On Famous Women: The Middle English Translation of Boccaccio’s ‘De Mulieribus Claris’

Edited from London, British Library, MS Additional 10304


1. Edition, 2015
131 Pages

ISBN: 978-3-8253-6455-7
Product: Book
Edition: Softcover
Subject: Anglistik/Amerikanistik
Series: Middle English Texts, Volume No.: 52
Available: 19.06.2015

Keywords: Übersetzung, Mittelenglisch, Humanismus, Mittellatein, Boccaccio, Boccaccio-Rezeption, Frauendarstellung, Frauenbilder, Frauengestalten


London, British Library, MS Additional 10304 contains the unique copy of one of the only two known English translations of Boccaccio’s ‘De Mulieribus Claris’ prior to modern times (the other being that by Henry Parker, Lord Morley (EETS OS 214 (l943)). The present text consists of twentyone of Boccaccio’s 106 lives of famous women, translated into seven-line stanzas. It exists in printed form only in the edition by Gustav Schleich (1924), not now readily accessible, and in selections edited by Julius Zupitza (1892). It is of interest and significance in several respects: as an instance of the cultivation of Italian humanist writing in fifteenth-century England, and in particular of the reception of Boccaccio; as an example of verse in the Chaucerian tradition on the subject of women; and as an example of selective adaptation in translation from Latin to the vernacular.

The Introduction to this edition includes consideration of language and versification, and an analysis of the Middle English translator’s strategies of selection from the source. The text is followed by a commentary including exposition of difficult passages, notes on significant modification of the source, and points of lexicographical interest, a select glossary, and an index of proper names.

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