Susanna Braund (UBC, CNRS): Distaff versus Crozier: The Gender Politics of Marie de Gournay's Translation of Virgil


Friday, February 1, 2019 - 15:00 to 16:30


Buchanan Tower- 1126
1873 E Mall
V6T 1Z1 Vancouver , BC


Part of the Early Modern Research Cluster


Marie de Gournay, the prolific writer, translator, scholar and fille d’alliance of Montaigne, uses fighting words in her letter to the French king that accompanies her translation of Virgil’s Aeneid to assert the power of the distaff against that of the episcopal crozier:

Quelle temerité, SIRE, une quenouille attaque une crosse, et la crosse d’un Bertault ? Mais il est raison que soubs un si brave Monarque, les Dames osent entreprendre des gestes d’Amazones.

In my paper I examine the manifestations of this competition, which involves Gournay incorporating passages from Bishop Bertaut’s translation into her own to facilitate comparison. What can we conclude about her self-positioning as an outsider fighting against the masculine establishment?


About the Presenter

Susanna Braund (UBC, CNRS)

Susanna Braund holds the Canada Research Chair in Latin Poetry and its Reception at UBC. She has previously taught at Stanford University, Yale University, and the Universities of London, Bristol and Exeter.

She has published extensively on Roman satire and Latin epic poetry among other aspects of Latin literature and has translated Lucan (Oxford World's Classics) and Persius and Juvenal (Loeb Classical Library). She was a Visiting Scholar at the Collège de France in 2014 and held a Killam Research Fellowship in 2016-18 for her major project A Cultural History of Translations of Virgil: From the Twelfth Century to the Present, which will be published by Cambridge University Press.