The Aeneid and the Illusory Authoress: Truth, fiction and feminism in Hélisenne de Crenne’s Eneydes
Marshall, Sharon Margaret
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To enable publication of research
In 1541, writing under the pseudonym Hélisenne de Crenne, the French noblewoman Marguerite Briet produced a translation of the first four books of Virgil’s Aeneid that remains largely unknown. As a female author, Hélisenne provides a sixteenth-century woman’s perspective on the Aeneid, an on classical literature more generally, and the uniqueness of her translation in this respect makes her work extremely significant, particularly given the relatively recent interest in women and other marginal voices within the field of classics. This thesis contributes to an understanding of the need for a holistic approach to Classical Reception Studies, through a thorough examination of Hélisenne’s translation not only with regard to her gender but also the social, historical and literary climate in which she writes. Focussing on the mise en livre, as well as the text, my approach also stresses the need to reevaluate the relationship between the author and the text that we often assume in classics is more direct than is actually the case. Through such an examination of her Eneydes, Hélisenne emerges as a serious participant in the humanist tradition who engages with classical literature in such a way as to question masculine textual authority and the notion of an objective truth, whilst deliberately implicating herself through her translation in a web of authorities who are not to be trusted.
PhD in Classics