Translation and narrative voice: translating ambiguities and narrators in Virgil’s Aeneid

Fitton-Hayward, Melanie (2020) Translation and narrative voice: translating ambiguities and narrators in Virgil’s Aeneid. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[img] PDF (Thesis - as examined) - Repository staff only - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (2MB)


This thesis explores how translators recreate the narrative of Virgil’s Aeneid, a notoriously interpretable and polyvocal text characterised by its subjective and ambiguous nature. This complex narrative allows, or rather demands, interpretation from its readers and its translators. Calling on theoretical work from multiple disciplines including narratology, translation theory, and Virgilian reception, this thesis shows that the ways in which translators (re)voice narrative can reflect shifting cultural relationships with classical texts.

This thesis examines two very significant translators of the Aeneid: Cecil Day Lewis and Frederick Ahl. United by a common publishing series, Oxford World’s Classics, but separated by geography, historical context, and their relationship to literary and academic contexts, these two translators illustrate key developments in readings of Virgil as well as in the role of the translator. Chapter 1 explores representations of focalisation and free indirect discourse, to examine how multiple voices contribute towards the creation (and translation) of the narrative. Chapter 2 turns to deixis, to show how the personal, spatial, and temporal identity of the narrator shifts within translation, reflecting changes not only to the relationship between narrator and narrative, but also between the source text and target culture. Chapter 3 examines apostrophe, and its function as means of connecting narrator and character as well as its role within the construction of narrative itself. Chapter 4 is focused on the use of similes in subjective characterisation, and as vehicle for formation of two very different versions of Virgil’s protagonist and antagonist. Finally, chapter 5 moves the thesis towards its close, using a case study to show the cumulative effect of these narrative motifs.

The thesis concludes with a reflection on how Ahl and Day Lewis present Virgil’s multivocal text, how they relate to their characters and to their narrative, to their audience and to Virgil. More broadly, this work uncovers tensions between authority and authorship, presenting translation as a reconstruction of narrative, a process which may be foregrounded or concealed, in ways which interact and engage with the act of translation itself.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Lovatt, Helen
Royan, Nicola
Keywords: Virgil; Classics; Latin Narrative; Translation; Aeneid; Apostrophe; Subjectivity; Ambiguity; Focalisation; Simile
Subjects: P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 61290
Depositing User: Fitton-Hayward, Melanie
Date Deposited: 19 May 2021 07:52
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2022 04:30

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View