On Translating Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, Book III, Lines 12-14. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Translators of Chaucer's Troylus and Cryseyde have treated lines 12-14 of Book III, a crux in the apostrophe to Venus, in two ways. One recurring translation has Venus endow her followers with worthiness, while the other commonplace translation has Venus cause all creatures to exist and endure. The latter translation renders Chaucer's "is worth" as a verbal form meaning "exist" or "has being." Although either translation is possible grammatically, the latter is preferable because it preserves a series of parallel constructions; indeed these extend into the next stanza. Regrettably, the matter cannot be resolved by a study of the source, because Boccaccio's Filostrato (ca. 1338) has precisely the same divergence of translation. However, the Lucretian influence on Boccaccio urges a translation of his entire stanza in terms of the generative Venus, wherein a Venus who endows her followers with worthiness would be intrusive.

publication date

  • 1973