Methods of Medieval Translators: A Comparison of the Latin Text of Virgil's aeneid with Its Old French Adaptations

Author: Cormier, Raymond J.
This monograph examines the medieval French translation/adaptation of Virgil’s Aeneid. The work employs Relevance Theory, second language pedagogy and hermeneutics in its analysis.


“Forty years in the making, this study is literary archeology at its most imaginative and ambitious.”-Prof. Stephen G. Nichols, Johns Hopkins University

"This study illuminates our understanding of how translation does it[s] work both today and in the past." -- Prof. Tracy Adams, University of Auckland

"Cormier makes a case for schema's relevance for understanding choices made by medieval translators, but this work, an endearing display of indefatigable erudition, will more valuable as a reference for specialists in medieval studies." -- Prof. A.P. Church, Dickinson State University

"... set up a persuasive set of analogies linking language acquisition, linguistic and cultural translation, and the adaption of texts or legends to new languages, aesthetic forms, and ideological purposes. ... this book does contain a great deal of learning, and can be profitably consulted like a reference work for anyone embarking on the study of medieval literary translaton." -- Medium Ævum

Table of Contents



Frequently Cited Texts

1. Background
2. The Method
3. Status Review
4. Other Voices/Rationale

Chapter I. On The Margins: Cognitive Schemata and Relevance Theory in a "Marginal" Medieval Literary Adaptation
1. The Role of Cognitive Schemata in Creative Learning Behaviors
2. Cognitive Schemata and the Role of Discrepant Stimuli in Foreign Language Learning and Composition
3. Relevance Theory
4. Cognitive Schemata and Creativity/Translation/Interpretation
—as Applied to Relevance Theory

Chapter II. Theories and Praxis of Translation: Vindicating the Poet
1. Background
2. Definitions
3. Transculturation
4. Praxis of Translation
5. Vindicating the Poet

Chapter III. Necessary Anachronisms and the Archeology of the Gloss
1. Introduction and Definitions
2. Anachronisms and Theories of Time
3. Modern Context
4. Glosses, History, Art History and Literary Links
5. Conclusions

Chapter IV. Hermeneutics and Textual Criticism
1. Exegesis and Sacred Scripture
2. An Image: "La Belle Captive"
3. Commentary, Appropriation and the Vernacular
4. Textual Criticism
5. The Critical Edition
6. Conclusions

Chapter V. After Virgil (and Servius): Twelfth-Century Scientific Translation as Illustrated in High Medieval French Romances
Adaptation—The Old French Romancer's Hermeneutic and the Ideal Translator
1. Adaptation-Amphiaraiis (Thebes) and Greek Armor (Eneas)
2. Absorbing a gloss/Redirecting: Dido callida Aeneas certusque
3. Amplification en passant
4. The "Golden Bough" (non-Servian) gloss
5. The "metus et dolor" gloss
6. Completing Virgil's meaning
7. Transmutation by metonymy
8. Restructuring through "dynamic equivalence"
9. A Suggested Misreading—the "quamquam vulneratus" gloss

Chapter VI. Synchronizing Mythemes: Three Hermeneutic Studies in Glossing {Roman d'Eneas, vv. 99-182; w. 4297-4398; w. 2557-2604)
1. The Judgment of Paris—A Beauty Contest
2. Cerberus—A Monster Dog Glosses Medieval Romance
3. Surprised by Vulcan—The Adultery of Venus and Mars

Chapter VII. Dido "en diachronie" (1483-1858): A Brief Stratigraphic Survey
1. Censoring
2. Renaissance Anachronisms
3. Flattening and Simplifying
4. Interpretive or Glossing Hypertranslation; Following an Alternate Gloss Tradition
5. "Les Troyens" by Hector Berlioz




Appendix I—Permissions

Appendix II—Bibliography of French Translations or Adaptations of Virgil's Aeneid, 1160-1897-A Preliminary List

Works Cited

Indices: Modern Authors

Ancient Authors

Medieval Authors

General Index