiments of the same text, and the translation is little more than a calque. In the period 1230–​1315, thanks to the influence of Arabic medicine, there were at least ten distinctive surgical treatises which promoted a new ambition for surgical writing, a text-​based surgery going well beyond the reporting of empiric practices and absorbing much more of Galen and the fourth book of Avicenna’s Canon, Gerard’s translation of Albucasis, and Rhazes’s Liber ad Almansorem (seventh book). Albucasis provides “a self-​ contained treatment of operative techniques and [is] arguably the greatest of Arabic surgical texts … Teodorico [Borgognoni’s] goal, in Vulnera, to ground Western surgery in the texts of Galenic medicine was one that other contemporary surgeons evidently were coming to pursue, as an awareness of the relevance of Galen and Avicenna spread.”11 Thus we observe the ousting of Roger Frugardi’s Chirurgia and its expansion by Rolando da Parma in Chirurgia Rolandina, and in a sequence of works by Teodorico Borgognoni, Bruno Longoburgensis, Guglielmo da Saliceto, Lanfranc of Milan, and Henri de Mondeville. These writers developed a clear sense of professional identity and distinction from other medical specialties, thus producing “rational surgery.” At the beginning of the fourteenth century an unprecedented vernacularization of medical literature occurs, beginning with vernacular translations of existing Latin surgical writings. Frugardi had early been translated into Occitan, Old French, Anglo-​Norman, and later Middle English.12 Unusually the Occitan translation was into verse, initially by Raimon of Avignon (books one to three) then copied by a Catalan scribe. It is alert and informal, animated by the lively personality of Raimon, who introduces a change of metre at line 55. The presentation is entertaining and much detail is happily sacrificed, producing a free adaptation rather than a strict translation. This is unusual for a resolutely scientific work. Surgeries, including the work of Guy de Chauliac, were amongst the most frequently translated texts of the Middle Ages.13 Medieval scientific translation poses diverse problems to the modern editor. Translators worked from individual exemplars and lacked established, regulatory principles. Each copy of a work exhibited degrees of mouvance as, therefore, 11  McVaugh, The Rational Surgery of the Middle Ages, pp. 23 and 25.

12  Rinaldi, “Appunti per una nuova edizione del compendio occitanico versaggiato della Chirurgia di Ruggero Frugardo.” 13  Bazin-​Tacchella, “L’exposition du savoir chirurgical en français.”

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did the resulting translations. This is evidenced by the heterogenous body of translation surrounding, say, the Secretum secretorum, Macer’s herbal, or the twelfth-​century Salernitan treatise on urines by Maurus, all of them to some degree adaptations with a wide range of variant readings. Modern scholars distinguish between a versio minor and a versio maior of the Circa instans manuscripts, but what notion of the source text would a medieval translator have had before starting work? What we know is that this pharmacological compendium (ca. 1150–​1170) survives in over 200 manuscripts embodying various configurations, containing between 229 and 486 plants.14 The Old French translation in Princeton University Library, Garrett 131, systematically omits the receipts at the end of each article, whilst the Middle English version in Glasgow University Library, Hunter 307, radically abbreviates the whole text. The mouvance of the sources may lead to internal obscurities, inconsistences, and contradictions that would not be allowed to stand in a modern critical edition. Modern scholars should not be misled by dates. Galen’s works are transmitted mainly in late manuscripts of the fifteenth century, but the Arabic versions of the ninth century, based on much earlier witnesses, may be of considerable use. Many scientific source texts are compilatory (see the opening of Chauliac’s Chirurgia magna) and multi-​layered, incorporating what were originally glosses. They are often therefore without unitary authorship. Identical passages, lifted from earlier works, are constantly appropriated and copied within new texts where they are more or less well integrated. Such appropriation is liable to mislead seekers after sources, authorship, or date. As is the case with other genres, especially receptaria or receipt collections, incipits are particularly likely to float freely in a wide variety of works. Countless textual features are susceptible to change and to complication with no evidence of stability. The study of medieval scientific translation requires therefore careful identification of, and attention to, glosses and commentary that have been incorporated into the “translation.” The difficulty of establishing textual boundaries and identifying the varied source material of translations—​ Greek, Arabic, Jewish, legendary—​is illustrated by astronomical and astrological treatises of which there are at least fifty French translations from the period 1250–​ 1500.15 It is easier to 14  Ventura, “Il Circa instans attribuito a Platearius.”

15  Shore, “The Continuum of Translation as Seen in Three Middle French Treatises on Comets.”

identify the Greek/​Latin/​Arabic texts that have actually been translated than to identify extant French translations which all too often elude recognition and can scarcely be determined from the vague entries in medieval library catalogues. The search for sources is endless, for after a likely source or analogue has been found, further investigation may reveal yet more convincing ones in what may be a sort of uncharted dispersal of similar material with no clear genetic trace or authority, thus necessitating a whole programme of searches. An ostensibly unitary translation may in reality conflate several different treatises. The “Introduction” to astronomy in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 1353 turns out to be a compilation based in part on Abu Ma’shar’s Introductorium and the work of Zael (Sahl ibn Bishr) and several other authors. In short, translations frequently turn out to be compilations. No greater textual fluidity can be imagined than that displayed by the Chirurgia attributed to Ruggiero Frugardi. Almost totally free from Arabic influence, it was assembled from his pupils’ lecture notes by Guido d’Arezzo the Younger and others; it was then equipped with commentary and a continuous, supplementary gloss and further revised by Rolando da Parma. This so-​called “Rolandina” received further glossing, which coalesced in the form of the “Four Masters Gloss,” variously attributed to a single author or multiple authorship.16 In one manuscript the topical disposition of ailments a capite ad calcem is replaced by a pathological arrangement. All this textual activity—​ an almost indeterminable sequence of copying, supplementing, glossing, commenting, reconfiguring, and translating—​took place from 1170 to 1270. This constant textual mouvance explains the absence of critical editions. The “Roger complex” is intimidatingly complicated, with over thirty manuscripts of the Chirurgia (none copied directly from the other), five Old French translations, and a large corpus of derivative texts. All analyses of this material are provisional and require long and meticulous study of all the manuscripts if we are to understand the genesis of the cultural and scientific phenomena they embody. Only rarely can a translation be identified with an exact manuscript source. Often, as is the case with the Anglo-​ Norman translation of the Practica brevis, there is no critical edition of the source text. (London, British Library Sloane 1124 provides a generally good text against which the vernacular may be controlled, although it has undergone considerable disarrangement.) Individual readings, including 16  Hunt, Old French Medical Texts, p. 30.

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erroneous ones, can often be traced to a single manuscript or family of manuscripts, the readings of which would be treated as variants in a critical edition. The study of sources may therefore help in the editorial resequencing of sections of the translation as transmitted. Abbreviations may be a source of confusion in both translation and Latin source, e.g., minus/​nimis, pecten/​pectus. Drug quantities often involve conventional signs, e.g., ÷ (uncia), Ʒ (drachma), ʒ/​ ϶ (scrupulum), preceded by equally confusable Roman numerals, numerals which in reflecting dosages in a pharmaceutical context are obviously more crucial than when indicating, for example, the number of military squadrons in a chanson de geste description of an epic battle. Botanical names, on account of their unfamiliarity, are particularly prone to palaeographical confusion in both translations and Latin source texts, e.g., salvia/​saliva, menta/​memita, mirra/​mirta. The modern editor must decide whether to adopt the source reading in his main text or to emend for scientific, or even pseudo-​scientific, accuracy. Because of the many different methods of transcribing Arabic into Latin in the Middle Ages, there are often difficulties in interpreting scripts. The twelfth-​century translator from Arabic to Latin, Hugh of Santalla, comments on the recognition or non-​observance of diacritical points (apices), which may be omitted, misplaced, or even confused with random splashes of ink. Different scribes employed points in different ways and at different stages in the copying process. Consequently there is plenty of room for error in copies of the source-​text quite apart from mistakes introduced by the translator. The editor must decide between representing the imagined reading, leaving it in the original, or resorting to calques.17 The translation of scientific texts into Hebrew presents other editorial difficulties. In Spain, and also prominently in southern France, Jewish scholars translated Arabic works, mostly on astronomy, mathematics, and medicine, into Hebrew or French (which might be written out in Hebrew characters). The eleventh chapter of Maimonides’s Aphorisms (1187–​1190) was twice translated into Hebrew, the first (1277–​1290) being in turn translated into French, probably in the southern Champagne and absorbed into a treatise on fevers where it was written out in Hebrew characters. There are innumerable glosses and glossaries. The custom of writing French in Hebrew characters persisted until the expulsion of the Jews from France at the end of the fourteenth century.18

Judaeo-​Romance is considered to have contributed to six Romance languages:  there are forty-​five texts or fragments in Judaeo-​ French, one of which is medical and another astrological. Hebrew translators showed particular interest in scientific-​philosophical writings and their different approaches to translation have been well studied.19 (An editor of these works needs a good knowledge of Hebraico-​French spelling conventions.) A Hebrew translation of Lanfranc’s Chirurgia parva (e.g., in Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, clm 280 ff.257–​62), is written in Hebrew characters which represent a Romance idiom, not Hebrew. Romance texts were often the basis of translations into Hebrew, for much work was accomplished in southern France and the Iberian peninsula. In the first half of the fourteenth century Latin, Catalan, and Hebrew functioned as languages of science, and transmission between all three was common. Other languages presented various problems for the translators for whom the large-​scale translation of Greek, Syrian, and Persian medical works produced differences of translation method together with a host of terminological difficulties. It was necessary to know both classical, literary Arabic and spoken colloquial Arabic and some translators seem to have availed themselves of largely anonymous Arabophone collaborators or intermediaries, whose work may not have survived the oral stage but was used as the basis of the translation into Latin. The distribution of linguistic roles is not entirely clear: Gerard of Cremona who had practised in Spain had many associates (socii) who were sometimes, it seems, Arabic speakers and Jewish speakers who translated orally into a vernacular which was then rendered into Latin by another assistant, resulting in a range of linguistic nuances. In the Arabic-​French glossary by a Messire Willame and Mestre Jaques Sarasin “le ypoticaires, noveau crestien” (ca. 1300), the Arabic often approximates to the classical norm but displays traces of oral dialects also, whilst the Old French glosses often display Norman colouring. Code-​switching/​code-​mixing may occur.20 Much pharmaceutical literature dealing with the names of substances and plants introduces vernacular terms in Insular texts, particularly English and Anglo-​Norman. Synonym lists (synonyma) were widely produced, not only in Latin with vernacular equivalents, but also in Arabic and Hebrew with vernacular

18  Kiwitt, “L’ancien français en caractères hébreux,” pp. 237–​64.

20  Hunt, “Code-​Switching in Medical Texts.”

17  Latham, “Arabic into Medieval Latin.”

19  Zonta, “Medieval Hebrew Translations” and also “The Jewish Medi­ ation in the Transmission of Arabo-​Islamic Science and Philosophy.”

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equivalents, mostly composed in southern France or in Catalonia.21 Translations often provide evidence, via linguistic geography, of textual transmission. The Old French translation of Macer, for example, provides a rare specimen of south-​western French because of certain phonological features. Sometimes it is even possible through translations to establish geographical centres of readership (e.g., Lorraine for Hebraico-​French texts). But translation was not always from a learned language into the vernacular. The reverse also occurred and throughout the Middle Ages vernacular works, including scientific works, were translated into Latin. Arnoul de Quinquempoix, a physician at the court of Philippe IV, translated a number of works from French into Latin, and Peter of Abano translated into Latin the French version by the Jew Hagin (Hayyim) of astrological works by Abraham Ibn Ezra. Because growth in the establishment of specialized terminologies led to the development of neologisms, the most revealing feature of translations is perhaps their lexis. It deserves thorough study of the sort performed by David Trotter and by Germaine Lafeuille for Martin de Saint-​Gille’s French translation and commentary (written between 1360 and 1365) on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates.22 Many methods of translating lexical novelties were followed. They could be left unchanged in the original language by choice (e.g., in order to mark a significant term), through inertia, or through the translator’s inability to find an appropriate equivalent. In the Middle English translation of the Practica brevis (Cambridge University Library Dd.x.44 [s.xv]) the translator leaves many botanical and medical terms untranslated. Alternatively, technical terms may be Arabized in a calque or loan rendering (with or without further resort to semantic calques). Latinisms arise independently amongst translators and usually precede the word’s establishment as a naturalized term employable in a variety of contexts. An important paratextual feature of scientific translations is the provision of diagrams and illustrations, features which are poorly recorded in catalogues, and are not always included even by editors. This huge field adds a particular interest to the study of scientific texts, and needs to be cultivated if we are to understand how such figures, diagrammatic and 21  Bos et al., Medical Synonym Lists from Medieval Provence.

22  Lafeuille, Les Amphorismes Ypocras and Les Commentaires de Martin de Saint-​ Gille; also Trotter, “Les manuscrits latins de la Chirurgia d’Albucasis” and “Translation and the Development of Scholarly and Scientific Discourse.”

pictorial, relate to translation and to the understanding of scientific content. The figures can crudely be distinguished by their location: intratextual, marginal, and free-​standing pictorial sequences. The latter, of course, demand delicate interpretation, as is the case with the eight medical illustrations in Oxford Bodleian Library, Ashmole 399, which have become detached from their original context, whatever that was. In the case of surgical treatises they can also be classified according to their depiction of instruments, treatments, or ailments. A further distinction is between decorative function and utilitarian, practical function. The textual tradition of Albucasis’s Surgery includes up to 150 depictions of instruments. Their spatial disposition, methods of keying to the text, provision of captions, and other individual features, display considerable variety in both Arabic and translated texts. Regarding Frugardi’s Chirurgia alone, there are fifteen small drawings in Bayerische Staatsbibliothek clm 376, and small marginal drawings, entered in the hand of the text and labelled, are found in Lincoln Cath. Chapter Libr. 211 (B.5.9). The Anglo-​ Norman translation of Frugardi’s Chirurgia in MS Cambridge, Trinity College 0.1.20 has, appended in the lower margins, forty-​eight depictions of the pharmacy and/​ or medical consultations, executed in elegant and refined line drawings, sometimes with a pale colour wash. The editor has to devise a strategy for incorporating these in his text and construing their relevance. Somewhat differently, he needs to identify and interpret the over 150 scenes presented in two groups as pictorial prefaces to two extensive texts translated into Old French, Roger’s Chirurgia and the Circa instans pharmacopeia, both in London, British Library, Sloane 1977. Despite their physical separation from the Old French texts, they are firmly instigated by them. The set of illustrations prefixed to Roger is by far the larger and is divided into ninety-​six medical scenes and a Christological cycle of forty-​ eight New Testament scenes. How they impinge on the genesis, meaning, and reception of the translated text are questions which will give the editor much food for thought. These illustrations are ancillary accompaniments of the texts, but cannot be simply relegated to a category labelled either decorative or practical, for the skill and effort expended in their execution give them a value equal to that of the text.23 The same is true of the largely unstudied text contained in an early fourteenth-​century copy in Montpellier Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire, section médecine MS H-​89 where there are 115 illustrations, mostly prefixing the chapter to which 23  Pasca, La Scuola Medica Salernitana.

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they relate depicting the interaction of patient and surgeon. Integrated in the text and consistently corresponding with it, the illustrations, clearly marked with a border, act as a guide to the content and subdivisions of the treatise, in the absence of written rubrics.24 Illustration dominates two widespread genres of scientific writing relating to natural history:  bestiaries and herbals.25 Both of these may exhibit knowledge and experience on the one hand and creative imagination on the other, or a process somewhere between the two, adhering to earlier attested traditional iconographic stereotypes or patterns although no presumed model-​books seem to have survived. In the case of bestiaries, for example, there are close similarities between the magnificent illustrations in manuscripts Aberdeen University Library 24, Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmole 1511 and its copy Oxford Bodleian Library, Douce 151 which seem to be derived from a single model, yet the species treated are not all the same and the putative model has not been identified. All three versions may have had monastic patrons. Copying errors and misidentification of the named fauna led to various illustrations being misplaced or even just wrong, as careful comparison with the literal text often shows. The location, source, and function of the illustrations within both Latin and vernacular texts deserve detailed study if we are fully to understand the nature and purpose of those texts. Much valuable work has been done on the Latin bestiary tradition26—​including a catalogue of the fifty-​odd manuscripts, and a new edition and English translation of the B text,27 together with a close survey of their production and circulation.28 However the interpretative function of illustrations, particularly in vernacular bestiary texts, has relied exclusively on the researches of a single art-​historian.29 Bestiary texts in themselves hold little interest when shorn of their illustrations, just as a physiologist would be little attracted by an amputated limb. The first post-​Conquest bestiary in the vernacular is that of Philippe de Thaon, which survives in one complete and two incomplete manuscripts 24  Valls, “Illustrations as Abstracts.”

25  Collins, Medieval Herbals and Collins and Raphael, A Medieval Herbal. 26  Hassig, Medieval Bestiaries.

27  Clark, A Medieval Book of Beasts.

28  Baxter, Bestiaries and their Uses in the Middle Ages.

29  Muratova, “The Decorated Manuscripts of the Bestiary of Philippe de Thaon.”

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which are not related. The illustrations repay careful study. London, British Library, Cotton Nero A. V, where the text is complete, has no illustrations, but blank spaces mark the intended position of them. An Oxford manuscript (Merton College 249) preserves forty-​ eight rough, unframed pen drawings, which are squeezed into spaces between passages of text and in the margins in a rather untidy distribution, and Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibl., Gamle kungl. Saml. 80 3466 has twenty-​four vividly coloured illustrations of Parisian workmanship alternating freely with the text. Following f. 20v until f. 49v an error disturbs the proper sequence of picture and text, presumably through the illustrator’s inattention to the text (a not infrequent occurrence in illustrated manuscripts). Nevertheless, the illustrations themselves, as opposed to their collocation, reflect textual detail in a remarkable way and may reflect an earlier model. All three manuscripts display, with a varying degree of completeness, two sets of rubrics—​ those epitomizing the contents of each chapter and those describing the contents of the corresponding illustrations. In other words they are part of the textual design and guide the reading of it. But who was responsible for them? How are they related to the Latin source(s)? What do they tell us about the nature and intended use of the translation? There are no fewer than twenty-​five manuscripts of Guillaume le Clerc’s Bestiaire divin (ca. 1211), most of which are illustrated or display spaces left blank for the insertion of illustrations. In two manuscripts the latter accompany not only the representation of the animals, but also the moralizing passages elaborating the significance of the animal. This is the case also with the strikingly illustrated Insular manuscript Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouv. acq. fr.14969, a Franciscan production which elaborates through illustration, probably executed at Canterbury, the moral and theological content of the text like other bestiaries which were eagerly read in clerical milieux where they offered rich material for preaching. Guillaume’s source is identified with the B-​Isidore version in the Latin Physiologus tradition and so students of translation can undertake a comparative study. The most complex of all the vernacular bestiaries is represented by the long redaction of the bestiary which is attributed to Pierre de Beauvais, on whose shorter work it is certainly based, both written in prose. Many problems have been solved by recent editorial work, but the copious illustrations in two of the manuscripts remain unstudied. The same is true of the shorter work of Pierre de Beauvais, for which one manuscript alone, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouv. acq. fr.13521, has illustrations. The medieval bestiary continues, therefore,

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to require extensive critical attention to the implications of the text-​illustration relationship examined not by isolating individual cases but by relating illustrations (and the text to which they refer) to each other in the sequence in which they occur thus establishing the integrity of the text. The subject of herbals, their chronology and models, is more complicated, but the main point of reference was often held to be the Herbarius of Pseudo-​Apuleius and the texts which formed a constellation with it. It is crucial to remember that the chronology of herbals cannot be fixed by that of their manuscripts. Younger manuscripts may reflect much older models. The most striking and complex case is that of the Tractatus de herbis in British Library, Egerton 747, dating to the last quarter of the thirteenth century, one of the considerable amplifications of the originally unillustrated Circa instans.30 Its text is in Latin but there are a number of lavishly produced fifteenth-​century translations in French with the title Livre de simples medecines. The 406 plant illustrations in the Tractatus (and copies of it) are celebrated for their outstanding naturalism. The work bridges the gap between synonyma lists and random or detached plant illustrations such as we find in the mid-​fourteenth-​century codex New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M.873 (thought by some to have been intended to be a text of the Circa instans) where there are some 488 coloured drawings of medicinal plants, minerals and animals, named but not attached to any text. Aside from a manuscript of Dioscorides, in a shortened Latin version (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek clm 337), and individual versions of Pseudo-​Apuleius, the Tractatus was the first illustrated herbal to be known in the Latin West between the sixth and the thirteenth centuries. An integral part of the scientific text, on the other hand, and hence utilitarian are drawings which are inseparable from the method and argument of the text. For example, the

disposition of dots making up sixteen different figures in treatises on geomancy which are then related to elements, planets, good or bad qualities under the influence of astrology, is indispensable and had to be accurately transferred from the source to the translations of it, as also in the Middle English translation of Martin of Spain’s De Geomancia or the two Anglo-​Norman treatises which survive. Other instances of such utilitarian diagrams, with early Anglo-​Norman witnesses and later Middle English specimens, are chiromancies in which the lines of the palm are clearly indicated, often with text written beside them. Almost inexhaustible is the quantity of zodiacal treatises, astrological and astronomical texts (including treatises on comets), and lunaries, which depict in diagrams the identity and movements of the planets. In addition there are illustrations of the Pythagorean sphere and its use in prognostication. Drawings of optical, astronomical (astrolabe, quadrant, directorium, adresceour), and surgical instruments are found in specialized works. Medical works commonly contain schematic illustrations such as “vein man” and “cautery man.” Illustrations were necessary for the surgeon’s armoury since cautery irons, grasping tools, probes, and so on were known by various names, not all of which would have been immediately understood. In innumerable—​well over 160—​uroscopies, of which very few translations have been edited, colour had to be employed (the twelfth-​century Salernitan pioneer of uroscopy, Maurus, lists no fewer than nineteen colour terms) and carefully matched with the discursive text or commentary. More extensive work on medieval scientific writings, and further detailed exploration of the issues discussed in this chapter, will contribute both to our knowledge of the lexis of medieval languages as embodied in the dictionaries and also to our understanding of cultural development in the European Middle Ages.

Bibliography Manuscripts Cited Aberdeen, University Library 24 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek clm 376 Cambridge, Trinity College MS 0.1.20 Cambridge University Library Dd.x.44 30  Collins and Raphael, A Medieval Herbal; Givens, “Reading and Writing the Illustrated Tractatus de Herbis.”

16

Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibl., Gamle kungl. Saml. 80 3466 Glasgow University Library, ms Hunter 509 Lincoln Cath. Chapter Libr. 211 (B.5.9) London, British Library, Cotton Nero A. V London, British Library, Egerton 747 London, British Library, Sloane 1124 London, British Library, Sloane 1977 Montpellier Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire, section médecine Ms H-​89 Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek clm 337 Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, clm 280 New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M. 873 Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmole 399 Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmole 1511 Oxford, Bodleian Library, Douce 151 Oxford, Merton College 249 Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 1353 Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouv. acq. fr.13521 Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouv. acq. fr.14969 Princeton University Library, Garrett 131

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Secondary Sources Baxter, Ron. Bestiaries and their Uses in the Middle Ages. Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishers/​Courtauld Institute, 1998. Bazin-​Tacchella, Sylvie. “L’exposition du savoir chirurgical en français à la fin du Moyen Âge: les traductions françaises (XVe siècle) de la Chirurgia Magna de Guy de Chauliac.” In The Medieval Translator/​Traduire au Moyen Âge, vol. 10, edited by J. Jenkins and O. Bertrand, pp. 27–​43. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007. Bos, Gerrit, Martina Hussein, Guido Mensching, and Frank Savelsberg. Medical Synonym Lists from Medieval Provence. Leiden: Brill, 2011. Burnett, Charles. “Literal Translation and Intelligent Adaptation amongst the Arabic-​Latin Translators of the first half of the Twelfth Century.” In La Diffusione delle Scienze Islamiche nel Medio Evo Europeo, pp. 9–​28. Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1987. —​—​. “Translating from Arabic into Latin in the Middle Ages: Theory, Practice and Criticism.” In Éditer, traduire, interpréter: Essais de méthodologie, edited by S. G. Lofts and P. W. Rosemann, pp. 55–​78. Philosophes Médiévaux 36. Louvain-​la-​Neuve: Editions de l’Institut Supérieur de Philosophie. Louvain-Paris: Editions Peeters, 1997. Burnett, Charles, and David Juste. “A New Catalogue of Medieval Translations into Latin of Texts on Astronomy and Astrology.” In Medieval Textual Cultures: Agents of Transmission, Translation and Transformation, edited by Faith Wallis and Robert Wisnovsky, pp. 63–​76. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 2016. Clark, Willene. A Medieval Book of Beasts, the Second Family: Commentary, Text and Translation. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2006. Clark, Willene B., and Meradith T. McMunn, eds. The Bestiary and its Legacy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1980; repr. 2016. Collins, Minta. Medieval Herbals: The Illustrative Traditions. London: British Library Studies in Medieval Culture and University of Toronto, 2000. Collins, Minta, and Sandra Raphael, eds. A Medieval Herbal: A Facsimile of British Library Egerton MS 747. London: British Library, 2003. Dumas, G., and C. Boucher, “Traductions et compilations médicales: une coïncidence obligée?” Early Science and Medicine 17 (2012): 273–​308 with extensive bibliography. Fisiak, J., and P. Trudgill. East Anglian English. Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2001.

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Givens, Jean. “Reading and Writing the Illustrated Tractatus de Herbis 1280–​1526.” In Visualizing Medieval Medicine and Natural History, 1200–​1550, edited by Jean Givens, Karen M. Reeds, and Alain Touwaide, pp. 114–​45. AVISTA Studies in the History of Medieval Technology, Science and Art 5. London: Routledge, 2016. Goyens, Michelle, Pieter de Leemans, and An Smets, eds. Science Translated:  Latin and Vernacular Translations of Scientific Treatises in Medieval Europe. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2008. Gutas, Dimitri. Greek Thought, Arabic Culture: The Graeco-​Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad and Early ‘Abâssid Society (2nd–​4th/​8th–​10th centuries). London: Routledge, 1998. Hasse, Dag Nikolaus. “Abbreviation in Medieval Latin Translations from Arabic.” In Vehicles of Transmission, Translation, and Transformation in Medieval Textual Culture, edited by Robert Wisnovsky, Faith Wallis, Jamie C. Fumo, and Carlos Fraenkel, pp. 159–​72. Cursor Mundi 4. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011. Hassig, Debra. Medieval Bestiaries: Text, Image, Ideologies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Hunt, Tony. Anglo-​Norman Medicine 1. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1994. —​—​. “Code-​Switching in Medical Texts.” In Multilingualism in Later Medieval Britain, edited by David A. Trotter, pp. 131–​47. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2000. —​—​. “The Languages of Medical Writing in Medieval England.” In Medieval and Early Modern Literature, Science and Medicine, edited by R. Falconer and D. Renevey, pp. 79–​101. Tübingen: Narr, 2013. —​—​. Old French Medical Texts. Paris: Garnier, 2011. Jacquart, Danielle. “Remarques préliminaires à une étude comparée des traductions médicales de Gérard de Crémone.” In Traduction et traducteurs au moyen âge. Actes du colloque international du CNRS organisé à Paris, Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes les 26–​28 mai 1986, edited by Geneviève Contamine, pp. 109–​18. Paris: Editions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1989. —​—​. “Les Traductions médicales de Gérard de Crémone.” In Gerardo da Cremona, edited by Pier Luigi Pizzamiglio, pp. 57–​70. Annali della Biblioteca Statale e Libreria civica di Cremona 41. Cremona: Biblioteca statale e libreria civica di Cremona, 1992. Jordan, Mark. “The Fortune of Constantine’s Pantegni.” In Constantine the African and ‘Alī ibn Al-​’Abbās Al-​Mağūsī: The Pantegni and Related Texts, edited by Charles Burnett and Danielle Jacquart, pp. 286–​302. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1994. Keiser, George. A Manual of Writings in Middle English 1050–​1500. Vol. 10: Science and Information. New Haven: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1998. Kiwitt, M. “L’ancien français en caractères hébreux.” In Manuel de la philologie de l’édition, edited by David Trotter, pp. 219–​36. Manuals of Romance Linguistics 4. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015. Lafeuille, Germaine. Les Amphorismes Ypocras de Martin de Saint Gille 1362–​1365. Geneva: Droz, 1954. —​—​. Les Commentaires de Martin de Saint-​Gille sur les Amphorisme Ypocras. Geneva: Droz, 1964. Latham, J. D. “Arabic into Medieval Latin.” Journal of Semitic Studies 17.1 (1972): 30–​67. McVaugh, Michael. The Rational Surgery of the Middle Ages. Tavamuzze: SISMEL, Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2006. Matheson, Lister M., ed. Popular and Practical Science of Medieval England. Medieval Texts and Studies 11. East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1994. Mensching, G. “Eléments lexicaux et textes occitans en caractères hébreux.” In Trotter, Manuel de la Philologie, pp. 237–​64. Montgomery, Scott L. Science in Translation: Movements of Knowledge through Cultures and Time. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. Mooney, L. R. “Manuscript Evidence for the Use of Medieval English Scientific and Utilitarian Texts.” In Interstices. Studies in Middle English and Anglo-​Latin Texts in Honour of A. G. Rigg, pp. 184–​202. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004. Muratova, Xenia. “The Decorated Manuscripts of the Bestiary of Philippe de Thaon (the ms. 3466 from the Royal Library in Copenhagen and the ms. 249 in the Merton College Library, Oxford) and the Problem of the Illustrations of the Medieval Poetical Bestiary.” In The Third International Beast Epic, Fable and Fabliau Colloquium, Münster 1979, Proceedings, edited by J. Goossens and Timothy Sodmann, pp. 217–​46. Niederdeutsche Studien. Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 1981. Pasca, Maria. La Scuola Medica Salernitana: storia, immagini, manoscritti dall’XI al XIII secolo. Naples: Electa Napoli, 1988. Pseudo-​Aristote, Le Secret des Secrets. Traduction du XVe siècle. Edited by D. Loree. Paris: Champion, 2017. Pym, Anthony. Negotiating the Frontier: Translators and Intercultures in Hispanic History. Manchester: St Jerome Publishing, 2000. Rankovič, Slavica, ed. Modes of Authorship in the Middle Ages. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2012.

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Rinaldi, Pietro. “Appunti per una nuova edizione del compendio occitanico versaggiato della Chirurgia di Ruggero Frugardo.” Cultura Neolatina 69 (2009): 329–​442. Shore, Lys Ann. “The Continuum of Translation as Seen in Three Middle French Treatises on Comets.” In Translation and the Transmission of Culture between 1300 and 1600, edited by Jeanette Beer and K. Lloyd-​Jones, pp. 1–​53. Studies in Medieval Culture 35. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995. Speer, Andreas, and Lydia Wegener, eds. Wissen über Grenzen: Arabisches Wissen und lateinisches Mittelalter, Miscellanea Mediaevalia 33. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 2006. Taavitsainen, I., and P. Pahta. “Vernacularisation of Medical Writing in English: A Corpus-​Based Study of Scholasticism.” Early Science and Medicine 3.2 (1998): 157–​85. —​—​, eds. Medieval and Scientific Writing in Late Medieval English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Trotter, David A. Manuel de la philologie. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2015. —​—​. “Les manuscrits latins de la Chirurgia d’Albucasis et la lexicographie du latin medieval.” Archivum Latinitatis Medii Aevi (Bulletin Du Cange) 59.1 (2001): 181–​202. —​—​. “Translation and the Development of Scholarly and Scientific Discourse:  Early Medical Translations and Multilingual Lexicography.” In Übersetzung. Translation. Traduction 2, edited by Harald Kittel, Juliane House, and Birgitte Schultze, pp. 1073–​81. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 2007. Valls, Helen. “Illustrations as Abstracts: The Illustrative Programme in a Montpellier Manuscript of Roger Frugardi’s Chirurgia.” Medicina nei secoli 8 (1996): 67–​83. Ventura, Iolanda. “Il Circa instans attribuito a Platearius: trasmissione manoscritta, redazioni, criteri di costruzione di un’edizione critica.” Revue d’histoire des textes 10 (2015): 249–​362. Voigts, Linda Ehrsam, and Patricia Deery Kurtz. Scientific and Medieval Writings in Old and Middle English:  An Electronic Reference. Society for Early English and Norse Electronic Texts. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001. Wittlin, Curt J. “Les traducteurs au moyen âge: Observations sur leurs techniques et difficultés.” In Actes du XIIIe congrès international de linguistique et philologie romanes, vol. 2, pp. 601–​11. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 1976. Zonta, Mauro. “The Jewish Mediation in the Transmission of Arabo-​Islamic Science and Philosophy in the Latin Middle Ages: Historical Overview and Perspectives of Research.” In Speer and Wegener, Wissen über Grenzen, pp. 89–​105. —​—​. “Medieval Hebrew Translations: Methods and Textual Problems.” In Les Traducteurs au travail: leurs manuscrits et leurs méthodes, edited by Jacqueline Hamesse, pp. 129–​42. Turnhout: Brepols, 2001.

Anthony Hunt is a Fellow of the British Academy, Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, and Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques. After lecturing at the University of St Andrews he became successively Besse Fellow, Vice Master, Senior Research Fellow, and Emeritus Fellow at St Peter’s College, University of Oxford. His research interests have been concentrated in medieval medicine and its vernacularization, the edition of Anglo-​Norman texts, publication of French adaptations of Latin “school” texts (“Auctores Octo”) from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, and the editing of Old French versions of biblical texts (Song of Songs, Book of Proverbs). He is currently Co-​President of the Anglo-​Norman Text Society.

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14 MODERN THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO  MEDIEVAL TRANSLATION MICHELLE R. WARREN

This chapter explores some of the ways in which modern literary theory opens insights into medieval European translations. Rather than drawing a distinction between theoretical approaches that apply to medieval studies and those that do not, I will explore a few examples that might in turn inspire readers to their own insights. It is my hope that over time readers of this Companion to Medieval Translation will posit many more modern theoretical approaches to medieval translation than can be suggested here. We might even imagine that some of the particularities of medieval European theories of translation could themselves be codified as approaches to texts from other times and places. It is the nature of theory, after all, to exceed its context. Connections grow by analogy across times, places, and cultures. In keeping with this volume’s focus, my comments are primarily addressed to Latinate and Germanic languages, although some aspects may apply to other language groups (and Arabic should certainly be included among the medieval European languages). With these premises in mind, I turned to several relatively recent guides to translation studies to assess how they characterize medieval studies and how they define theoretical approaches. On the first count, medievalists will not be surprised to learn that the codified discipline of translation studies remains oriented primarily toward contemporary contexts. For example, neither Critical Readings in Translation Studies (2010) nor The Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies (2013) address medieval topics.1 A Companion to Translation Studies (2014) does touch on premodern contexts, seemingly because its broader global scope brought attention 1  Baker, Critical Readings; Millán and Bartrina, The Routledge Handbook.

2  Bermann and Porter, A Companion to Translation Studies, pp.  191–​203, 204–​16, 504–​15.

to Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese.2 In these cases, the modern languages are treated as more closely tied to their older forms than Latinate and Germanic languages (with the notable exception of an essay by Kathleen Davis on Old English). The pervasive presentism of these collections underscores both the need for the present volume and the potential for medieval studies to broaden the discipline of translation studies. Theory is one way to build this two-​way street. And translation studies collections provide many roadmaps, with extensive and varied discussions of modern theory. The references are too numerous to summarize usefully, ranging from philosophy to sociology and psycholinguistics. Suffice it to say that, broadly speaking, theory displaces binary hierarchies and fixed categories with an array of supple relationships among texts. If, in traditional paradigms, source texts are originals that have priority over their derivative translations, modern theory conceptualizes translations that have their own independent value. If, in traditional paradigms, authors have priority over translators, modern theory problematizes intention, agency, and subjectivity in ways that unravel both the author’s authority and the translator’s dependence. If, in traditional paradigms, translators must choose between “sense-​for-​sense” and “word-​for-​word” renderings, modern theory shows their mutual entanglements. In all these ways, modern theory challenges basic assumptions about textual relations, with broad repercussions for how translation intersects with power, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, and other aspects of culture. Somewhat counterintuitively, modern theory’s challenges to traditional paradigms can help medievalists develop approaches to translation that are finely tuned to historical particularities. When sources are often unknown, authorship unclear, and languages themselves in flux, theories that resist stability and knowability are “historically accurate.” When Edwin Gentzler asks, for example, “What is it like to

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think of translation without a native language or homeland?”3 he refers to the twenty-first century but also accidentally describes common medieval circumstances. Modern theory thus helps us recognize the variable relationships between historical and present social formations. Rather than bringing deforming biases to the past, such theories can help identify those biases and mitigate their effects. Modern theory thus draws us closer to medieval Europe by helping us to distinguish between the aspects of translation that inhere in language per se and those that are conditioned by context. When we can pinpoint the nature of historical difference, we can also discover commonalities that keep the medieval from receding irretrievably into the past. These discoveries will keep students and scholars reading and making translations of medieval texts for many generations to come. Medievalists have been engaging with modern theory for as long as there has been modern theory. The recent collection edited by Emma Campbell and Robert Mills, Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory (2012), provides a useful snapshot of some of this work. Campbell and Mills address medieval topics with modern theorists while also seeking “to demonstrate how contemporary reflections on the ethics and politics of translation may need to be reconfigured or reframed when applied to medieval examples.”4 They rightly affirm that “an ethics of translation that is self-​reflexive about its past and about the modernist assumptions on which it has sometimes relied” needs both theory and the Middle Ages.5 Campbell and Mills cast the ethical turn as an extension or refinement of postcolonial discourse analysis, itself one of the logical outcomes of post-​structuralism (with its contestation of fixed hierarchies and stable meanings). Ethics is in fact one of the “future challenges” for translation studies overall, according to the recent guides.6 And so the essays gathered by Campbell and Mills are at the forefront of both medieval translation studies and translation studies per se. In their dialogue with theory, Campbell and Mills refer primarily to three authors: Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, and Lawrence Venuti. These thinkers can serve as shortcuts into some of the issues that characterize modern theoretical approaches. Each has been broadly influential across different strands of translation theory as well as regularly referenced 3  Gentzler, Translation and Rewriting, p. 7.

4  Campbell and Mills, Rethinking Medieval Translation, p. 7. 5  Campbell and Mills, Rethinking Medieval Translation, p. 7.

6  Van Wyke, “Translation and Ethics”; Baker, “The Changing Landscape,” p. 23.

within medieval studies. In fact, they are the only theorists cited repeatedly across the essays in Rethinking Medieval Translation. They also form a significant chain of mutual reference:  Venuti begins his edited volume of translation theory with Benjamin and has also translated a lecture by Derrida; one of Derrida’s most significant engagements with translation includes an exegesis of Benjamin. Each in turn has been drawn into so many theoretical discussions that they can lead us almost anywhere—​ from political philosophy to postcolonial studies to queer theory.

Three (or Four) Signposts

Benjamin is ubiquitous in translation studies due to his essay, “Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers” (1923). The essay served originally as a prologue to Benjamin’s German translation of Charles Baudelaire’s Tableaux parisiens. As a translator’s prologue that has taken on a life of its own, Benjamin’s essay reminds us that medieval prologues can also serve as more than descriptions of the texts they preface. Like Benjamin’s essay, they can be treated as autonomous theo­retical statements with broader implications for other texts, including those in other languages, genres, and even time periods. Perhaps the primary reason that Benjamin commands medievalists’ attention is the essay’s last sentence: “The interlinear version of the holy scriptures is the prototype or ideal of all translation.”7 Interlinear translation and gloss (the distinction itself raises a host of theoretical questions) are defining features of many medieval books, not just scriptures. For Benjamin, this mode represents the ideal because it performs his claim that the “truth” of a text emerges from the original and the translation together (rather than residing solely in the original, only partly extracted in the translation). The translator’s task is to release this “kernel of pure language”8 that conjoins and transcends both versions. Scripture, with its referent to a single unified truth, is only the most extreme example of this relationship. The religious analogy suggests the special import of Benjamin’s theories for any medieval text inflected with religious imagery or function. Indeed, Campbell and Mills suggest that religious texts may be one of the most significant areas for active negotiation between modern theory and medieval translation.9 Benjamin’s interlinear model is taken up by Simon Gaunt to assess modern translations of medieval texts. These texts are 7  Rendall, “The Translator’s Task,” p. 165. 8  Rendall, “The Translator’s Task,” p. 162.

9  Campbell and Mills, Rethinking Medieval Translation, pp. 7–​8.

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fundamental to teaching—​and thus formative of every medievalist in some fashion (we all started somewhere, as I have pointed out elsewhere10). Gaunt argues that the advantages brought by ease of access can also bring disadvantages, as the medieval text itself becomes superfluous. He suggests, for example, that the translations in the French series Lettres gothiques provide such smooth reading experiences that the left-​hand page of medieval French can be entirely ignored. He proposes replacing facing page layouts with interlinear translations in order to maintain the interdependence of the two texts, forcing us “to look directly at the source text.”11 Gaunt’s practical proposal, combined with Benjamin’s theory of the interlinear, might disrupt the negative connotations that interlinear translations often have in the pedagogical context. For example, on the website Interlinear Translations of Some of The Canterbury Tales, the modern English translations are cast as “merely a pony and by no means can they serve as a substitute for the original, nor even for a good translation.” Here, the modern translation is barely given the status of a text. In light of Benjamin’s theory, however, the modern English text becomes integral to the “kernel of pure language” at the heart of Chaucer’s expression. Finally, it is significant that the translations that follow Benjamin’s preface are neither interlinear nor facing page. Instead, a French poem is printed on the verso with the corresponding German translation on the recto; longer poems appear in their entirety across two or more pages. With the simultaneous view of source and target always impossible, the book stands as a material intervention in translation theory on par with the preface. The symbiotic relationship between source and translation in Benjamin’s theory means that translation affects both the original language and the target language. Benjamin gives the translation agency, stating at one point: “the original is changed.”12 Benjamin’s metaphor for this mutual transformation is a broken vessel that can be reassembled: original and translation are “fragments of a vessel, as fragments of a greater language”; the pieces must “correspond to each other in the tiniest details but need not resemble each other.”13 The vessel metaphor is doubly significant for medieval languages that are not fixed in their forms: the edges of the fragments are themselves in flux, amplifying the agency of translation. 10  Warren, “Translation,” pp. 65–​66.

Theoretical Approaches to Medieval Translation

In medieval-​to-​medieval translation, languages are literally forming each other. In medieval-​to-​modern translation, our modern tongues are re-​releasing and re-​configuring their relations with history. Both processes are affected by the ways in which translation itself serves as a metaphor for transparency, as Zrinka Stahuljak has shown, drawing on Benjamin.14 Fittingly, the translation of Benjamin’s essay has broadly determined the meaning of the “original.” The English rendition by Harry Zohn (1968) and the French one by Maurice de Gandillac (1971) have both greatly influenced modern theory. Both, moreover, have recently been the subject of reception studies, including new translations in both languages.15 This multiplicity of versions echoes the textual conditions medievalists often encounter. Just like many medieval texts, modern theory comes to us freighted with linguistic variability, interpretative reception, and recensions. Medievalists are well equipped to take account of the mouvance at the heart of modern theory, where language-​ and nation-​specific translations have shaped divergent conceptual norms, all attributed to the same “author.” Theory’s transmission through translation is an eminently medieval topic. Benjamin’s afterlives lead straight to the second ubiquitous essay at the intersection of modern theory and medieval translation, Derrida’s “Des Tours de Babel.” Like Benjamin, Derrida has written a translator’s prologue, only in this case to someone else’s translation—​Maurice de Gandillac’s French translation of Benjamin’s German essay. This misdirection plunges us into the slippery turns of Derrida’s theories of language. Everything about his engagement with Benjamin performs his central claim that it is impossible to “give back” meaning through translation. First, without yet naming “La tâche du traducteur,” Derrida avers that his theme should have led him “elsewhere,” to a different essay by Benjamin, but that he found this one “better centered around its theme.”16 Of course, this is a joke, since Derrida’s discussion of Babel has already dismantled the concept of centring. The feint continues as Derrida states that he will refer to Gandillac’s French translation, yet begins the next sentence with the first word of the German title, Aufgabe. The analysis that extends over the following pages is liberally sprinkled with German words, including insertions within direct quotes from the French translation.

11  Gaunt, “Untranslatable,” pp. 254–​55.

14  Stahuljak, “Epistemology of Tension.”

13  Rendall, “The Translator’s Task,” p. 161.

16  Graham, “Des Tours de Babel,” p. 175.

12  Rendall, “The Translator’s Task,” p. 155.

15  Nouss, Walter Benjamin’s Essay.

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These insertions belie the claim to a single source. In this way, they perform two of Derrida’s signature concepts, différance and supplément, which together render “the original” unthinkable. Translation becomes both impossible (to the extent that it requires an original text to be translated) and absolutely necessary (to the extent that meaning is always deferred). One is put in mind of medieval translators’ prologues that refer to non-​existent sources.17 The self-​cancelling duality that Derrida identifies with, and within, translation finds its original expression in the myth of Babel. Derrida characterizes Babel as always already fractured into multiplicity, making it a “the myth of the origin of myth, the metaphor of metaphor, the narrative of narrative, the translation of translation, and so on.”18 In addition to encapsulating Derrida’s impossible aporia of language, Babel refers us once again to scripture, keeping the sacred at the centre of the drama of translation: “The sacred and the being-​to-​be-​ translated [l’être-​à-​traduire] do not lend themselves to thought one without the other.”19 In the conflation of the “letter” with “being” (the homophones l’être, lettre), translation touches on fundamental questions of existence. This mode of reading, moreover, is familiarly medieval. As Miranda Griffin has pointed out, Derrida uses a “messianic idiom of anticipation, annunciation, and revelation.”20 Griffin demonstrates a parallel between how Derrida reads translation into Babel and how the Ovide moralisé reads Christianity into a Roman text: Derrida’s method illustrates a “thoroughly medieval reading practice to detect in earlier texts ideas which are revealed by later ones.”21 Here again, the medieval is always already in modern theory and theory is always already in the medieval. Alongside myth, Derrida elaborates on metaphor, building on Benjamin’s images while also warping them in new directions. Benjamin, for example, introduces the metaphor of translation as a royal mantle enveloping its content, by which he illustrates his idea that translation can elevate the status of the original without deforming its meaning.22 From this image, Derrida imagines an elaborate political economy: the mantle (or cape), to be royal, must surround a king’s body, which to be royal must be married, which requires a promise of marriage, 17  For example, Dearnley, Translators and their Prologues. 18  Graham, “Des Tours de Babel,” p. 165.

a bride’s wedding gown, a sacred oath, and an intact hymen.23 This extended scenario goes beyond metaphor to allegory, which Griffin associates with the medieval veil of allegory.24 Ultimately, the translation operates a mystical heterosexual intercourse, an encounter that performs the marriage promise while leaving the original more virgin than before.25 At the end of this allegory, Derrida reminds us that he is reading Benjamin in translation: “More or less faithfully I have taken some liberty with the tenor of the original … I have added another cape, floating even more.”26 This tongue-​twisting conclusion grants us the freedom to mistranslate without betraying the past. Indeed, it is a beautiful motto for medieval translation studies. For fidelity to the past requires freedom, and only by taking some liberties will we remain faithful. The truth of “more or less” shines through the folds of translation that engulf Derrida’s own concluding sentence: Derrida ends his essay by repeating Benjamin’s last sentence. In French, however, “interlinear” (German, English) is “intralinéaire.” The contrast between inter-​ (between two things) and intra-​(within one thing) exposes a profound conceptual difference among the languages regarding the relation between a text and a gloss written alongside. The difference between “between the lines” (interlinear) and “within the lines” (intralinéaire) pinpoints the malleability of difference itself. When one kind of boundary distinction (between, within) is made equivalent to its opposite, translation is once again both impossible and necessary. What is more, the French concept intralinéaire is “truer” to Benjamin’s theory than even the German itself, for Benjamin conceptualizes the source and the translation as a single whole. The French translation of Benjamin thus reveals a true meaning by betraying the original meaning. Meanwhile, the English translation of Derrida achieves a different truth by seeming not to translate at all from the original (German) that is not in fact its source. Such conundrums make différance a sacred principle of translation. The publishing record of Derrida’s essay, much like Benjamin’s, raises its own issues for translation and mouvance. This record provides meaningful analogies for medieval textual transmission even as it shows again how medievalists are particularly equipped to assess the intricacies of modern theory. First of all, Derrida’s essay has no clear first publication

19  Graham, “Des Tours de Babel,” p. 191.

23  Graham, “Des Tours de Babel,” pp. 191–​94.

21  Griffin, “Translation and Transformation,” p. 54.

25  Graham, “Des Tours de Babel,” p. 192.

20  Griffin, “Translation and Transformation,” p. 47. 22  Rendall, “The Translator’s Task,” p. 158.

24  Griffin, “Translation and Transformation,” pp. 51–​52. 26  Graham, “Des Tours de Babel,” p. 195.

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date, first version, or even first language. It appeared in print in 1985 in two venues: an English translation followed by a French “Appendix” in Difference in Translation and in French in a collection celebrating Benjamin’s French translator Maurice de Gandillac.27 This latter essay is signed “Paris-​Yale, 1979,” seeming to fix the date—​yet the place is now an impossible amalgam. In terms of their arrival in the public sphere, all three texts happen “at once.” Both French texts published in 1985 are called the “first version” when the second version appears in 1987 in Psyché: inventions de l’autre. The first variant occurs in the third line: “Si nous considérons”28 and “Considérons.”29 The difference between a conditional and a command is a symptomatic Derridean question. Even without elaborating further on the French publishing record (there is more!), the workings of mouvance are clear. The splintered record of Derrida’s French essay is amplified with the anthologizing of Graham’s English translation. From the 1990s on, those who have sought a concise English introduction to Derrida’s work have found no Benjamin in “Des Tours de Babel”: A Derrida Reader (1991) ends just before the paragraph that includes Benjamin.30 Those who seek an authoritative introduction to translation also miss Benjamin in Theories of Translation (1992), although they get one additional paragraph between ellipses.31 More recently, the anthology Global Literary Theory (2013) has put Benjamin back in circulation, although again excerpted. In a lovely irony, the section excised from Derrida’s text begins: “Here two questions before going closer to the truth.”32 Thus in a new anthology that aims to expand the bounds of literary theory, we are stopped three steps before the truth of translation that Derrida ultimately promises. Through excerpting, these anthologies turn Derrida’s text into its own supplement, yet shear away the theoretical 27  Graham, “Des Tours de Babel” (English); Derrida, “Des Tours de Babel,” in Difference in Translation (French); Derrida, “Des Tours de Babel,” in L’Art des confins (French). Ángeles Carrerres delves into the poetics of Graham’s translation (“The Scene of Babel”).

28  Derrida, “Des Tours de Babel,” Arts des confins, p. 209; Difference in Translation, p. 209. 29  Derrida, “Des Tours de Babel,” Psyché, p. 203.

30  Kamuf, “The Task of the Translator”; Graham, “Des Tours de Babel,” p. 175. 31  Shulte and Biguenet, “Des Tours de Babel”; Graham, “Des Tours de Babel,” p. 184. 32  Lane, “The Task of the Translator”; Graham, “Des Tours de Babel,” p. 191.

Theoretical Approaches to Medieval Translation

import of this procedure. Medieval translation studies, however, can return the favor by exposing the theoretical significance of textual transmission. Translation of Derrida brings us finally to Venuti. He is most known for his work targeting the ethics of the translator’s visibility in the history and practice of translation.33 He identifies a long history in which translators were meant to efface their impact and render texts that fit seamlessly into readers’ cultural expectations—​a mode he labels “domestication” of the source text via translation. For medievalists, domestication corresponds to relations with the past based on similarity or continuity. By contrast, Venuti proposes an approach that challenges readers’ expectations—​ a mode he labels “foreignization.” For medievalists, foreignization corresponds to relations with the past based on difference or rupture. In practice, translations (and medievalists) intermingle domestication and foreignization, to various ends. Much engagement with Venuti, by medievalists or others, aims to elucidate the dynamic interactions of “saming” and “othering” in particular texts as well as their effects on readers.34 When we think about the Middle Ages itself through this translational paradigm, we can see how modern theory helps maintain a dynamic balance between difference and similarities, distance and closeness. Rather than de-​ historicizing the European Middle Ages, modern theoretical approaches to translation have import far beyond literal translation. In order to illustrate how Venuti’s theories can sharpen historical focus in translation studies, I will focus on his analysis of his translation of a Derrida lecture, “Qu’est-​ce qu’une traduction ‘relevant’?” Venuti’s commentary on “Translating Derrida” draws on the broad themes of his work: the interplay of domestication and foreignization, along with methods for disrupting the legacy of the “translator’s invisibility.” He points out how English translations of Derrida have largely used an American English idiom that “domesticated” Derrida’s often unconventional French syntax. By reducing the “foreignness” of the idiom, translators paved the way for Derrida’s smooth reception in American academic discourse. By contrast, Venuti endeavoured to render Derrida’s style in a way that would sound as unfamiliar in English as it does already in French.35 Venuti describes his approach as implementing Philip Lewis’s concept of “abusive fidelity.”36 33  Venuti, The Translator’s Invisibility and The Scandals of Translation. 34  For example, Sutherland, “Beuve d’Hantone /​Bovo d’Antona.” 35  Venuti, “Translating Derrida,” 250–​51. 36  Venuti, “Translating Derrida,” 252.

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This kind of translation “values experimentation, tampers with usage, seeks to match the polyvalencies and plurivocities or expressive stresses of the original by producing its own.”37 In fact, Lewis proposed the concept specifically to account for translation of Derrida into English.38 For Venuti, following Lewis, the “abusively faithful translation” works in two directions, pressing on the source language as much as it does on the target language, resisting transparency in all directions by calling attention to discursive practices.39 This double process parallels Benjamin’s theory of how a translation affects its source. Since medievalists in translation studies are just as interested in analyzing the source as the target, especially when the source is medieval, Venuti’s approach has great power as a method for historical study. A theoretical approach that exposes the labor of interpretation and makes the reader also a translator40 suits medieval studies, as historical distance ensures that there is no “ease of reading.” We can never be sure that a particular translator sought or achieved “fluent translating”41 without enormous labors of interpretation. We need first to hypothesize what fluency even looked like, filtering our efforts through our own always partial fluency. Venuti’s attention to the interplays of linguistics and culture thus has substantial implications for medieval translation studies. The content of Derrida’s lecture furthers Venuti’s own theories with its theme of “relevance,” a word situated ambiguously between French and English.42 Is the word relevant English or French? The homograph collapses the boundary between language systems. This polyglot ambiguity points to the great relevance of these modern theories for medieval texts, where homographs and homophones abound. Whether they result from translations or original expressions by multilingual writers, they are amplified by historically porous boundaries 38  Lewis is entangled with the Benjamin-​Derrida-​Venuti chain in other ways as well. His essay appears first in the volume that ends with Derrida’s “Tour de Babel”; it is reprinted alongside Benjamin in Venuti’s The Translation Studies Reader. Lewis describes his essay as “a kind of ‘free’ translation” of an earlier version published in French (1981), where he analyzes the English translation of Derrida’s “La mythologie blanche.”

between language systems. How modern translations resolve these ambiguities raises further questions for medieval studies. We might even ask about homographs across time: can we always tell if a word is medieval or modern? Translation can have homogenizing affects on linguistic, geographic, and historical differences. Indeed, modern translations of medieval texts are part of the same global publishing infrastructure that Venuti faults for reinforcing a single world-​dominant “English.” Instead, Venuti draws attention to the many “Englishes” throughout the world: “a translation practice can turn the interpretation of translated texts into an act of geopolitical awareness.”43 Medievalists might replace “political” with “historical,” but the impact of diversified translation practice can be similar. The availability of manuscripts, editions, and translations for teaching and research is shaped by the same forces that condition modern translation studies. Venuti’s approach, like Benjamin’s, ask us to assess these forces at the same time that we assess “the text itself.” A fourth influential theory must also be discussed, even though not appearing in Rethinking Medieval Translation:  polysystems theory. In this approach, first elaborated by Itamar Even-​Zohar in the 1970s, the value of a given text is determined by interactions among textual systems rather than through inherent properties. Polysystems theory rejects “value judgments of cultures and culture production: a text does not reach the apex of hierarchy due to some inherent ‘beauty’ or ‘verity’, but because of the nature of the target polysystem, and because of the difference between certain aspects of the text and current cultural norms.”44 Translation does not operate with predefined textual systems that have fixed internal rules, but rather in a system of systems whose interactions change over time. The place of a text in the system is not predetermined, the centre and periphery are not fixed. Over time Even-​Zohar moved from linguistic translation to a broader notion of transfer45—​a move well suited to medieval studies, where translatio refers to many transfers besides interlingual ones. Indeed, largely due to the fact that polysystems theory endeavours to not take for granted any textual category, it has proven genial to the medieval context where genres and the very definition of “literary” are often quite distinct from modern frames. Lynn Long, for example, uses the example of fourteenth-​century England to show how

40  Venuti, “Translating Derrida,” p. 255.

43  Venuti, “Translating Derrida,” p. 259.

42  Venuti, “Translating Derrida,” pp. 251–​52.

45  Ben-​Ari, “An Open System of Systems,” p. 147.

37  Lewis, “The Measure of Translation Effects,” p. 41.

39  Venuti, “Translating Derrida,” pp. 255, 258; Lewis, “The Measure of Translation Effects,” p. 43. 41  Venuti, “Translating Derrida,” p. 258.

44  Ben-​Ari, “An Open System of Systems,” p. 147.

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translated literature moved from the centre of a “weak host system” to the periphery as the English language gained cultural prestige.46 The texts themselves may have remained the same, but their function in the system responded to changes in other cultural systems. Polysystems theory reinforces some of Venuti’s conclusions about culture and translation, especially in regard to the politics of language and market value. For example, polysystems theory provides a similarly cogent structure for assessing the cultural work of modern translations. For starters, modern translations of medieval texts form a distinct and identifiable canon of “best sellers.” These in turn affect the canon of medieval literature because their breadth of readership drives attention to certain “originals” more than others. In some places the historical and modern canons may coincide, but in others the two systems may be in conflict or tension. In all cases, they are mutually influencing each other in an ongoing process shaped as much by surviving manuscripts as by global print marketing in the twenty-​first century. Something that was important in the past may not be so in the present due to translation access, or length, or other factors “out of step” with modern textual and cultural systems. Digital networking is another system that is impacting the textual canon, with media transfer functioning as another kind of translation. Digitized access can enable new canons to form, although resources for expensive projects are perhaps more likely to follow established canons. Polysystems theory can help pinpoint how changing communication technologies are affecting both linguistic and material transfers, and thus the future of medieval studies as a discipline.

Conclusions

The onramps on the road between modern theory and medieval translation are infinite. For this reason I  will not endeavour to enumerate possibilities for future applications of modern theory to medieval translation. This volume itself touches on thematic areas such as faith, gender, science, and pleasure. Many further ideas can be found in the collections referenced throughout this chapter. In my own past work, I have been especially drawn to postcolonial approaches, highlighting how translation negotiates power relations, both in the Middle Ages and in the modern reception of medieval texts and cultures.47 Theories that deconstruct the 46  Long, “Medieval Literature.”

47  Warren, “Making Contact” and “The Politics of Textual Scholarship.”

Theoretical Approaches to Medieval Translation

isomorphic relation between nation and language do much to illuminate medieval contexts, where neither nations nor languages had consolidated forms. Power negotiations extend to gender studies, where queer and transgender theories have significant implications for old metaphors that rely on gender binaries, attribute essentialized gender roles to translation functions, or privilege difference over resemblance. Theory can also conceptualize textual relations not based on genealogy and influences.48 Ultimately, modern theory expands the dimensions of “textual life” that are susceptible to explanation. Theory, translation, and medieval studies have all been formative for the discipline of comparative literature. Medievalists’ engagement with translation theory can enable new scholarly connections across traditional period divisions, deepening cultural understanding for all. In keeping with my method for this chapter of taking field-​defining anthologies as effective shortcuts through vast intellectual terrain, let me take up in conclusion The Princeton Sourcebook of Comparative Literature: From the European Enlightenment to the Global Present (2009).49 Medievalists will notice right away that the subtitle leaves no room for premodern intellectual histories. Within the book, though, scholars of medieval Europe find familiar founding figures—​Ernst Robert Curtius and Erich Auerbach. Likewise, translation studies scholars find familiar theorists—​Even-​Zohar and Venuti. The final essay by Emily Apter, “A New Comparative Literature,” proposes to re-​centre comparative literature around translation, with reference to Benjamin and Derrida, among others. These intersections suggest new ways of locating medieval studies within comparative literature. As comparative literature has critically addressed its Eurocentric foundations, the European Middle Ages have been largely sidelined by multiculturalism and globalization.50 However, as medievalist Adam Miyashiro has shown in the most recent “State of the Discipline Report,” this re-​orientation of the discipline is in fact wholly compatible with medieval Europe.51 Through translation theory, then, medieval studies can reinvigorate the relation between the Middle Ages and comparative literature in the twenty-​first century. 48  Reinhard, “Kant with Sade.”

49  Damrosch, Melas, and Buthelezi, The Princeton Sourcebook.

50  Bernheimer, Comparative Literature; Saussy, Comparative Literature.

51  Miyashiro, “Periodization.”

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Bibliography

Baker, Mona. “The Changing Landscape of Translation and Interpreting Studies.” In A Companion to Translation Studies, edited by Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter, pp. 15–​27. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2014. —​—​, ed. Critical Readings in Translation Studies. New York: Routledge, 2010. Ben-​Ari, Nitza. “An Open System of Systems: Itamar Even-​Zohar and the Polysystem Theory.” In The Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies, edited by Carmen Millán and Francesca Bartrina, pp. 144–​50. London: Routledge, 2013. Benjamin, Walter. “Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers.” In Tableaux Parisiens: Deutsche Übertragung mit einem Vorwort über die Aufgabe des Übersetzers, französisch und deutsch, translated by Walter Benjamin, pp. vii–xvii. Heidelberg: Verlag von Richard Weißbach, 1923. https://archive.org/CharlesBaudelaireTableauxParisiens. Bermann, Sandra, and Catherine Porter, eds. A Companion to Translation Studies. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2014. Bernheimer, Charles, ed. Comparative Literature in an Age of Multiculturalism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995. Campbell, Emma, and Robert Mills, eds. Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory. Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012. Carreres, Ángeles. “The Scene of Babel: Translating Derrida on Translation.” Translation Studies 1 (2008): 167–​81. https:/​doi. org/​10.1080/​14781700802113481. Damrosch, David, Natalie Melas, and Mbongiseni Buthelezi, eds. The Princeton Sourcebook of Comparative Literature: From the European Enlightenment to the Global Present. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009. Davis, Kathleen. “Intralingual Translation and the Making of a Language.” In A Companion to Translation Studies, edited by Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter, pp. 586–​98. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2014. Dearnley, Elizabeth. Translators and their Prologues in Medieval England. Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2016. Derrida, Jacques. “Des Tours de Babel.” In L’Art des confins: mélanges offerts à Maurice de Gandillac, edited by Anne Cazenave and Jean-​François Lyotard, pp. 209–​37. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1985. —​—​. “Des Tours de Babel.” In Difference in Translation, edited by Joseph F. Graham, pp. 209–​48. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985. —​—​. “Des Tours de Babel.” In Psyché: inventions de l’autre [1987], pp. 203–​35. Paris: Galilée, 1998. —​—​. “Qu’est-​ce qu’une traduction ‘relevante’?” In Quinzièmes Assises de la Traduction Littéraire (Arles 1998), pp. 21–​48. Arles: Actes Sud, 1999. Gandillac, Maurice de, trans. “La tâche du traducteur.” In Œuvres de Walter Benjamin, vol. 1, pp. 261–​75. Paris: Desnoël, 1971. Gaunt, Simon. “Untranslatable: A Response.” In Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory, edited by Emma Campbell and Robert Mills, pp. 243–​55. Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012. Gentzler, Edwin. Translation and Rewriting in the Age of Post-Translation Studies. New York: Routledge, 2017. Graham, Joseph F., trans. “Des Tours de Babel” by Jacques Derrida. In Difference in Translation, edited by Joseph F. Graham, pp. 165–​207. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985. Griffin, Miranda. “Translation and Transformation in the Ovide moralisé.” In Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory, edited by Emma Campbell and Robert Mills, pp. 41–​60. Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012. Interlinear Translations of Some of The Canterbury Tales. http://​sites.fas.harvard.edu/​~chaucer/​teachslf/​tr-​index.htm. Kamuf, Peggy, ed. Excerpt of “The Task of The Translator,” translated by Joseph F. Graham. In A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, pp. 243–​53. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. Lane, Richard, ed. Excerpt of “The Task of The Translator,” translated by Joseph F. Graham. In Global Literary Theory: An Anthology, pp. 769–​85. New York: Routledge, 2013. Lewis, Philip E. “The Measure of Translation Effects.” In Difference in Translation, edited by Joseph F. Graham, pp. 31–​62. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985. Long, Lynne. “Medieval Literature through the Lens of Translation Theory: Bridging the Interpretive Gap.” Translation Studies 3 (2010): 61–​77. Millán, Carmen, and Francesca Bartrina, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies. London: Routledge, 2013. Miyashiro, Adam. “Periodization.” State of the Discipline, 2014–​15: American Comparative Literature Association. https://​ stateofthediscipline.acla.org/​entry/​periodization.

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Nouss, Alexis, ed. Walter Benjamin’s Essay on Translation: Critical Translations. TTR: traduction, terminologie, rédaction 10.2 (1997). www.erudit.org/​fr/​revues/​ttr/​1997-​v10-​n2-​ttr1487/​. Reinhard, Kenneth. “Kant with Sade, Lacan with Levinas.” MLN 110 (1995): 785–​808. www.jstor.org/​stable/​3251204. Rendall, Steven, trans. “The Translator’s Task,” by Walter Benjamin. TTR: traduction, terminologie, rédaction 102 (1997): 151–​ 65. https://​doi.org/​10.7202/​037302ar, archived at https://​perma.cc/​ZML6-​DECJ. Saussy, Haun, ed. Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. Shulte, Rainer, and John Biguenet, eds. Excerpt of “Des Tours De Babel,” translated by Joseph F. Graham. In Theories of Translation: An Anthology of Essays from Dryden to Derrida, pp. 218–​27. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. Stahuljak, Zrinka. “An Epistemology of Tension: Translation and Multiculturalism.” The Translator 10 (2004): 33–​57. https://​ doi.org/​10.1080/​13556509.2004.10799167. Sutherland, Luke. “Beuve d’Hantone /​Bovo d’Antona: Exile, Translation, and the History of the Chanson de geste.” In Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory, edited by Emma Campbell and Robert Mills, pp. 226–​42. Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012. Van Wyke, Ben. “Translation and Ethics.” In The Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies, edited by Carmen Millán and Francesca Bartrina, pp. 548–​60. London: Routledge, 2013. Venuti, Lawrence. The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference. New York: Routledge, 1998. —​—​. “Translating Derrida on Translation: Relevance and Disciplinary Resistance.” Yale Journal of Criticism 16 (2003): 237–​62. https://​doi.org/​10.1353/​yale.2003.0023. —​—​. The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London: Routledge, 1995; rev. ed. 2008. —​—​, ed. The Translation Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 2000. —​—​, trans. “What Is a ‘Relevant’ Translation?” Critical Inquiry 27 (2001): 174–​200. www.jstor.org/​stable/​1344247. Warren, Michelle R. “Making Contact: Postcolonial Perspectives through Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britannie.” Arthuriana 8.4 (1998): 115–​34. —​—​. “The Politics of Textual Scholarship.” In The Cambridge Companion to Textual Scholarship, edited by Neil Fraistat and Julia Flanders, pp. 119–​33. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. —​—​. “Translation.” In Oxford Twenty-​First Century Approaches to Literature: Middle English, edited by Paul Strohm, pp. 51–​67. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Zohn, Harry, trans. “The Task of the Translator,” by Walter Benjamin. Reprinted in The Translation Studies Reader, edited by Lawrence Venuti, pp. 15–​25. London: Routledge, 2000. Michelle R. Warren is Professor of Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. She is known for her work at the intersection of medieval and postcolonial studies: Creole Medievalism: Colonial France and Joseph Bédier’s Middle Ages; Postcolonial Moves: Medieval Through Modern; and History on the Edge: Excallibur and the Borders of Britain, 1100–​1300. Her most recent work addresses philology, translation, and digital humanities.

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15 OBSERVATIONS ON TRANSLATION BY A THIRTEENTH-​CENTURY MAÎTRE: LI FET DES ROMAINS1 JEANETTE BEER Translators in the Middle Ages did not usually provide explanations in medias res about the translation process. The anonymous translator who compiled Li Fet des Romains was unusual in this regard. Li Fet des Romains is the earliest extant work of ancient historiography—​and biography—​ to be translated from Latin into a European vernacular. It was a monumental undertaking to compile and translate all known materials pertaining to Julius Caesar in the early thirteenth century. The translator’s motivation is unclear, but this much is obvious. He serves no patron. Cognizant of his role as a bridge between the Latin-​literate and the illiterate, “ces laies genz,”2 his devotion to his task never wavers. He believes strongly in its usefulness, yet his target audience is not specified. He works from a context where manuscripts and glosses are available to him, probably the University of Paris. He is happy to express personal views on a variety of subjects, yet feels no need or desire to identify himself. It is difficult to determine whether he is ruminating aloud when he makes occasional comments, or whether his remarks are intended as aids to fellow clercs or students who want to follow his translation example. Whatever the intent, the interpolated additions contribute greatly to our understanding both of medieval translation and of various other aspects of thirteenth-​century culture. This chapter briefly examines his prologue, then focuses upon his observations about the geographic and political context, his sources, conflicts in their information, translative fidelity, and rhetorical devices. 1  The excellent two-​volume edition by L.-​F. Flutre and K. Sneyders de Vogel, published in 1938, remains the standard, indeed the only, reference text. 2  Li Fet des Romains, p. 592, line 27; p. 608, line 8. Subsequent references will be abbreviated as FR.

The Prologue In his prologue, derived from Sallust’s Catilina I and II, he exhorts his public to rise above an unthinking animal existence to seek lasting glory because “[l]‌a vie de l’ome est bries, mes vertuz, raisons et engins fet longue la memoire de l’ome après la mort”3 (Man’s life is short, but virtue, reason, and intelligence cause man to be remembered long after death). He affirms the contemporary usefulness of Roman history, praising “cil qui plus sivent raison et droiture que delit charnel, qui font les proesces ou qui les recordent et metent en escrit … car ou recort des oevres anciennes aprent l’an que l’en doit fere et ke l’en doit lessier”4 (those who pursue reason and righteousness rather than carnal pleasure, who perform deeds of prowess or write them down and record them … for in the record of those ancient works one can learn what to do and what to avoid). Like many medieval prologues, the material appears unoriginal, even formulaic, until he adds a more personal statement of intent by including himself in the worthy company of those who write down and record history, suddenly using the collective/​collaborative first-​person plural pronoun “nos” and the verb “escrire” (write) to align himself with the classical historiographers: “Por ce escrivrons nos ci ilueques les gestes as Romains qui, par lor sens et par lor force et par lor proesce, conquistrent meinte terre; car en lor fez puet en trover asez connoissance de bien fere et de mal eschiver”5 (my emphasis; For this reason we shall write down here the deeds of the Romans who, by their intelligence, force, and prowess, conquered many territories; for in their deeds one can learn how to do good and avoid evil). It is noteworthy 3  FR, p. 1, lines 9–​10.

4  FR, p. 2, lines 16–​20. 5  FR, p. 2, lines 23–​24.

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that he does not use the word “translater” either here or elsewhere to denote the translation/​ compilation/​ composition process to which he has committed himself. That word, although in existence, was reserved for strictly geographical transfers as, for example, when Julius Caesar “translates” i.e., “relocates” his Gallic convention to Lutetia (Paris).

Personal Observations

The translator twice uses the personal pronoun “ge” to speak in his own persona. Arriving at Suetonius’s description of Caesar’s loosely fastened clothing in the Senate, he indulges in a personal reminiscence about Philip Augustus when the king was younger: Quant ge lis de Juilles Cesar que Luces Silla l’apeloit le valet mau ceint, si me membre de monseignor Phelipe le roi de France, que l’en pooit bien apeler le valet mau pingnié quant il estoit joenes, car il estoit torjors hericiez. Ne il n’a pas mains de sens en lui que il ot en Juilles Cesar, fors seulement de letres, ne n’a pas meins eü affere que Juilles ot; et encontre ce qu [J]‌uilles fu letrez, est li rois sanz malice, car la letreüre aguisa Juilles a meint malice.6

(When I read of Julius Caesar that Lucius Sulla called him the badly girt lad, I am reminded of my lord, King Philip of France who certainly deserved to be called a badly groomed young man when young for he was always dishevelled. Nor has he less knowledge than Julius Caesar, with the sole exception of literacy, nor has he less experience; and balanced against the fact that Julius was literate, the king is devoid of malice, for literacy goaded Julius into many malicious acts.)

The comment reveals that he has been acquainted with the king for many years, although it is unclear in what capacity. His comment about Philip’s untidiness when young is affectionately indulgent but not obsequious. His praise of Philip’s ability/​ intelligence (“sens”) is reminiscent of his praise for the Romans’ “sens, force, et proece”7 (intelligence, force, and prowess) which, he claims, were responsible for their military successes. His characterization of Julius Caesar as prone to acts of malice because of his literacy is cryptic. What sort of literacy-​ induced malice is he impugning? Caesar’s order that the Roman cavalry pursue and slaughter women and children 6  FR, p. 18, line 29–​p. 19, line 2. 7  FR, p. 2, line 22.

after a surprise attack on the Germans’ camp? Caesar’s harsh revenge on recalcitrant Gauls? Could he be deploring Caesar’s homosexual dalliance with the king of Bithynia on an expedition to Asia or—​more likely—​Caesar’s prolonged stay in Egypt with Cleopatra, for which, incidentally, the translator blames Cleopatra, “Car tant estoit plesanz et solaceuse et enlaçanz, que nus huem ne se poïst gaitier ne delivrer de li puis que il fust une nuit chaoiz en ses liens”8 (For she was so charming, nurturing, and enfolding that no man could defend or free himself from her after he had fallen into her bondage for a night)? Whatever the didactic message he intends to convey in his biography of the Roman leader, it is clear that Philip Augustus, despite any dubious episodes in his past, comes out ahead of Caesar in the translator’s estimation. Even more telling, the translator does not disapprove of Philip’s lack of literacy. He refrains from suggesting that the king exchange chevalerie for clergie. Clergie is self-​evidently the province of clerics like himself and, thinking in Latin probably, this cleric clearly prefers that the king’s motto in the turbulent second decade of the thirteenth century be militia non malitia. A second comment made in the translator’s own persona of “je” reveals his scorn for France’s enemies, especially the German–​ English–​ Norman alliance that threatened Philip Augustus on the eve of the battle of Bouvines. While translating Lucan’s account of Marius’s lucky escape from death, thanks to a German prison guard who found himself unable to kill the chained Roman commander,9 the translator interrupts this pathetic (non-​)event to make the following observation: Li Tyois entra en la chartre. Quant il ot trete l’espee et il vit Marius en la ch[a]‌iere, il ot tel poor, onques ne l’osa touchier. (Totes eures que il me membre de ceste chose, je tieng por fox et Anglois et Normanz, qui ont fole esperance et quident que Octes li escomeniez, que Diex et seinte Eglise ont degité, doie France envaïr de tele gent. Ne sont pas de grant hardement, quant uns d’els n’osa pas ferir de s’espee celui [qui] estoit enchaennez en une chartre et qui sa gent avoit essilliee).10

(The German entered the prison. When he had drawn his sword and saw Marius in the chair [chains/​ prison?], he was so terrified that he did not dare to touch him. Every time I recall this incident, I think the English and the Normans are crazy when they 8  FR, p. 638, lines 9–​11.

9  Lucan, Bellum civile II, lines 67–​233. 10  FR, p. 365, lines 4–​11.

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entertain foolish hope and actually believe that the excommunicated Otto, rejected by God and Holy Church, will invade France with such people. They are not very brave when one of them did not even dare to draw his sword to strike a chained prisoner who was away from his army.)

This impassioned comment may have been nothing more than personal venting to release his own pent-​up anxieties, but more probably it targeted a wider audience, nervous in the fraught political climate before Bouvines. Allied to this political statement is the translator’s geographical intervention when Caesar reports his motives for relocating his Gallic convention to Lutetia. The translator first explains, “il voloit ce concile translater a Paris, qui lors avoit non Lutece”11 (my emphasis; he decided to move this convention to Paris, which in those days was called Lutetia). When Caesar states that the Senones, neighbours of the Parisii, now feel threatened because the Romans are nearby, the translator adds geographical specificities that will resonate with present-​day Parisians: “Cesar avoit ja passee Yonne et li Romain estoient ja a meïsmes la cité”12 (Caesar had already crossed the Yonne and the Romans were already within reach of the city). The most elaborate addition about Paris occurs after Labienus attacks Lutetia and the translator expands Caesar’s cursory mention of that city—​“Lutetiam proficiscitur. Id est oppidum Parisiorum, quod positum est in insula fluminis Sequanae”13 ([H]‌e departs for Lutetia. That is the town of the Parisii, situated on an island of the river Seine)—​into this discursus on modern Paris: Titus Labienus fu venuz devant Lutece, une des citez principax de France, que l’en apele ore Paris; mes n’estoit pas a icel tens de si grant renomee come ele est ore … La citez seoit en un isle en mi Saine, si come ele fet anquore, et estoient les entrees mout boeuses. Por ice avoit ele non Lutecia, qui sone “boeuse.” Entor le mont Seint Estiene et Seinte Genevieve n’avoit lors nul habitant; mes au tens Seinte Crehelt, qui fonda le mostier dou mon[t]‌en honor de Seint Pierre l’apostre, ou Flodoveus ses barons gist, i conmença l’en [a] habiter et meesmement puis que li rois Chilperiz, qui fu fiuz de lor fill, ot fet un theaitre es vignes qui or sont entre Seinte Genevieve et Seint Victor. De ce

11  FR, p. 214, lines 23–​24.

12  FR, p. 274, lines 17–​31; p. 277, lines 2–​8. 13  Caesar, Bellum gallicum VII, 57.

Observations of a Thirteenth-Century Maître

theaitre duroit encore une partie en estant au jor que li rois Phelipe[s] conmença Paris a ceindre de mur par devers Petit Pont …

[L]‌es ij. oz estoient si logiees sor la rive de Sainne, l’un contre l’autre que il n’avoit entre deus que l’iaue de Marne la ou ele chiet en Sainne, Labienus par devers la Vile Nueve Seint Jorge, Camulogenus par devers Paris, dont il avoit fet les ponz trenchier et les mesons ardoir. Par ce puet l’en veoir que Paris n’estoit par enquore de grant renon.14

(Titus Labienus had reached Lutetia, one of the main French cities, now called Paris; but it was not at that time as widely renowned as it is today … The city was situated on an island in the middle of the Seine, as it still is, and the approaches to it were extremely muddy. That is why it was called Lutetia, which means “muddy.” There were no inhabitants in the vicinity of Mont Saint Etienne and Sainte Genevieve; but habitation began in the time of Saint Clotilde, who founded the Church on the Mount in honor of Saint Peter the Apostle where her husband Clovis now lies, and similarly, after king Chilperic, son of their son, had built a theatre in the vineyards which now lie between Sainte Genevieve and Saint Victor. Part of this theatre was still standing on the day when King Philip began to wall in Paris over by the Petit Pont … [T]‌he two armies were camped opposite each other on the banks of the Seine, separated only by the Marne where it flows into the Seine, Labienus near Villeneuve-​ Saint-​ George, Camulogenus near Paris whose bridges he had destroyed and had burned the houses. From this it is obvious that Paris was not yet greatly renowned.)

The translator’s celebration of post-​Roman Paris with its familiar landmarks and its skyline of Christian monuments, some of them built by the Merovingian conqueror of Gaul and his saintly wife and family; of Paris’s fortifications built by Philip Augustus near the Petit Pont bridge; and of Paris’s muddy surrounds hindering easy access to this strategic island on the Seine: all demonstrate his twice-​repeated affirmation of the renown of modern Paris compared with Lutetia as it was in Caesar’s day. His insertion plays upon city pride while at the same time providing reassurance to fellow Parisians in stressful times. A Gallic chieftain called Camulogenus may have taken the drastic decision to burn Paris’s bridges and 14  FR, p. 274, lines 17–​31; p. 277, lines 2–​8.

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houses to protect his city, but present-​day Paris is not Lutetia, and Philip Augustus is not Camulogenus. Little more can be gleaned about the translator’s identity from the interventions above, but his remarks about his translative choices and methods deserve close attention. There were no precedents for his pioneering project to translate Julius Caesar’s life and deeds from Latin into a European vernacular; therefore his assumptions, decisions, justifications, and even sometimes his absence of comment, are all enlightening.

Sources

Li Fet des Romains is advertised throughout its manuscript history as a compilation of three authors, Sallust, Suetonius, and Lucan: “Li Fet des Romains, compilé ensemble de Saluste et de Suetoine et de Lucan.” Significantly, there is no mention of its main source, namely, Julius Caesar’s commentaries on his Gallic campaigns. The translator’s list of Caesar’s literary achievements demonstrates the limited extent of his information on the subject: Livres fist il meïsmes de ses ovraignes, des batailles de France et contre Pompee, et espystles au senat et a Cyceron, et autres escriz assez que nus ne savoit blasmer. Ja tant ne fust en ost n’en chevalerie que il ne s’estudiast en fere escriz, lues que il avoit un poi de loisir. Il fist .ij. livres que l’en apele “Analogies,” el retor de France, et .ij. au siege de Monde: “Anticatons” les apeloit, et un autre poeme, [“L’Aler”] ot non, a l’aler de Rome en Espaigne. Tot son tens voloit gaster ou en chevalerie ou en cle[r]‌gie, sanz les hores de boivre et de mangier et de solacier od dames. Mout fist escriz.15

(He himself wrote books about his achievements, the wars in Gaul and against Pompey, letters to the Senate and to Cicero, and many other irreproachable writings. He was never so involved in war or in military matters as to neglect giving attention to his writing as soon as he had some leisure. He wrote two books entitled “Analogies” when he returned from Gaul, and two entitled “Anti-​Cato” at the siege of Munda, and another poem entitled “The Journey” on the way from Rome to Spain. He chose to spend all his time either in warring or writing, except the hours he devoted to drinking, eating, and womanizing. He wrote many things.)

15  FR, p. 724, lines 16–​25.

The vagueness of the translator’s reference to Bellum gallicum is noteworthy. Aware from Suetonius that Caesar wrote a history of his campaigns and aware, also from Suetonius, that book eight was written either by Oppius or Hirtius—​Hirtius’s prefatory letter was apparently missing from the translator’s manuscript—​he does not know that he himself is translating all seven books of the said history plus Hirtius’s supplementary eighth. It is his belief (and the belief of the Middle Ages generally) that the author of the Bellum gallicum was “Julien”/​“Julius Celsus” whose name, perhaps inserted by a corrector, appears at the end of each book in one group of the manuscripts in the inscription: “Julius Celsus Constantinus uc legi.” Not an established auctor, the unknown Celsus receives the silent treatment, unacknowledged throughout the manuscript history of Li Fet des Romains. When finally a late manuscript, copied at Bruges in 1479 for Edward IV,16 adds him to the multiple credits at the end, and when the name “Celsus” finally joins the well-​known trinity of authors in an isolated fifteenth-​century manuscript,17 the things that are Caesar’s are not yet rendered to Caesar who is still designated as “Celsus” in its title: “Icy en ce volume sont/​ Les notables et auctentiques/​ orateurs et historiagraphes/​Saluste/​Julle Celse/​Lucan/​Suetosne” fol. 1 (Here in this volume are/​The notable and authentic/​Orators and Historians/​Sallust/​Julius Celsus/​Lucan/​Suetonius). The translator’s treatment of his other sources within the compilation shows the same discrimination, paying due respect to known and established auctores. It is his usual practice as he moves between them to name them for purposes of identification and sometimes, also, to create distance between their views and his own. Lucan is named ninety-​ two times, Suetonius twenty-​ six times, and Sallust eight times. The presumed author of Bellum gallicum is referenced differently. Despite the length of the Gallic War narrative, “Julius”/​“Juliens”/​“Celsus” is mentioned only eleven times, and of those eleven namings most are routine identifications (“Ici dirons selon Julian coment il [Cesar] conquist France et Bretaigne”18 (Here we shall tell according to Julian how Caesar conquered France and Britain); “Ici comence Juliens conment Cesar conquist France”19 (Here Julian begins his narration of 16  London, British Museum, Old Royal 17 F II, fol. 353d.

17  Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, ancien fonds français 2094 (anc. 6918). 18  FR, p. 75, lines 14–​15. 19  FR, p. 79, rubric.

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how Caesar conquered France)). Paradoxically, the source that the translator trusts most and follows most closely is the source that receives least credit. The translator makes one brief but significant intervention on the subject of Julian, however, demonstrating that he has pondered the discrepancy between the obscurity of the unknown Celsus and the obvious authoritativeness of the information he provides. Anticipating, perhaps, a question from his public, he grasps the nettle firmly when translating book five and seamlessly inserts a hypothetical solution—​ modern editors would call it a “scholarly hypothesis”—​into the narrative. The context for the intervention is the Romans’ journey to Britain where Caesar’s scientific curiosity leads him to inquire from the inhabitants of the mid-​Channel islands about their thirty-​day long midwinter night. He reports his disappointment that “our” inquiries were unsuccessful, saying: “Nos nihil de eo percontationibus reperiebamus, nisi certis ex aqua mensuris breviores esse quam in continenti noctes videbamus”20 (We learned nothing about this matter when we inquired, but by precise water measurements we saw that the nights were shorter here than on the Continent). The translator decides that it is incumbent upon him at this juncture to explain the pronoun “nos” and to validate the credentials of the mysterious “other” who speaks for Caesar, explaining his tactical, political, and psychological motivation, and knowing Caesar’s innermost thoughts. He adds two phrases stating that Julian was Caesar’s companion in Britain. Caesar’s sentence now reads: “nos en demandames assez as païsanz de Bretaigne, dist Juliens qui ce livre fet, car nos i fusmes avec Cesar, n’onques rien ne nos en sorent a dire”21 (my emphasis; We asked the inhabitants of Britain many questions about this, said Julian, the author of this book, for we were there with Caesar, and they could not tell us anything about it). This insertion of eyewitness credentials for Julian meshes with Isidore of Seville’s claim that ancient history was always written by an eyewitness: “Apud veteres enim nemo conscribebat historiam, nisi is qui interfuisset, et ea quae conscribenda essent vidisset”22 (Among the ancients no one recorded history unless he had been present and saw what should be recorded). The translator’s brief validation of Bellum gallicum’s authority reflects his reliance upon Isidore of Seville’s definitions. It is also an indirect compliment to the 20  Caesar, Bellum gallicum V, 13. 21  FR, p. 184, lines 24–​26. 22  Etymologiae I, 41.

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unknown source who has provided him with such substantive material while giving him the fewest headaches, stylistically speaking.

Conflicting Information

Given the dearth of major sources available to him, the problem of conflicting information does not often occur, but the translator raises and quickly resolves it in the narration of Caesar’s assassination. Concerning the number of stab-​ wounds inflicted on Caesar, he correctly translates Suetonius’s “tribus et viginti plagis”23 (stabbed with twenty-​three wounds), then adds “l’en troeve xxiiij. en aucun leu, mes lors i est nombree la petite de la gorge que Cassius li fist”24 (one finds twenty-​ four somewhere, but that includes the small wound made by Cassius to his throat). Does the vague phrase “aucun leu” refer to a gloss? At all events, the factual difference is explicable and therefore unimportant. A second factual discrepancy, found in “en aucun leu,” concerns the location of Caesar’s assassination. The conflicting report placing Caesar’s death in the Capitol is explained away as follows: “La corz Ponpee ou il fu ocis fu estoupee. Se l’en troeve en aucun leu que il fu ocis ou Capitoile, ce n’est pas descorde, car ou c’onques li senaz s’assambloit ce estoit bien Capitoiles, car li Capitoiles ne fu fez fors por els assembler principaument”25 (The Hall of Pompey where he was killed was walled up. If one finds somewhere that he was killed in the Capitol, that is not a discrepancy, for wherever the Senate assembled was the Capitol, made for the sole purpose of their assemblage). Both these explanations treat minor questions but they establish that the translator is not a believer in “alternative facts.” He seeks to present an accurate account of events despite the limited resources at his disposal.

Fidelity

Translative fidelity elicits little comment from the translator, and his few remarks on this subject are ambivalent. At the beginning of Bellum civile’s ninth book Lucan imagines Pompey’s liberated soul soaring to the aethereal region between the earth and the moon where demi-​gods and fire-​ purged heroes dwell, then flying over Pharsalia, seeking vengeance, to settle “in sancto pectore Bruti/​… et invicti … 23  Suetonius, Vitae I, 82. 24  FR, p. 741, lines 4–​5.

25  FR, p. 744, lines 10–​14.

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mente Catonis”26 (in the righteous breast of Brutus/​… and the mind of the invincible Cato). The translator reproduces the essence of this Stoic-​inspired flight of fancy in factual prose—​ the condensation of classical material was a frequent school exercise from the twelfth century onwards—​but renders Lucan’s alien metaphysics innocuous by the dismissive comment that he includes it only because his source said it: “Li os et la cendre dou cors Pompee furent mis en ce petit sepulcre covert d’[a]‌raine et d’un pou de pierres par desus. Mes li espirist, ce dist Lucans—​qui le veust si l’en croie,—​s’en ala vers la lune en l’air; por itant con Lucans le dist, le vos rendons”27 (my emphasis; The bones and ash from Pompey’s body were placed in this small sepulchre covered in sand with a few stones on top. But his spirit, Lucan says—​believe that, anyone who wants to—​travelled through the air to the moon; inasmuch as Lucan said it, we translate it for you). Obviously, since the edification of his public is the translator’s priority, any duty to a particular auctor, however respected, is a secondary consideration if it compromises Christian doctrine. On this occasion the translator gives lip-​service to translative fidelity but does not allow that principle to undermine his greater goal of teaching how to do good and avoid evil. He effectively masters his author by both rendering and simultaneously rendering down Lucan’s eighteen lines of subversive metaphysics.

Rhetorical Devices: digressio, abbreviatio, amplificatio

As a function of his duty as a compiler to impose coherence upon complex material, the translator favours three rhetorical devices in Li Fet des Romains:  digressio, abbreviatio, and amplificatio. They promote the translator’s requirements of orderly and adequate coverage of material worthy of narration, and when he employs them, he refers to them in vernacular terms, never using their Latin names. The need for order in a multi-​sourced compilation28 is surely responsible for his signalling of deviations from the main narrative thread. In this he is often merely translating a comment about digression from his source. When Caesar 26  Lucan, Bellum civile IX, lines 17–​18. 27  FR, p. 574, lines 1–​6.

28  He rarely errs in this regard, an exception being his chronological double-​take on pp. 352–​53 and p. 357 when he mistakes Suetonius’s and Lucan’s narrations of Caesar’s harangue at the Rubicon for two separate incidents.

interrupts his narrative, leaving the Suebi waiting in the forest for the Romans while he describes the customs of Gaul and Germany,29 he informs his Roman public that he is about to embark upon the digression: “Quoniam ad hunc locum perventum est, non alienum esse videtur de Galliae Germaniaeque moribus … proponere” (Since this point has been reached, it does not seem inappropriate to set forth the customs of Gaul and Germany) becomes “Et por ce, dist Julius Celsus, que nos somes a cest leu venu, nos vodromes ci endroit parler des mors et des costumes de France et de Sessoigne … ne messerra pas en nostre livre”30 (And because we have reached this point, says Julius Celsus, we want here to speak of the customs and practices of France and Germany … it will not be inappropriate in our book). The translator aligns himself with Caesar’s own signaling, and the inclusiveness of the first-​person plural pronoun “nos” provides convenient slippage between author and source. Caesar’s comments on the Gauls and Germans are surely appropriate in his/​our book. (It should be noted in passing that attributing responsibility for the interruption to Julius Celsus serves as a convenient disclaimer, should any of the material on French and German mores prove distasteful to his modern public.) When Suetonius signals a departure from his narration of Caesar’s achievements to digress about Caesar’s personal appearance and habits—​“ea … non alienum erit summatim exponere”31 (it will not be inappropriate briefly to describe … those things)—​the translator goes even further. Not only does he translate Suetonius’s warning of an impending digression; he even dramatizes it by converting it into direct speech: “Ançois, dist Suetoines, que je parolge come[n]‌t il morut, ge toucherai briefment la some de ses aferes”32 (Before I speak of how he died, says Suetonius, I shall summarize briefly his activities). Suetonius’s digression is highlighted and is attributed unequivocally to its source. The translator’s sensitivity to digression is such that he may label chronological interruptions as digressive even when they are not so designated in the source. When Sallust moved from Cato’s Senate speech in favour of the death penalty for Catiline to a psychological assessment of Cato and Caesar,33 29  Caesar, Bellum gallicum VI, para. 11. Caesar’s digression describing the customs of Gaul and Germany lasts eighteen paragraphs after which he resumes his narrative, as does the translator. 30  FR, p. 219, lines 21–​24. 31  Suetonius, Vitae I, 44. 32  FR, p. 717, lines 4–​5. 33  Sallusto, Catilina 53.

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there was no indication that the Roman historian regarded the two paragraphs as a departure from the narrative thread. The translator thinks otherwise, imposing first a preface—​“Ici endroit parole Salustes des vertuz de Juilles Cesar et de Caton, et de lor valor; et conmence ensi …”34 (Here Sallust speaks of the virtues of Julius Caesar and Cato, and of their valour; and he begins like this …)—​then a conclusion—​“Apres revient Salustes a sa matere et dist …”35 (After this Sallust returns to his subject matter and says …). His assessment that Sallust’s character analyses represent a diversion from his subject, “sa matere,” reflects his pragmatic approach to Roman history, which differs markedly from Sallust’s. Li Fet des Romains is a vernacular Gesta Romanorum, narrating the actions of the Romans, whether exemplary or non-​exemplary, as lessons in doing good and avoiding evil. By their deeds ye shall know them—​and yourself. Another rhetorical device to which he has frequent recourse is abbreviatio. Brevity was a stylistic ideal in several medieval rhetorical treatises of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and the condensation of antique material was a frequent school exercise. Abbreviation enables the translator to pare down excess to the “purum corpus materiae”36 (the essence of what is to be said). The frequency of his recourse to abbreviation depends on the nature of the source-​material. Inordinate length is not a sufficient cause. He translates into French almost all the rebarbative names of all the Gallic tribes that opposed Caesar, abbreviating Caesar only occasionally when he loses interest in (or cannot identify?) a few names he judges insignificant. For example, the Ceutrones, Graioceli, and Caturiges who prevented Caesar from crossing the Alps, meld anonymously into “plusors manieres de genz”37 (several different peoples). Indeed, throughout the eight books of Bellum gallicum he rarely resorts to abbreviation, an implicit compliment to Caesar’s concise presentation. The situation changes when the translator strives to extract the narrative essence from Lucan’s Bellum civile. He was not without explanatory aids. In the Middle Ages numerous commentaries glossed Lucan for the instruction of students tackling Lucan’s epic as part of the medieval canon of instruction, whether as their elementary introduction to

Latin language and literature or within the curriculum of the trivium. Thanks to such commentaries the translator is able to move confidently and (for the most part) accurately through the daunting mass of decorative detail that adorns Lucan’s account of the Civil War. Occasionally he even translates directly from a gloss, substituting its words for Lucan’s obscurities. Abbreviation is a useful tool, and he uses it often, although selectively. He does not avoid Lucan’s enumeration of the individual stars, comets, and other “merveilles” that presaged Pharsalia.38 He renders many of the geographical and astronomical items39 in Acoreus’s long digressive speech to Caesar.40 During Lucan’s lengthy narration of the Medusa myth, however, he calls a halt and makes a significant observation before abbreviating the source material. The Medusa myth purported to explain the existence of serpents in the Libyan desert, and Lucan had prefaced it with this provisory comment: “Cur Libyeus tantis exundet pestibus aer/​ Fertilis … non cura laborque/​ Noster scire valet, nisi quod volgata per orbem/​Fabula pro vera decepit saecula causa”41 (No study or labor of ours can discover why the atmosphere of Libya abounds in such pestilences … but a myth has spread world-​wide and has for centuries substituted itself for the true cause). Lucan had then mined the potential of the myth with his customary attention to idiosyncratic detail. The translator is reluctant to perpetrate error, especially when a respected auctor calls a myth “deceptive fable.” He therefore takes it upon himself to abbreviate the fable, substitutes a more enlightened treatment of the subject, and justifies the changes in the name of truth and Holy Scripture:

34  FR, p. 44, lines 11–​12.

38  FR, pp. 358–​60.

35  FR, p. 45, line 27.

36  See the section on abbreviatio in Geoffroi de Vinsauf’s Documentum de arte versificandi, Faral, p. 277. 37  FR, p. 86, line 5.

Plus en dist encore assez la fable et plus en recorde Lucans. Mais por ce que ne samble pas veritez et Lucans meïsmes nel croit pas, nos n’en volons cest livre encombrer de plus; ainz volons suivre l’ordre de la vraie estoire, et nos savons bien par tesmoign de Seinte Escriture que Damlediex crea serpenz des le conmencement dou monde, et naturels chose est que tuit serpent demorgent plus volentiers en la chaude terre qu’en la froide. Por ce en a plus en Libe.42

39  FR, pp. 628–​33.

40  Lucan, Bellum civile IX, lines 194–​331. 41  Lucan, Bellum civile IX, lines 619–​23. 42  FR, p. 604, lines 10–​17.

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(Fable says a lot more on the subject and Lucan writes down more of it. But because it has no semblance of truth and Lucan himself does not believe it, we do not want to encumber this book with any more of it; rather we intend to follow the true narrative order, and we know for a certainty from the witness of Holy Scripture that the Lord God created serpents from the world’s beginning, and it is natural that all serpents prefer to live in a warm rather than a cold climate. That is why Libya has more of them.)

Both abbreviation and addition here fulfil his obligation to his source and to his public. He follows Lucan’s prefatory cue that a world-​wide fable has been substituted for the truth and the Medusa myth is “deceptive fable.” Empowered by this, he censors misleading material while at the same time providing an alternative explanation that is consonant with Holy Scripture and with modern science. Abbreviation and explanation go hand in hand. This is not the only occasion when the translator amplifies his source. He regularly explains unfamiliar material from glosses, for example, Hesperides,43 or the Roman siege machine “vinea.”44 A more elaborate type of expansion occurs when the translator steps in to expand the narrative with his own invented material. A significant comment before his narration of the battle at Pharsalia reveals that rhetorical theory and, specifically, the rhetorical device of amplificatio (artistic inflation of diction) have influenced his treatment of certain battles. He says: [I]‌ot meinte bele joste et meint beau cop feru, dont Lucans ne parole pas; mes nos les [es]criverons einsi con nos les avons trovez es autres tretiez, en un livre meïsmes que Cesar fist de ses fez, et en Suetoine et aillors. Ne pot estre que si a[d]urees genz come Pompee ot en sa mestre eschiele de rois et de Romeins qui assez savoient d’armes, se lessassent desconfire sanz grant estor et sanz grant perte deça et dela.45 (Many fine jousts and many fine blows were delivered there of which Lucan makes no mention; but we shall write them down as we found them in other treatises, in a book which Caesar composed about his deeds, and in Suetonius, and elsewhere. It could not have happened that such experienced soldiers as the 43  FR, p. 592, lines 19–​28. 44  FR, p. 376, lines 3–​8.

45  FR, p. 522, lines 9–​17.

men in Pompey’s main army of kings and seasoned Roman fighters would endure defeat without a great struggle and great losses on both sides.)

His justification for the expansion is that his main author is here inadequate, and that other resources—​ treatises and such—​are equally unsatisfactory. Intervention is therefore necessary on grounds of vraisemblance. It should not be regarded as digression because it is unimaginable that two fine armies of experienced fighters would have allowed themselves to be defeated without a long, action-​filled struggle. It is worth noting that a stylistic issue is at play here also. Narrative style must be appropriate to the material but the classical categories of stylus gravis, stylus mediocris, and stylus humilis and their medieval Latin derivatives as described by Matthieu de Vendôme, Jean de Garlande, or Geoffroi de Vinsauf are irrelevant to the circumstance. Instead, the translator adopts a vernacular model, the style of the chanson de geste, and nine exciting sections follow, executed in the style he deems worthy for the subject in hand. His description of the battle of Pharsalia caters to a modern audience attuned to epic narratives of heroism. His use of tenses becomes variable and he switches constantly between past and present, exploiting the dramatic changes of focus that enlivened earlier vernacular narratives. He addresses his public directly with epic formulae, inviting them to reconstruct the scene in their imagination—​“La veïssiez grant dolor” is the cue for such visual reconstruction. Epic taunts, epic planctus, and bouts of direct speech ensure auditory appreciation. The narrative is studded with fragments of alexandrines, heightening the emotional intensity at dramatic moments. This is clearly a section he enjoyed composing. His editors surmise he may even have experimented with such writing in the past. There are several other occasions also when he resorts to amplificatio to produce “material worth narrating,” two of them justified with explanatory comments. After Caesar’s occupation of Pharos in Egypt, Lucan’s coverage of crucial events, sketchy at best, becomes truly problematic in the final book of Bellum civile. The translator complains, “Lucans s’em passe ci elecques si briement, que nus ne puet savoir certain ordre de l’estoire par chose que il en die. Suetoines meïsme[s]‌n’en redist qui a conter face”46 (At this point Lucan glosses over the material so cursorily that nobody can ascertain the true order of events from anything he says. Suetonius also says nothing on the subject that is 46  FR, p. 645, lines 1–​3.

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worth narrating). This significant comment reveals his desiderata for the compilation: he wants from his sources adequate coverage, order, and material worth narrating. Lucan’s inadequacies and the translator’s problems with them become even more acute when Lucan’s narrative of the Alexandrian War is interrupted after only fourteen lines and ceases altogether in the middle of Caesar’s military operations during the winter of 48–​47 BC. Again the translator complains, this time more explicitly, on the inadequacies of his sources: “Suetoines ne refet fors touchier ses batailles, car Cesar meïsmes en fist livres ou Lucans prist la greignor partie de ce que il en escrist fors solement de ceste bataille d’Alyssandre”47 (Suetonius for his part only touches on his [i.e., Caesar’s] battles, for Caesar himself wrote a book on them from which Lucan took most of what he wrote about them with the single exception of this battle at Alexandria). He cites more names as sources of information for Caesar’s wars in Alexandria, Africa, and Spain, but they too are deemed unsatisfactory: “Herodotus et Berosus et Oppius et Hircius, cist quatre em parolent en lor estoires, mes mout confusement, et sont a chief de foiz contreres”48 (Herodotus et Berosus et Oppius et Hirtius, these four speak of [the battles] in their histories, but in a very confused and often contradictory fashion). The translator’s frustration with Lucan’s abrupt termination of the Bellum civile is understandable. Understandable also is his dissatisfaction with Suetonius’s anecdotal approach (although he has used the Vitae Caesarum extensively up to this point, never needing systematic chronology before). The remaining authors he cites are problematic. He is obviously unfamiliar with the continuations of Caesar’s Bellum civile (Bellum Africanum and Bellum Hispaniense) or with Orosius’s Historiae adversum paganos. His mention of Oppius and Hirtius in the same context as Herodotus and Berosus suggests real confusion not in them but in his knowledge of them. Unfortunately, it is impossible now to guess what textual/​glossing realities underlie his name-​drops in this particular passage. There are several other occasions, usually in a battle context, when the translator resorts to amplification, for example, the combat between Caesar and Boduognatus, the combat between Scaeva and Indutiomarus, Caesar’s fight with Drappes, Caesar’s capture, the various combats of the battle of Dyrrachium, all of the battle of Pharsalia, Caesar’s war on 47  FR, p. 652, lines 3–​6.

48  FR, p. 652, lines 10–​12.

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Alexandria, the expedition against Pharnaces, the war with Juba, and the battle of Munda. There are occasional minor episodes also: the encounter between a praetorian ship and a Massilian, and a few Gallic combats that cater to the taste for military exploits in the thirteenth-​century descendants of Caesar’s Gallic foes. While our modern (anachronistic) judgments may view these passages as lengthy digressions, the translator called them necessary amplifications and composed them in a style appropriate to the weighty material. His recourse to amplification reveals as much about himself, his audience, and his century as it does about Rome’s civil war.

Conclusion

Working from the translator’s personal observations, his attitudes to the translation process may be summarized as follows. The translation of classical material, when executed conscientiously for the edification and education of a modern public, is a valuable and meritorious activity for which he uses the word “escrire” rather than “translater.” He respects and values his sources, paying more attention to naming them than to the disclosing of his own identity. To make those sources comprehensible to a modern public, he reaches beyond the clerical, Latinate milieu in which he trained, and opts for methods, style, and vocabulary that cater to a wider audience. He anticipates the difficulties in comprehension that a lay public will have, and with them in mind provides explanations of alien material. Sensitive to the differences between learned and vernacular traditions, he acts as a bridge between the two. It is a role that he appears to have assumed of his own volition, owing no favours and speaking respectfully, even affectionately, of his monarch who will presumably not “read” his work. Philip’s illiteracy is not a subject for reproach. On the contrary, the translator tacitly assumes that the educated class should have a monopoly on clergie, while monarchs attend to other business. He even ventures the opinion that Julius Caesar’s literacy heightened his capacity for evil, while Philip is “without malice.” Some of the translator’s comments, like this one, are surprising to a modern reader. So also sometimes is his absence of comment. It would seem, for example, that the disparate styles of his sources are irrelevant, and that prose is the most suitable medium for his purpose. Of course, the intrinsic differences between Latin and French verse made any convincing imitation of Lucan’s epic lines so difficult that the subject is never mentioned, although there is stylistic heterogeneity of a different sort in Li Fet des Romains.

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The translator’s invented battle scenes resort to chanson de geste poetics, obviously his equivalent of Latin’s stylus nobilis. Roman valour is illustrated in thirteenth-​century terms, and for that no justification is needed. This chapter treats only those aspects of translation that elicited personal observations from the translator.49 It is tantalizing that he did not provide us with more, so that we could identify him and the context in which he worked. With or without comment, however, his remarks are a

valuable and unusual feature of Li Fet des Romains and, despite his anonymity, the personality of our anonymous cleric shines through. The verve with which he renders the entire corpus of his classical material from Isidore of Seville’s list of Rome’s political offices to Caesar’s stabbing is proof of his unflagging interest in the centuries-​old material and his conviction of the importance of providing Europe with a vernacular translation of Julius Caesar and the deeds of the Romans.

Bibliography Primary Sources Caesar, Julius. Bellum gallicum. London: William Heinemann Ltd; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970. Li Fet des Romains. Edited by L.-​F. Flutre and K. Sneyders de Vogel. Paris: Droz, 1938. Geoffroi de Vinsauf. Documentum de arte versificandi. In Edmond Faral, Les arts poétiques du XIIe et du XIIIe siècles. Paris: Champion, 1962. Isidorus Hispaliensis Episcopi. Etymologiarum sive Originum. Edited by W. M. Lindsay. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1911. Lucan, M. Annaeus. Bellum civile. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969. Sallusto, C. Crispi. Catilina. Berlin: Teubner, 1968. Suetonius. Vitae Caesarum. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970. Secondary Sources Beer, Jeanette M. A. Early Prose in France. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1992. —​—​. In Their Own Words: Practices of Quotation in Early Medieval History-​Writing. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. —​—​. A Medieval Caesar. Geneva: Droz, 1976. Flutre, L.-​F. Li Fet des Romains dans les littératures française et italienne du XIIIe au XVIe siècle. Paris: Hachette, 1932. —​—​. Les manuscrits des Faits des Romains. Paris: Hachette, 1931. Guenée, Bernard. “La culture historique des nobles: le succès des Faits des Romains (XIIIe–​XVe siècles).” In La noblesse au moyen âge, edited by Philippe Contamine, pp. 261–​88. Paris: PUF, 1976. Sneyders de Vogel, K. “Les Vers dans Les Faits des Romains.” In Mélanges de philologie offerts à J. J. Salverda de Grave, pp. 293–​305. Groningen: J. B. Wolters 1933. Jeanette Beer was born in New Zealand; has degrees from Victoria University, Oxford University, and Columbia University; is Professor Emerita of French, Purdue University, and a Senior Member of Lady Margaret Hall and of St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. She is the author of Villehardouin: Epic Historian (1968); A Medieval Caesar (1976); Medieval Fables: Marie de France (1981); Narrative Conventions of Truth in the Middle Ages (1981); Master Richard’s Bestiary of Love and Response (1986); Early Prose in France: Contexts of Bilingualism and Authority (1992); Beasts of Love: Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire d’amour and a Woman’s Response (2003); In Their Own Words: Quotation Practices in Early Medieval History-​Writing (2014), and eleven edited books (including three on medieval translation), and numerous articles and book-​chapters on medieval language and literature.

49  For further details on his techniques and treatment of his classical sources, see Beer, A Medieval Caesar.

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EPILOGUE OBSERVATIONS ON TRANSLATION BY THE OXFORD PROFESSOR OF POETRY: PEARL SIMON ARMITAGE

(Simon Armitage’s preface to Pearl is reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber Ltd. and of W. W. Norton and Company. It brings our Companion to Medieval Translation into the present century, demonstrating that although differences in time and distance bring changing contexts, translation remains as vital in the twenty-​first century as it was in the Middle Ages. Pearl received the PEN Poetry Translation Prize in 2017.)

Heartbroken and in mourning, a man describes the terrible sorrow he feels at the loss of his beautiful and irreplaceable “Perle.” In August, with flowers and herbs decorating the earth and perfuming the air, he visits a green garden, the scene of his bereavement. Tormented by images of death and decay, devastated by grief and overpowered by the intoxicating scent of the plants, he falls into a sudden sleep and begins to dream, embarking on an out of body experience that will lead to an encounter with his departed pearl who we learn is his child, and a journey to the gates of heaven. Probably composed in the 1390s, only one copy of the untitled poem that has come to be called Pearl remains in existence. It was originally housed in the library of Henry Savile of Bank, in Yorkshire, then later in a collection belonging to Sir Robert Cotton, and is now held in the British Library as MS Cotton Nero A.x. (each bookcase in Cotton’s library was overlooked by a bust of a famous historical figure, including several Roman emperors). Pearl is the first poem in a manuscript that also includes Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, and Cleanness (or Purity). All four poems are in the same hand, and although the writing probably belongs to that of a scribe rather than the original author, most scholars believe they were composed by the same person, about whom we know very little. The historical context leads us to assume he was a man, and from the content of the poems we can

deduce that he was well educated, well read, and very well acquainted with the Bible, though not necessarily a man of the cloth. The same type of linguistic sleuthing that proves the author to be a contemporary of Chaucer also suggests he was a native of the English Midlands or the North West, and both his language and his literary style are very different from his metropolitan counterpart. Chaucer’s strain of Middle English is closer to today’s speech and much of his vocabulary can be grasped or guessed at, whereas the vocabulary of the Pearl-​ or Gawain-​poet is at times completely foreign to the modern reader, and may well have been somewhat obscure or antiquated even in its day. Theories and countertheories have developed around the identity of the Pearl-​poet, some based on the subject matter of his poems, others on dialect words within them, but the truth is that the author of MS Cotton Nero A.x remains a mystery. What isn’t in dispute, however, is his brilliance as a poet, and it is a sobering lesson to any writer that the name of someone so adept in the art can simply vanish from history. Although less than half the length of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, in my view and in my experience, represents a greater challenge to the translator, largely because of the poem’s unique form and intricate structure. Presented in twenty sections, each section consists of five stanzas of twelve lines, except for section XV which consists of six stanzas, bringing the total number of lines to an enigmatic 1212, this mimicking not only the number of lines in each stanza but also the structure of the heavenly Jerusalem (twelve by twelve furlongs), with twelve gates for the twelve tribes of Israel, as specified in the Book of Revelation. Such number symbolism is indicative of a recursive symmetry practiced throughout the poem. The work is alliterative, often boasting three alliterating syllables per line, for example: “To clanly clos in golde so clere” (line 2), and although the

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poem doesn’t have a strict meter or rhythm, most lines are constructed around four beats or stresses (that is to say, four emphasized syllables occur within each line). The lines are particularly compact and intense; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is also made up of (arguably) four-​beat lines but is noticeably “wider” on the pages by comparison, suggesting that the author of Pearl was consciously fashioning a highly ornate and detailed piece, more lyrical than his other works, though one that still required all the necessary components of narrative. The echoing, sonic qualities of the poem brought about by alliteration are heightened through use of repetition, or “concatenation,” in which a word or phrase in the last line of the first stanza in each section is repeated in the first and last line of each stanza throughout that section, then once more in the first line of the following section, thus producing a sort of poetic passing of the baton. To complete the effect, the opening line of the poem is recalled in its final line, representing a circularity or spherical endlessness reminiscent of a pearl stone itself. Some of the repeated words or phrases operate as puns or homonyms in the original, for example, the word “mone” used throughout section XVIII, which can mean either moon or month. “Deme,” in section VI, has multiple meanings (e.g., judge, estimate), and in cases such as this, where no direct contemporary equivalent exists, the latter-​day translator is faced with some hard choices. The same is true where the original definition is difficult to pin down, as with “adubbements” in section II, which has been translated variously as adornment, splendor, wonderment, embellishment, and (by me) ornament. Each of these definitions might seem to be little more than a minor variation on a theme, but choosing one, then working it into the text on nine further occasions, has serious ramifications for the words that precede and follow. But the biggest dilemma concerns the principal technique by which the poem operates, namely that of rhyme, with each stanza adhering to a strict rhyme scheme of ababababbcbc. Some translators have stuck to the rhyme scheme by preserving many of the poem’s original end words, most of which are archaic to the modern reader or even obsolete (e.g., “spenned,” “sweven”). Some, like Marie Borroff, have made use of old-​fashioned terms such as “demesne,” “descried,” and “agleam,” then manipulated the surrounding sentence structure so as to position those rhyme words at the end of lines. Others have introduced new material into the poem in order to complete acoustic partnerships. For example, Tolkien offers “I vow that from over orient seas” as line 3 to chime with “please” at the end of line 1, yet as nifty as his solution

appears, line 3 actually reads, “Oute of Oryent, I hardyly saye,” (roughly: in all the Orient I confidently say), with no mention at all of the sea. A more radical approach is to forgo all the formalities of the original and aim for something far more impressionistic, a version rather than a translation, with all the associated excitements and disappointments: or to sacrifice the harmonies of the poem in pursuit of literal definitions, thereby securing a more faithful rendition, semantically speaking, but offering an impoverished poetic experience lacking atmosphere and character. I draw attention to the shortcomings of these different methodologies not out of criticism but out of sympathy. While working on the poem, every decision feels like a trade-​off between sound and sense, between medieval authenticity and latter-​ day clarity, and between the precise and the poetic. My own response has been to allow rhymes to occur as naturally as possible within sentences, internally or at the end of lines, and to let half-​ rhymes and syllabic rhymes play their part, and for the poem’s musical orchestration to be performed by pronounced alliteration, looping repetition, and the quartets of beats in each line. So formalists and technicians scanning for a ladder of rhyme words down the right-​hand margin of this translation will be frustrated, though hopefully my solution will appeal to the ear and the voice. So what is Pearl about? Notice is given from early on in the poem that the pearl is both a jewel and a young girl, referred to as “it” and “her,” both a beloved object and a beloved child. However, readers should not expect the poem to develop straightforwardly into an extended metaphor or “conceit.” Because although the young woman has pearl-​like qualities—​ paleness, purity, radiance—​from the moment she reveals herself to the dreamer she is very much a person, albeit a spirit version of her earthly existence, an apparition. (In fact, at line 483 we discover she “lyfed not two yer,” so has become in death a being capable of mature thought and articulate speech.) She is the dreamer’s maiden, his girl, nearer to him than “aunte or nece;” so by implication his daughter, though interestingly that particular word is never actually used. What follows is a dialogue, conducted between bereft father and deceased child across an unfordable stretch of water, in which the girl eventually explains how heaven is now her home and that she stands beside Christ Himself, as one of his brides. At first overjoyed, then incredulous, and at times skeptical that his pearl should have risen to such exalted heights, the dreamer is eventually persuaded by the force and persistence of the girl’s argument and by the evidence of his own eyes. Toward the end of the poem, the girl presents an almost hallucinatory

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description of the palace of heaven, outlining its opulent geological foundations, its dazzling architecture and its glorious inhabitants, and invites the dreamer to steal a glimpse of the magnificent citadel. Awestruck by such a tantalizing prospect, the dreamer rushes forward to join his pearl on the other side of the water, leapng from the riverbank only to be jolted awake, and for the vision to break, and for his loved one to disappear once again. His grief has not lessened and he still swoons with longing. But through the lessons of scripture delivered ironically from the mouth of his own lost child, he has arrived at a philosophical acceptance of his earthly predicament. Pearl is a poem of consolation, a reminder of the life that waits, especially for those who place spiritual values over cherished possessions. It begins and ends in a real garden, framing a visit to a more extraordinary paradise where the dreamer’s outlook is transformed by the depth and power of the revelation. So on one level the poem is a lesson in Christian doctrine, crammed from beginning to end with biblical allusions. Some are subtle and fleeting; some are reported almost verbatim, as with the repeated references to the Book of Revelation (or “the Apocalypse” as it appears in the poem); others are recounted and explicated in full, such as the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1–​16) which occupies six of the poem’s stanzas. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45–​46) might be thought of as the catalyst for the entire poem. But Pearl is also a tense, fascinating, and at time extremely poignant duologue, especially if viewed as one between an actual father and his daughter, and the extent to which the

Observations of a Twenty-first-Century Professor

poem is drawn from autobiographical circumstance is another matter for speculation. The dream vision as a method of religious instruction was certainly a well-​established poetic convention of the period, providing a similar starting point for Langland’s Piers Plowman, for example. Equally, encounters with characters from the afterlife have always been staples of myth, and a generative literary device in a tradition that includes Dante, Virgil, Ovid, and Homer. Yet the poem has the feel of the real, as if genuine grief provided the impetus for such a poetic undertaking, or as if a desire to describe and share the solace brought about through faith and spiritual reasoning had encouraged the author to broadcast his experience through the written word. The presentation of the poem in the first person—​not an automatic choice for writers of the day by any means—​reinforces the suggestion that the poem deals with personal history and a lived experience. Tolkien, in the introduction to his translation, repeats Sir Israel Gollancz’s notion that “the child may have been actually called a pearl by baptismal name, Margarita in Latin, Margery in English. It was a common name at the time, because of the love of pearls and their symbolism, and it had already been borne by several saints.” If the poem is nothing more than an invented allegory, then I salute its creator and readily admit to being moved by the fiction, not least at the misplaced elation the dreamer experiences when he believes himself reunited with his child, the emotions of which I found harder to bear than the weight of the grief. And if true sorrow and anguish do lie behind the poem, then as a parent of one child—​a daughter—​I offer this translation in memory of the lost pearl, as a tribute to the poetic courage of her father, and as an act of condolence.

Simon Armitage was born in 1963 in West Yorkshire and is Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds. He has also taught at the University of Sheffield and the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. His theatre works include The Last Days of Troy (2014), performed at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, and he has published nine collections of poetry including Paper Aeroplane, Selected Poems 1989—​2014. His medieval translations for Faber & Faber in the UK and Norton in the USA include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2007), The Death of King Arthur: The Alliterative Morte Arthure (2012) and Pearl (2016), which received the 2017 PEN Poetry Translation Prize. In 2015 he was appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford University.

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GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

ADDITIONAL TITLES ON MEDIEVAL TRANSLATION Anderson, Peter, ed. Pratiques de traduction au Moyen Age/​Medieval Translation Practices. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, Museum Tusculanum Press, 2004. Beer, Jeanette, ed. Medieval Translators and their Craft. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1989. —​—​. Translation Theory and Practice in the Middle Ages. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1997. Beer, Jeanette, and K. Lloyd-​Jones, eds. Translation and the Transmission of Culture between 1300 and 1600. Studies in Medieval Culture 35. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995. Boynton, Susan, and Diane Reilly. The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Burnett, Charles. Arabic into Latin in the Middle Ages: The Translators and their Intellectual and Social Context. Farnham: Ashgate, 2009. Busby, Keith, and Chris Kleinhenz, eds. Medieval Multilingualism: The Grancophone World and and Its Neighbours. Turnhout: Brepols, 2010. Butterfield, Ardis. The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language, and Nation in the Hundred Years War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Calin, William. The French Tradition and the Literature of Medieval England. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994. Campbell, Emma, and Robert Mills. Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012. Contamine, Geneviève, ed. Traduction et traducteurs au moyen âge. Paris: CNRS, 1989. Drory, R. Models and Contacts: Arabic Literature and its Impact on Medieval Jewish Culture. Leiden: Brill, 2000. Eco, Umberto. Experiences in Translation. Translated by Alastair McEwen. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001. Ellis, Roger, Jocelyn Price, Stephen Medcalf, and Peter Meredith, eds. The Medieval Translator: The Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1989. Galderisi, Claudio, ed. Translations médiévales: Cinq siècles de traduction en français au. Moyen Age (XIe–​XVe siècles). Turnhout: Brepols, 2011. Hamesse, Jacqueline, ed. Les traducteurs au travail: leurs manuscrits et leurs méthodes. Textes et études du moyen âge, 18. Turnhout: Brepols, 2001. Meyer-​Lee, Robert J., and Catherine Sanok. The Medieval Literary: Beyond Form. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2018. Minnis, A. J. Medieval Theory of Authorship: Scholastic Literary Attitudes in the Later Middle Ages. London: Scolar Press, 1984. —​—​. Translations of Authority in Medieval English Literature: Valuing the Vernacular. Cambridge: Cambridge Universiy Press, 2009. Sif Ríkharðsdóttir. Medieval Translations and Cultural Discourse: The Movement of Texts in England, France, and Scandinavia. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer; repr. 2018. Tixier, René, and Catherine Batt, eds. Booldly bot meekly. Essays on the Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages in Honour of Roger Ellis.Turnhout: Brepols, 2018.

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Warren, Michelle. “Translation.” In Middle English, edited by Paul Strohm, pp. 51–​67. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Wisnovsky, Robert, Faith Wallis, Jamie C. Fumo, and Carlos Fraenkel, eds. Vehicles of Transmission, Translation, and Transformation in Medieval Textual Culture, Cursor Mundi 4. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011. Wogan-​Browne, Jocelyn, Thelma Fenster, and Delbert Russell, eds. Vernacular Literary Theory from the French of Medieval England. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer; repr. 2018.

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APPENDIX

A list of the papers presented in the annual Medieval Translation Theory and Practice sessions organized by Jeanette Beer for the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan from 1982 to 2017.

Ailes, Marianne. “Theory into Practice: The Text, the Linguist, and the Historian.” Akehurst, F. R. P. “A Thirteenth-​Century Occitan Legal Code.” Allaire, Gloria. “Philtering Tristan: Translations of the Roman de Tristan.” Arends, Enti. “French Elements in Middle English Translations: Layamon’s Brut.” Astell, Ann. “Gender Symbolism and the Text: Translating Job as Female.” Baccianti, Sarah. “Translating England in Medieval Iceland: Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Britanniae and Breta sögur.” Baenziger, E. J., CSB. “Does Translating Have a Gender? Christine de Pizan and Thomas Hoccleve.” Baker, Craig. “On the Interpretation of Animals: Tradition and Innovation in a Mid-​Thirteenth Century French Bestiary.” Baswell, Christopher. “Aeneas in 1381.” —​—​. “Translation at the Crossroads: Classical Authority and Medieval History.” Beebe, Kathryn. “Translating Pilgrimages for Nuns: The Latin and German Travel Accounts of Friar Felix Fabri.” Beer, Jeanette. “An Authoritative Translator Explains Himself: Didactic Asides in Li Fet des Romains.” —​—​. “Ignoratio or Innovatio? Both or Neither?” —​—​. “Medieval Translation and Stylistic Heterogeneity: The Manuscript Tradition of Li Fet. des Romains.” —​—​. “The Medieval Translator’s Craft: French Translations of Roman History.” —​—​. “The Publisher as Translator: Messing with Narnia.” —​—​. “Rhetorical Precepts and Translation.” —​—​. “Translating Andreas Capellanus’s De arte honesti amandi.” —​—​. “Translating the Unusual: Richard de Fournival’s Bestiary of Love.” —​—​. “What is a Reviewer to Do?” Bennett, Philip. “Translating the Chanson de Guillaume and Gormont et Isembart: A Question of Register.” Bentick, Eoin. “Ennobling the Vernacular: Alchemical Translations in the Fifteenth Century.” Black, Winston E. “From ‘Ambrosia Insignis’ to ‘Good Old Ragweed’: Identifying Plans and Translating Poems in a Medieval Latin Herbal.” Bogaart, Saskia. “Bartholomaeus Anglicus’s De proprietatibus rerum in Middle Dutch.” Boro, Joyce. “Lord Berners’s Translation of the Castell of Love: A Gendered and Generic Rewriting.” Bratsch-​Prince, Dawn. “Translation in Fourteenth-​Century Catalonia: Brunetto Latini’s Livres dou Tresor.” Breen, Katharine. “English for Emergencies Only: The Limits of Translation in John Mirk’s Instructions for Parish Priests.” Bundy, Rose. “Translating Medieval Japanese Poetry.” Buridant, Claude. “La traduction du latin au français dans les encyclopédies médiévales à partir de l’exemple des traductions des Otia Imperialia de Gervais de Tilbury par Jean de Vignay et Jean d’Antioche.”

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Burman, Thomas E. “Latinizing the Quran’s ‘Clear Arabic’: Robert of Ketton’s Translation of Islamic Scriptures.” Busby, Keith. “The Perspective of the Translator.” Campbell, Laura J. “From Ferrara to Firenze: Paulino Pieri’s Translation of the Prophecies of Merlin.” Cárdenas-​Rotunno, Anthony J. “Translating, Not Interpreting, Teresa de Cartagena.” Cavell, Emma. “Anglo-​Norman Women’s Letters.” Caviness, Madeline. “Gender Symbolism and Text Image Relationships: Hildegard of Bingen’s Scivias.” Cheung-Salisbury, Matthew. “Medieval Convent Drama: Translating and Transforming the Liturgy.” Chung, Ilkyung. “Wace’s Professed Ignorance in the Roman de Rou.” Clark, Willene B. “Creativity and Error in the Transmission of the Latin Bestiary.” —​—​. “A New Understanding of the Latin Bestiary, and Problems with T. H. White’s Translation.” Cline, Ruth Harwood. “Translating Chrétien de Troyes.” Coleman, Joyce. “Translating Audiences: The Search for an English Poetic Register in Robert Mannyng’s Translations of Wace and Langtoft.” Connelly, Coleman. “Converting Galen; Christian and Islamic Updates in Graeco-​Arabic Translations.” Cooper-​Rompato, Christine F.  “ ‘My postilion has been struck by lightning’:  William Wey’s Itineraries, Wynkyn de Worde’s Information for Pilgrims unto the Holy Land, and the ‘Tourist’ Phrase List.” Copeland, Rita. “Augmentation of Boethius’s Aetas Prima: From Chaucer to John Walton.” —​—​. “The Politics of Translation: The Lollard Debates.” Cormier, Raymond J. “Of Marvelous Crocodiles. Wondrous Echoes and a Curious Miniaturization: Non-​Virgilian Embellishments in the Eneas.” Corrie, Marilyn. “Petrus Alfonsi’s Disciplina Clericalis and its Anglo-​Norman Translator.” —​—​. “Translating the East in The Letter of Prester John.” —​—​. “Translating Vulcan in Le Roman de Thèbes: From God to Enchanter.” Critten, Rory. “Do Not Translate: Learning French in Medieval England.” Crouch, Tracy A. “Defining Translation in the Early Middle Ages.” Deam, Lisa. “Illuminator as Translator in the Medieval Chronicle Tradition.” Dembowski, Peter. “French Translations of Philosophical Treatises.” —​—​. “Scientific Translation and Glossing.” —​—​. “Traduttore-​correttore-​editore: Versions of the Roland.” Dillon, Emma. “Reading the Text as Music: Le Roman de Fauvel.” Dubin, Nathaniel E. “Translating Humor: The Fabliaux and Beyond.” Durling, Nancy Vine. “ ‘Qui en conte la verité?’ Narrator, Translator, and Author in Wace’s Roman de Brut.” Dutton, Elisabeth M. “The Bible Translated into Early Modern Drama at Oxford.” —​—​. “Chaucer, Boethius and the Re-​readings of MS Auct. F. 3. 5.” —​—​. “Medieval Convent Drama: Translating and Transforming the Liturgy.” —​—​. “Nicholas Grimaldi’s Translation of Biblical Material in the Oxford Plays.” —​—​. “Translation and the State in Late Medieval Drama.” Edwards, Carole, Diane Fuchs, Mica Gould, and Molly Martin. “Translating the Untranslatable in the Classroom.” Eichel, Andrew. “Taboo and Scandal: Translation Anxiety in Anglo-​Saxon Literature.” Einarsson, Arni Blandon. “Translating the Icelandic Sagas.” Einbinder, Susan L. “Once and Future Thoughts on the Hebrew King Artus.” Farrier, Susan E. “Moralizing in Germanic Translations of the Chanson de Roland.” Fitzgibbons, Moira. “Disruptive Simplicity: Gaytryge’s Translation of Archbishop Thoresby’s Constitutions.” Folkart, Barbara. “Recent Translations of Dante’s Commedia into French and English.” Garceau, Ben. “Against a Domesticating Model for the Alfredian Translations.” Gastle, Brian. “Translation as Investment in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.” Givens, Jean A. “Medieval Herbalism in Translation.”

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APPENDIX

Gleason, Mark J. “Commentaries: Chaucer and the Commentary Tradition of the Consolation of Philosophy.” Goeres, Erin Michelle. “Narrative Voices in the Old Norse Strengleikar.” Goodwin, Emma. “Translating the Chastelaine de Vergi into Medieval Dutch and Medieval Italian.” —​—​. “Translation in an Interdisciplinary Context: Emerging Pedagogies in Literary Studies.” Gordon, Sarah E. “Rendering and Recipes: Translation and Adaptation in Fourteenth-​Century French and English Texts.” Gray, Douglas. “Aeneas in Caxton and Gavin Douglas.” —​—​. “Virgil in Late Medieval Scotland: Aeneid and Eneados.” Griffiths, Jane. “The Reinscription of Authority in Lydgate’s Reson and Sensuallyte.” —​—​. “Translation, Text, and Gloss in Lydgate’s Henry VI’s Triumphal Entry into London.” —​—​. “ ‘The Words of the Translator’: Mediating Lydgate’s Fall of Princes.” Hamesse, Jacqueline. “Interpretari—​Traducere—​Transferre: A Lexicological Approach to French Translation Methods in the Middle Ages.” Higley, Sarah. L. “Coudrette and his English Translators: Missing the Plot in Mélusine.” Hosington, Brenda M. “ ‘Good chepe’ Books for the ‘unclerkely’ and ‘lewd’: English Incunabula Translations of French Medieval Secular Texts.” —​—​. “Le rire et le ridicule: Parody and Anti-​Feminist Satire in the English Translation of Les Evangiles des Quenouilles.” Hughes, Shaun F. D. “ ‘Wordum wrixlan’: Ulster-​Speak and Heroic Sleight of Hand in Seamus Heaney’s Translation of Beowulf.” Jeserich, Philipp. “Challenges in Translating Medieval French: The Case of Druerie in Marie de France’s Lais.” Johnson, Ian. “Middle English Lives of Christ and the ‘Theological Vernacular.’ ” —​—​. “Problems with Authority in Middle English Translation.” —​—​. “Vernacularity and Displacement in Late Medieval Translation.” —​—​. “Vernacular Valorizing: Functions and Fashions of Literary Theory in Middle English Translation of Authority.” Johnson, Rand. “The King James Version.” —​—​. “Latinists on Love: Humanist Translations of I Corinthians 13.” —​—​. “Translating the Bible into Latin.” Jones, Catherine M. “Modernizing the Epic: Philippe de Vigneulles.” Kelly, Douglas. “ ‘Fidus Interpres’: An Impediment to Medieval Translation.” —​—​. “Modalities of Translation in the Middle Ages.” Kelly, Henry Ansgar. “Chaucer as Boethian Commentator: Trevet, The Croucher Glosses, and Philosophical Strode.” Kelly, Louis G. “Jean d’Antioche and the Art of Translation.” —​—​. “Psallitte sapienter: Old French Psalters and Theologians.” —​—​. “Translators and Liturgical Reform.” Kibler, William. “A Recent Translation of Chrétien de Troyes.” King, Nicholas, SJ. “Biblical Translation.” Knox, Philip. “The Middle English Translation of Gower’s Traitié and the Ballade in England.” Kratz, Henry. “Latin to Old Norse: Saints’ Lives.” Lacy, Norris J. “The Perspective of the Editor.” Lamont, George J. M. “Aelfric and Saint Augustine: Patristic and Anglo-​Saxon Perceptions of Cultural Translation.” Lavigne, Claire-​Hélène. “Approaches to Legal Translation in Thirteenth-​Century France: The Case of Justinian’s Institutes.” Levy, Brian. “Translating Anglo-​Norman Religious Verse.” Lloyd-​Jones, Kenneth. “Aspects of Translation Theory and Practice in the French Renaissance.” —​—​. “Rhetoric and Translation Theory in the Renaissance.” —​—​. “Translating Known Works: Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and The Song of Roland.” Loengard, Janet. “English Court Records.” Löfstedt, Leena. “An Early Old French Translation of Gratian’s Decretum.” Lusignan, Serge. “The Use of French and Latin by Royal Secretaries: The Specific Nature of the Clerks’ Bilingualism at the End of the Middle Ages.”

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APPENDIX

Luteran, Paula. “Translation or Transformation? Herberay des Essarts’s Amadis de Gaula.” Lyons-​Penner, Mae. “Stanford Medieval Sourcebook: Translation for a Digital World.” McAllister, Patricia. “Vernacular Bibles: The Apocryphal Moses in the Middle Low German Historienbibeln.” MacBain, William. “The Translator as Reader and as Poet: Old French Interpreters of the Vulgata St Catherine.” McHugh, Anna. “Textual Inadequacy: Modernization as Rectification in Heaney and Henryson.” McInerney, Maud Burnett. “Translating the Roman de Troie.” McMunn, Meradith. “Roman de la rose Manuscript Illustrations: Translations and Mistranslations.” McWebb, Christine. “Elisabeth von Nassau-​Saarbrücken: A Female Translator in Fifteenth-​Century Germany.” Marti, Jordi Sanchez. “Chaucer’s ‘Makyng’ of the Romaunt of the Rose.” Marti, Suzanne. “King Arthur’s Journey North: Additions and Adaptations in an Old Norse Translation of the Conte del Graal.” Merrilees, Brian. “Translation and Definition in the Medieval Bilingual Dictionary.” —​—​. “A Web of Words: Synonymy in a Fifteenth-​Century French-​Latin Dictionary.” Minnis, Alastair J. “Jean de Meun’s Terminal Humor: The Rose and Clo(the)Sure.” Mitchell, Janelle. “ ‘This Prouffytable Lernynge’: Translation and Exchange in Caxton’s Vocabulary.” Monson, Don A. “The Modern Translations of Andreas Capellanus’s De amore.” Moore, Mark. “The Translation of Time in St Patrick’s Purgatory contained in the Book of Brome.” Mouron, Anne. “The Manere of Good Lyvyng: The Manner of a Good Translator.” Murphy, Diana. “Griselda and the Politics of Prestige: A Reconsideration of Fourteenth-​Century Translations of the Griselda Story.” Olson, Glending. “Chaucer’s ‘Markys’: The Social Context of Translation.” Painter, Douglas M. “Changing Interests of Vernacular Translators at the French Court from Charles V to Francis I.” Pairet, Ana. “Translating Romance: The Polyphonic World of La faula.” Palmbush, Courtney. “Gloss and the Translation of Ethics in Christine de Pizan’s Letter of Othea to Hector.” Patterson, Jeanette. “Imparting Patience through Translation in the Bible Historiale.” —​—​. “ ‘Let her works praise her in the gates’: Christine de Pizan (Re)translating Proverbs 31: 10–​31.” —​—​. “Soothing Listeners’ Ears: Confronting Reader Resistance in the Bible Historiale.” Perrand, Françoise. “Rewriting the Rose: Dante as ‘Translator.’ ” Pfeffer, Wendy E. “Translating the Women Trouvères: Who? What? When? Why? And How?” Phillips, Helen. “Gavin Douglas: Translator as Hero.” Pickens, Rupert T. “Marie de France Translatrix III: Amplificatio and Abbreviatio in Les Fables, L’Espurgatoire Seint Patriz, and La Vie Seinte Audrée.” Piper, Prydwyn O. “Pictures in a Mirror: Medieval Welsh Versions of the Pseudo-​Matthew.” Poor, Sara S. “Expanding the Audience: Working in Tandem on a Latin-​German Satire.” Pratt, Karen. “Old French to Middle High German: The Problem of Direct Speech.” Redinbo, Emily. “Consonance of Style and Ideology in the Old English Translation of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica.” Richards, Earl Jeffrey. “A Medieval Translation as Commentary: The Fiore and The Roman de la Rose.” Roberts, Anna M. “Translating Saint Augustine: Some Gender Issues.” Robinson, Kellie. “The Many Paths to Rome: Latin and Vernacular in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.” Robinson, Olivia. “Creative Translation and Teaching Medieval Poetry.” —​—​. “ ‘The traces/​Of her that here is named’: Richard Roos’s Translation of the Belle dame sans Mercy.” —​—​. “Translating Deguileville’s Pelerinages: Manuscript and Print in England and France.” Rosenberg, Samuel M. “Ways of Translating Lyric Poetry.” Rothstein, Marian. “Translation as Cultural Transposition: Amadis de Gaule.” Rowley, Sharon M. “The Impact of Scribal Habit on the Old English Version of Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis anglorum.” St-​Jacques, Raymond. “French Translations of the Bible in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries: Guyart des Moulins and his Contemporaries.” Sconduto, Leslie A. “Pursuing a Translation of Guillaume de Palerne: Encounters with the Untranslatable.”

195

APPENDIX

—​—​. “An Unedited Literary Manuscript.” Shaw, Brian. “Poetry: The Old English Phoenix and its Source.” Sneddon, Clive. “The Old French Bible in Context.” Solopova, Elizabeth. “From Bede to Wyclif: Did the Translators of Wycliffe’s Bible Use Old English Sources?” —​—​. “The Wycliffite Bible.” Speer, Mary B. “Glossing.” Staines, David. “The Perspective of the University Administrator.” —​—​. “A Recent Translation of Chrétien de Troyes.” —​—​. “Translating Chrétien de Troyes.” Stanton, Robert. “The Relation of Latin to the Vernacular in Anglo-​Saxon Hagiography.” Stein, Robert M. “ ‘Divina Commedia’: Teaching in Translation.” Sweetenham, Carol. “How Literal is Literal Translation?” —​—​. “ ‘Les Quinze Joies de Traduction’: A Rough Guide to Translating Medieval History.” —​—​. “Translating the Old French Crusade Cycle.” Tarvers, Josephine Koster. “The Influence of Context upon Style in the Middle English Katherine-​group.” —​—​. “Translating the Anglo-​Saxon Chronicles in Norman England.” Terry, Patricia. “Translating La Chanson de Roland.” Terry, Patricia, and Nancy Durling. “On Collaborative Translation.” Thompson, John Jay. “A Monastic armarium and its French Translator.” Tiller, Kenneth J. “Translating Chronicle Poetry in Twelfth-​Century Latin Histories.” —​—​. “Translating the Anglo-​Saxon Chronicles in Norman England.” Toswell, M. Jane. “Diction and Translation Technique in the Old English Paris Psalter, Metrical Version.” —​—​. “Polysystems Theory and the Early Medieval Context of the Old English Kentish Psalm.” —​—​. “When is a Gloss an Interlinear Translation? The Case of the Cambridge Psalter in Anglo-​Saxon England.” Turner, Denys. “Translating Medieval Philosophy.” Vanderbilt, Deborah. “Prologue and Performance: Old English Translations of a Latin Saint’s Life.” Weinberg, Florence. “Ovide moralisé: Paradigm of Cultural Adaptation and Translation.” Weldon, James. “ ‘Naked as Sche Was Y-​Bore’: The Rhetoric of Translation in Thomas Chestre’s Libeaus desconus.” Wesseling, Margaret. “Translatio Studii and Fifteenth-​Century Translation: Some Middle Dutch Adaptations of the Penitential Psalms.” Wethington, Norbert. “Oral Residuals in Middle English Acts.” Willard, Charity Cannon. “Latin to Old French: Raoul de Presles’s Version of St Augustine’s Cité de Dieu.” Wong, Jennifer. “Verse and Prose: Fourteenth-​Century English Translations of Edmund of Abingdon’s Speculum ecclesiae.” Work, Elisabeth Pendreigh. “A Medieval Translation as Eloquence: Problems of Language and Literary Style Addressed in the Letters of Saint Jerome.” Worley, Meg. “Party Politics as Collaborative Translation in the Court of Alfred the Great.” Worth, Liliana. “The Appropriation of French Literary Material in Some Thirteenth-​Century Castilian Texts.”

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INDEX

abbreviation, 3, 9, 157, 170–80 accessus, 38, 39, 46, 98 Aeneid, 4, 109, 112–13, 116, 128–30 Alberto da Brescia, 110, 133 Albucasis, 154–55, 158 alchemy, 9, 143–50 Alexandria, 86, 144, 181 alliteration, 78, 186 amplification, 8, 126, 160, 180–83 Andrea Lancia, 113–14 Anglo-Norman, 6, 16, 17–19, 75–83, 102 Arabic, 3, 9, 6, 88n15, 113, 143–48, 153–58 Aristotle, 6, 9, 37, 47, 86, 112, 125, 143, 150 Armitage, Simon, 10, 185–88 Ars amatoria, 4, 7, 114 artes dictaminis, 7, 108 artes poetriae, 7, 199, 181–82 Arundel, Thomas (archbishop), 40, 43, 54–57, 59 auctor, 5, 7, 10, 37–38, 42, 44–46, 178–80 audience, 10, 23–25, 28, 39, 55, 63–72, 77–81, 86–87, 89, 98–100, 102–3, 107, 116, 175, 177, 182 Augustine, Saint, 7, 18, 27–28, 52–53, 55, 86, 90–91 authority, 7, 13, 37–38, 44–45, 91–94, 97–104, 165, 178–80 Bartholomeus Anglicus, 58, 109 Bede, Venerable, 2, 18, 52, 55, 88 Beer, Jeanette, 1–13, 176–84 Bellum civile 111, 176, 179–84 Bellum gallicum. See Commentarii de bello gallico Benedictine, 56, 64, 108 Benjamin, Walter, 9, 166–67 Benoît de Ste-Maure, 4, 111–12 Bentick, Eoin, 9, 143–51 Berger, Samuel, 5, 23–25, 28–29 bestiaries, 112, 159–60 bibles, 4, 23–61 bilingualism, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, 19, 97–98, 101–04 biography, 10, 175–76 Boccaccio, 7, 90, 107, 109, 112–15, 133–36

Boethius, 37n4, 110, 114–15, 127–28, 136–38 Bonaventure, Saint, 44–46 Bono Giamboni, 109–110, 112 Brunetto Latini, 109–13 Butler, William, 53–54, 59

Caesar, Julius, 10, 111, 176–84 calque, 17, 137, 155, 157, 158 Carmelite, 6, 64–74 Carthusian, 37, 45–46 Cassiodorus, 5, 13, 15–16, 18–19 Catalan, 111, 148, 153, 155, 157 Catholicon, 5, 37 chanson de geste, 23, 76, 157, 182 Charlemagne, 1, 2, 10 Charles V (king of France), 7, 10, 28, 85–88, 91, 97 Chaucer, Geoffrey, 8–9, 133–38, 148 Cheung-Salisbury, Matthew, 6, 63–74 chevalerie 75, 176, 178 Chiamenti, Massimiliano, 8, 126 Christine de Pizan, 7, 85–95 Church, 1, 2–3, 7, 19, 23–24, 28, 37–39, 45, 52, 54, 57, 69n23, 86, 91, 94 Cicero, 27, 107–8, 109–10, 115–16, 178 Circa instans, 153, 156, 158 Cité des dames, Livre de la, 7, 87, 90–92 clergy, 7, 10, 51–52, 56–59, 63, 87–88, 90, 94, 98–102, 148–50, 175–76, 183 Commedia, 8, 113, 116, 125–32 Commentarii de bello gallico, 177–79 commentary, 3, 13, 15–18, 24–28, 30, 37–40, 43, 45, 55, 68, 70, 86–88, 92, 100, 107, 110, 113, 115–16, 127, 138, 156, 158, 160, 169 compilation, 5, 7, 10, 38, 45–46, 87–106, 100, 109, 111, 115–16, 153–54, 156, 176–78, 180, 183 composition, 7, 98–99, 108, 136, 153, 176, 182–83. See also artes dictaminis, artes poetriae convent, 6, 63–74 Cornish, Alison, 8, 107–24 Corrie, Marilyn, 8–9, 133–42

198

198

Index

Dante Alighieri, 8, 197–98, 102, 103, 104, 107, 109, 111, 113–16, 125–31, 148, 187 De vulgari eloquentia, 8, 97–98, 102, 104, 107, 109, 111, 113–16, 125–31, 148 Derrida, Jacques, 9, 166–70 Deschamps, Eustache, 9, 140 devotion, 5, 7, 13–14, 18, 38, 45–46, 71–72, 85, 88–90, 100–1, 115 diacritics, 9–10, 40, 45, 157 didacticism, 5, 14–17, 23, 37, 39, 63, 80, 98–100, 107, 175–76, 181–83 différance, 167–68 diglossia. See bilingualism digression, 92, 131, 180–83 Dominican, 53, 55, 59, 115–16 Donatus, 7, 98, 99, 103 Dove, Richard, 7, 103 drama, 2–3, 4, 6, 45, 63–74, 182 dream vision, 4, 134, 136, 138–39, 149, 185–87 Dutton, Elisabeth, 6, 63–74

Egypt, 30, 127, 143–44, 176, 182 Elucidarium, 7, 100, 109 Enéas, 4, 114 English, 7, 8–9, 10n17, 14–19, 37–49, 51–61, 133–41, 185–87 epic, 4, 24, 76, 157, 181, 182. See also chanson de geste Etymologiae, 90, 179 Eulalia, 2 Even-Zohar, Itamar, 14, 170, 171 explanation, 10, 30, 37, 47, 102, 138, 146, 171, 175, 177–79, 182, 183. See also gloss

fable, 4, 102, 115, 181–82 Fatti dei Romani, 111, 114 Fet/Fait des Romains, Li, 10, 111, 176–84 fidelity, 8, 10, 27–30, 39–43, 51–53, 56, 127–28, 155, 168, 170, 175, 179–80 Filostrato, 112, 114, 134–36 Fiore, 5, 8, 130–31 Five and Twenty Books. See General Prologue Folquet de Marseille, 8, 107 Fontaine des amoureux de science, La, 9, 148–49 formulae, 1–2, 79, 108, 182 Franciscan, 9, 19, 44, 53, 55, 59, 102, 113, 148 French, 1–4, 6–8, 10, 17–18, 23–36, 39, 53, 54, 63, 74, 85–95, 97, 100–3, 107, 110–13, 130–31, 133–34, 136–39, 175 Galen, 9, 143, 154–56 Gautier de Coinci, 7, 100–2, 104 gender, 6, 7, 63–74, 85–94, 165, 171 General Prologue, 41–43, 51–52, 59 German, 2, 3, 12, 15–16, 19–20, 54–55, 58, 68, 78n21, 97, 147, 165–66, 176–77, 180 Gerson, Jean, 85–90 Giles of Rome, 7, 98, 100

Giovanni di Bonsignori, 111, 114 gloss, 1 14–17, 24–26, 28–30, 37, 38, 40, 42–43, 45–46, 63–64, 67–70, 86–87, 91–93, 97–98, 113–14, 126n12, 155–57, 166, 168, 175, 179, 181–83 Glossa ordinaria, 16, 18, 24–30, 29, 38, 42 Goeres, Erin, 6–7, 75–83 Gospels, 3, 5, 14, 25–26, 28–30, 37–41, 43, 45–46, 52, 55–59, 67–68, 88, 115 Gower, John, 9, 148 Greek, 3, 5, 9, 16, 19, 23, 27, 52, 54–55, 86, 88n15, 101, 116, 125, 134–35, 144–45, 150, 154, 156 Grosseteste, Robert, (bishop), 42–43, 52 Guiart des Moulins, 29–36, 91 Guido delle Colonne, 109, 112 Guillaume de Lorris, 4, 85, 130, 133, 138, 147 Guillaume de Machaut 134, 136, 149

hagiography, 2, 3, 5–6, 46–47, 109 Hákon IV (king of Norway), 6, 10, 75–81 Hebrew, 3–4, 9, 16, 26, 28, 30, 52–55, 86, 88, 102n23, 125 Henri de Crissey, 7, 97–98, 100–1, 103 Henry II (king of England), 6, 75, 77 Herman de Valenciennes, 23 Higden, Ralph/Ranulph, 5, 43, 51, 55 Hinton, Thomas, 7, 97–106 Hippocrates, 9, 143, 154 history, 1–2, 44, 87, 109–13, 175–84 Homer, 4, 111, 125, 187 Hunt, Anthony, 9, 153–64 Huy, 4, 63–74

illustrations, 4, 10, 20, 25, 158–60 Innocent III (pope), 10, 24 instruction, 2, 3, 5, 13–17, 54, 59, 72, 75–76, 81, 89–91, 97–98, 102, 155, 171, 175, 181 interpretation, 4, 11, 13–15, 18, 20, 37, 40, 43, 57, 63, 68, 70, 90, 92, 126, 136, 170 inventio, 4, 11, 109, 126, 129–30, 136, 182–84 Isidore of Seville, 90, 179 Italian, 8, 14, 64n5, 85, 97–98, 104, 107–123, 125–132 Jacobus de Voragine, 5, 43, 46, 69n23 Jean de la Fontaine, 9, 149 Jean de Meun, 4, 7, 9, 85, 93, 137n6, 147–148 Jean le Fèvre, 92 Jerome, 1, 3, 18, 27–28, 41, 43, 52, 54–57, 59, 86, 88n15 Joannes Januensis, 5, 37 Jofre of Foixà, 7, 99 John of Gaunt, 19, 55, 134 Johnson, Ian, 5, 37–50 Jonah Fragment, 3 Kelly, Henry Ansgar, 6, 51–62 Kleinhenz, Christopher, 8, 125–32 Knighton, Henry, 52, 59

19

Lais, 4, 6–7, 75–83 laity, 5, 7, 18, 25, 26, 28–30, 38, 43–45, 58, 59, 85, 97, 99–101, 104, 108, 115, 116, 149, 154, 183 liberal arts, 24, 102, 146, 180– literacy, 63, 88n11, 97–104, 107–8. See also clergy literalism, 3–5, 8, 11, 16–18, 25–26, 29–31, 39–43, 45–46, 51–55, 91–92, 125–28, 154–55, 159, 167–69, 179–80. See also fidelity liturgy, 2–3, 6, 18–19, 23, 26, 28, 39, 58, 63–74 Livy, 86, 112, 114 Lollard. See Wycliffite Love, Nicholas, 5, 44–45, 57 Lucan, 111, 176, 179–84 Lydgate, John, 9, 17n20, 19

Macé de la Charité, 27, 30 Marie de France, 4, 6–7, 75–83 meditation, 5, 17–19, 44–45, 87 misogyny, 7, 92–94 mouvance, 9–10, 155–56, 167–69 music, 2–3, 7, 19, 69n23, 72n28, 79, 81, 100–1. See also song mythology, 143–45, 168, 170n37, 181–82

neologisms, 1–2, 9, 137, 158, 160. See also calques Nicholas of Lyra, 42, 45, 53 Nicole Bozon, 7, 102 Nicole Oresme, 7, 85, 101–2, 104 Nithard, 1–2 Norse, 4, 6–7, 75–83 Norton, Thomas, 9, 148–50 notaries, 8, 107–10, 112, 114 Notker Labeo, 15–16

Occitan, 7, 8, 98–100, 102–4, 107, 110, 125, 153–55 order, 37–38, 180–83 Ordonnance de Villers-Cotteret, 104 Orm, Augustinian canon, 5, 38–39 Orosius, 110, 111, 183 orthography, 2, 38, 153, 157–58. See also scribes Osbern Bokenham, 5, 37, 46–47 Oton de Granson, 133, 139 Ovid, 4, 7, 109, 111–14, 168, 187 Oxford, 10, 54–59, 102

Palmer, William, 53–55 paraphrase, 7, 8, 89, 91, 115, 126 Paris, 10, 24–25, 28–29, 85, 87, 103, 110, 159, 175–78 patronage, 6, 7, 10, 16–17, 25, 28–31, 77–83, 144, 159, 176 Patterson, Jeanette, 7, 85–95 Pearl, 10, 185–88 pedagogy. See instruction performance, 4, 6, 18–19, 43, 63–74, 79, 99 Petrarch, 107, 114–16, 133, 135 Petrus Comestor, 29, 45 Philip Augustus (king of France), 176–78

index

Pierre d’Abernon, 7, 100 poetry. See verse polysystem theory, 10, 14, 170–71 prayer, 3, 13, 17–18, 42, 45, 47, 67 preaching, 3, 5, 8, 17n20, 18, 38–39, 41, 43, 54–55, 107–8, 115–16, 157. See also sermons printing, 10, 13–14, 31, 44, 58–59, 115–16, 169 prologue, 5–7, 24, 30, 37–39, 41–43, 46–47, 51–52, 55, 59, 65, 70–71, 75–81, 91, 99, 114, 115–16, 133, 154, 166–68, 176 prose, 3n7, 5, 6–7, 9, 10, 19, 24–25, 27, 44, 58, 76, 78–79, 81, 88, 91, 108–11, 113, 114, 116, 125–26, 131, 135, 137, 148, 180, 183 Psalms, 5, 13–21, 25, 29, 54, 59, 88, 125, 127 psalters, 5, 13–22 Ptolemy Philadelphus, 10, 86–87

quotation, 1, 5, 7, 24, 43, 87–88, 101, 126, 145

Raimon Vidal, 7, 99 Raoul de Presles, 18, 28, 30–31, 86, 88, 91 Rauf de Lenham, 7, 100 Rhazes, 155 rhetoric, 4, 8, 10, 24, 27, 39, 44, 46, 47, 103, 108–10, 126, 180–82. See also artes poetriae Robinson, Olivia, 6, 63–74 Rolle, Richard, 5, 17, 37, 39–40, 43, 54, 58, 59 Roman, 1, 4, 11, 16, 27, 100, 102, 108–12, 114, 127, 130, 143, 157, 168, 176–84, 185 roman, 7, 8, 11, 23, 25, 75–83, 111–12 Roman de la rose, 7, 8, 85, 107n3, 130, 133, 136–38, 147–49 Romance, 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 218n21, 23, 75, 99–100, 111, 147, 157

Salerno, 115, 154 Sallust, 111, 175, 178, 180 Sampson, Thomas, 7, 102 science, 9, 86, 101, 108, 112, 148–50, 153–63 scribes 2, 6, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29–30, 38, 64, 77, 153, 155, 157 sententia, 5, 37–39 sermons, 2–4, 23, 42, 55, 59, 100, 102, 116. See also preaching Sneddon, Clive, 5, 23–36 song, 14, 17n20, 19, 75–83, 98–101, 107, 127, 135 Statius, 4, 129–30 Strasbourg Oaths, 1–2 strengleikar, 6–7, 75–83 style, 26–27, 29, 37, 52, 75–76, 78, 81, 89, 108, 110, 111, 131, 145, 147, 155, 169–70, 180–84, 185–86 Suetonius, 111, 176, 178–80, 182–83 syntax, 5, 15n12, 17, 18, 28, 40, 78, 97–98, 110, 169. See also Donatus theory, 9–10, 37, 104, 145, 165–73 Toledo, 9, 14, 28, 145, 147, 155 Toswell, M. J., 5, 13–22

199

20

200

Index

translatio studii, 1, 7, 85, 101–02, 150 Trevisa, John, 38, 43, 51, 58 trilingualism, 10, 16–17, 19–20, 39, 102 truth, 27, 42–44, 52, 54, 59, 65, 91, 143, 146–55, 166, 168, 169, 181–82 Ullerston, Richard, 54–55, 59

Valerius Maximus, 86, 109, 113–14 Vegetius, 86, 110

Venuti, Lawrence, 9–10, 81, 166, 167, 170–71 verse, 5, 7, 13, 19, 24, 26, 30, 38, 47, 78, 81, 107, 109, 111, 114, 125–32, 135–40, 148–50, 155, 181–84, 185–87 Virgil, 4, 109, 127, 112, 113, 116, 128–130, 187 volgarizzamento, 8, 107–24

Warren, Michelle, 9–10, 165–73 Wyclif, John, 51–54, 56–59 Wycliffite, 5–6, 17, 24, 37, 40–43, 51–54