Aphra Behn's Oenone to Paris: Ovidian Paraphrase by Women Writers

Heavey, K. (2014) Aphra Behn's Oenone to Paris: Ovidian Paraphrase by Women Writers. Translation and Literature, 23(3), pp. 303-320. (doi:10.3366/tal.2014.0161)

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Abstract

This article examines Aphra Behn's translation of Ovid's Heroides 5, demonstrating how her version, a contribution to the Dryden/Tonson collection Ovid's Epistles (1680), augments and alters its original with two different but complementary intentions. Behn's departures from Ovid (and, more importantly, from the earlier English translations that she may have relied on) often reflect her support for James, Duke of York during the Exclusion Crisis, and her disapproval of the King's illegitimate son, James, Duke of Monmouth, who is figured as the faithless Trojan prince Paris. Simultaneously, Behn (the only female contributor to the collection) extends her poem, and particularly her descriptions of Oenone's distress, to cater to the Restoration taste for female complaint. Finally, the article suggests that as a female translator, and one who alters her Ovid with clearly political intent, Behn may pave the way for other women to translate and politicize Ovid.

Item Type:Articles (Other)
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heavey, Dr Katherine
Authors: Heavey, K.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Translation and Literature
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISSN:0968-1361
ISSN (Online):1750-0214

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