Translating Women in Early Modern England: Gender in the Elizabethan Versions of Boiardo, Ariosto and Tasso, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Translating Women in Early Modern England

Gender in the Elizabethan Versions of Boiardo, Ariosto and Tasso, 1st Edition

By Selene Scarsi


218 pages

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Situating itself in a long tradition of studies of Anglo-Italian literary relations in the Renaissance, this book consists of an analysis of the representation of women in the extant Elizabethan translations of the three major Italian Renaissance epic poems (Matteo Maria Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso and Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata), as well as of the influence of these works on Elizabethan Literature in general, in the form of creative imitation on the part of poets such as Edmund Spenser, Peter Beverley, William Shakespeare and Samuel Daniel, and of prose writers such as George Whetstone and George Gascoigne. The study emphasises the importance of European writers' influence on English Renaissance Literature and raises questions pertaining to the true essence of translation, adaptation and creative imitation, with a specific emphasis on gender issues. Its originality lies in its exhaustiveness, as well as in its focus on the epics' female figures, both as a source of major modifications and as an evident point of interest for the Italian works' 'translatorship'.


'Selene Scarsi's monograph, from Ashgate's Anglo-Italian Renaissance Studies Series, is the most comprehensive study to date of the complete and partial Elizabethan translations of Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, and it should become essential reading for future research on the translation and English Renaissance reception of these Italian poets. Scarsi's focus on how these translators ''English'' the female knights and characters in these Italian romance epics could also yield insights for gender critics of the period.' Renaissance Quarterly '… a scrupulous, well-organized, in-depth and detailed scholarly study offering a valuable contribution to the field of Translation Studies and to that of Anglo-Italian Renaissance Studies, in whose Ashgate series the volume is appropriately placed.' inTRAlinea '[Scarsi] brings to the field a rare commitment to minute verbal detail, an impressive command of rhetorical terms, and an exhaustive knowledge of nearly a century’s worth of criticism in two languages… Readers will appreciate the comprehensiveness of this book, which, far from being limited to considerations of gender, traces the Elizabethan fascination with Italian literary culture, the relatively relaxed early modern attitude toward authorship and attribution, and the dynamics of imaginative exchange that could transport characters, plot devices, and metaphors across linguistic, generic, and temporal bounds.' Sixteenth Century Studies ’…constitutes a significant contribution to our knowledge of early modern English translation theory and practice and the book’s treatment of a broad range of important issues renders it interesting for scholars concerned not only with Translation Studies but also with Intertextuality, Anglo-Italian relations, and Gender Studies.’ Notes and Queries '… a comprehensive and detailed study which combines precious insights in the field of translation theory wi

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction ; Part I (Mis)Translating Women: Sir John Harington's Orlano Furioso in English Heroical Verse: Ariosto's female knights; Ariosto's other female characters; Addresses to and general comments on women. Part II Female Figures in Elizabethan Translations of the Gerusalemme Liberata: Tasso's female characters. Part III From Partial Translations to Adaptations and Imitations: Tofte's Boiardo: Orlando Inamorato; Tofte's Ariosto: Two Tales: Spenser's Ariosto; Epilogue: variations on the same theme. Ariosto's Cantos IV to VI; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Selene Scarsi is a Research Associate at the University of Hull, where she teaches English Renaissance Literature.

About the Series

Anglo-Italian Renaissance Studies

Anglo-Italian Renaissance Studies
This series places early modern English drama within the context of the European Renaissance and, more specifically, within the context of Italian cultural, dramatic, and literary traditions, with reference to the impact and influence of both classical and contemporary culture. Among the various forms of influence, the series considers early modern Italian novellas, theatre, and discourses as direct or indirect sources, analogues and paralogues for the construction of Shakespeare's drama, particularly in the comedies, romances, and other Italianate plays. Critical analysis focusing on other cultural transactions, such as travel and courtesy books, the arts, fencing, dancing, and fashion, will also be encompassed within the scope of the series. Special attention is paid to the manner in which early modern English dramatists adapted Italian materials to suit their theatrical agendas, creating new forms, and stretching the Renaissance practice of contaminatio to achieve, even if unconsciously, a process of rewriting, remaking, and refashioning of 'alien' cultures. The series welcomes both single-author studies and collections of essays and invites proposals that take into account the transition of cultures between the two countries as a bilateral process, paying attention also to the penetration of early modern English culture into the Italian world.

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