Medieval Women Poets in Translation

I’ve compiled this woefully incomplete list of medieval women’s poetry in translation partly as self-promotion and partly in order to share resources. Additions are welcome. Happy #WITMonth, everyone!

Classical Arabic, 4000 BCE – 1492 CE

Hebrew, 10th – mid-15th centuries

Latin, 1st–16th centuries

Classical Chinese, 9th–16th centuries

Early Middle Japanese, 8th–12th centuries

Kannada, 12th century

Old Norse, 9th–13th centuries

Old Occitan (Provençal), 12th & 13th centuries

Italian, 13th century

  • Samantha Pious, tr. “La Compiuta Donzella: Three Sonnets.” ed. Gianfranco Contini. Doublespeak Magaine (Fall 2016). [Scroll down for the Table of Contents.]
  • Samantha Pious, tr. “A Sonnet by La Nina Siciliana.” [Seeking a home!]

Old French, 12th & 13th centuries

Dutch, 13th century

Middle French, 14th & 15th centuries

Catalan, 14th century

  • Kathleen McNerney, tr. “La Reyna de Mallorques.” Catalan Review 5.2 (1991): 163-167.
  • [My new translation of Lady Tecla’s verse exchange with Ausiàs March is now seeking a home!]

Kashmiri, 14th century

Middle Welsh, 15th & 16th centuries

Old Spanish, 15th century

Middle High German, 11th–16th centuries

Old English > “Middle French” > Modern English

I have a double translation in Doublespeak! The original is an Old English riddle; I adapted it into “Middle French” octosyllabic couplets and then translated my own adaptation into Modern English iambic tetrameter. Thank you to the editors, especially Shailly Pandey and Yehudith Dashevsky, who encouraged me to submit!

Women Translators of Sappho

Here is a list—by no means complete!—of women-authored translations from the Ancient Greek of Sappho (ca. 630 – ca. 570 B.C.E.).

  • Louise Labé (1524-1566), Sonnet 7 (1555), an adaptation of Sappho 31 into a French sonnet
  • Anne (Le Fèvre) Dacier (1647? – 1720), Les Poésies de Sappho de Lesbos (1681), translations into French prose
  • Anonymous (“Fille d qualité de Guyenne, âgée seulement de dix-huit ans”), “Ode de Sapho à son amie” (1684), an adaptation into French verse after Anne Dacier’s prose translation of Sappho 31
  • Clotilde de Surville (ca. 1405–ca. 1498), “Qu’à mon gré ceste-là va primant sur les Dieux” (published in 1803 & 1826), two adaptations of Sappho 31 into French verse
  • Renée Vivien (née Pauline Mary Tarn, 1877–1909), Sapho (1903), adaptations into French verse
  • Édith de Beaumont (1877–1952), Poèmes de Sapho (1950), translation into French free verse
  • H.D. (Hilda Doolittle, 1886–1961), “Fragment Forty,” an adaptation into English verse
  • Mary Barnard, Sappho: A New Translation (1958), translations into English verse
  • Marguerite Yourcenar, La Couronne et la Lyre (1979), adaptations into French verse
  • Anne Carson, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (2003), translations into English verse
  • Aurora Luque, Safo: Poemas y testimonios (2004), Spanish
  • Rosita Copioli, Saffo: Più oro dell’oro (2006), translations into Italian verse
  • Maria Rosa Llabrés Ripoli, Cants de Safo (2006), Catalan
  • Susan Hawthorne, “Fragment 16,” in Sinister Wisdom 81 (2010), English
  • Mary Meriam, “who leaves me rootless,” in Girlie Calendar (2014), imitation into English verse
  • Josephine Balmer, Sappho: Poems and Fragments (2nd edition, 2018)

For more information on Sappho’s “afterlives,” you can consult:

  • Jane McIntosh Snyder, Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho (1997)
  • Margaret Reynolds, The Sappho Companion (2000)
  • Philippe Brunet, L’Égal des dieux: Cent et une versions d’un poème de Sappho (2018)

 

Renée Vivien in The Rumpus!

Thank you so much to Maryann Corbett for this stunning review of my Renée Vivien translations! A poet, scholar, and translator—check out her work in Mid Evil!—Corbett writes:

… the strangeness itself is fascinating, and one has the sense that our fascination is Vivien’s aim. She is an exotic, and for those times when your mood runs to the exotic, Samantha Pious has brought her within easy reach.

Thank you, also, to Molly Spencer for your work in publishing this review in The Rumpus!

My translations are available in a new edition through Amazon and Headmistress Press.