Mary E. Giles, The Book of Prayer of Sor Maria of Santo Domingo: A Study and Translation. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990; Richard L. Kagan, Lucrecia's Dreams: Politics and Prophecy in Sixteenth-Century Spain. University of California Press, 1990; Ronald E. Surtz, The Guitar of God: Gender. Power. and Authority in the Visionary World of Mother Juana de la Cruz 0481-1534). University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990

Mary E. Giles
1991 Medieval Feminist Newsletter  
colloquial jolt to an otherwise graceful rendition. Erler's translation of Hoccleve is at once both more and less literal, often reproducing the rhymes of the original, but also occasionally adding and subtracting phrases where Hoccleve's text is difficult to mold into the rhythm of modem English (for example: "and made to weep" [49] is not in the original; "in fact, he just can't wait to go" [61] expands on the previous line, replacing a phrase meaning, as Erler's Glossary explains, "his heart
more » ... xplains, "his heart is on fire"). But these are the accommodations required of translators who undertake the difficult task of making poetry of poetry, and they do not detract from the quality of the work here. Both Fenster's and Erler's translations read well, are reliable, and represent their originals to good effect. On a larger scale, the composition of the book makes it worth even more than the sum of its not inconsiderable parts. The authors' Preface states that, "In publishing [Christine's and Hoccleve's] texts together here for the first time, it is hoped that readers of both may be served." That statement could be expanded to include Sewell. By gathering three versions of the same work and providing translations for readers who cannot manage the medieval languages, Fenster and Erler give us a case study in reception history, translating, intertextuality, and the evolution of a genre--defenses of women-as well. The changes made by Hoccleve and Sewell reveal a good deal about shifts in taste and literary preoccupations of their respective circles. Demonstrating Christine's influence is important as a reminder that her work must be considered in the context of other (male) poetry of the late Middle Ages, particularly in light of the popularity her work enjoyed in her own day. If her works are read in isolation, it is difficult to appreciate fully her success in presenting to a contemporary audience a rewriting of her literary forefathers and a challenge to the frrmly entrenched, misogynistic ideas that were part of their legacy. The high cost of Brill's volumes notwithstanding, this book should find a wide readership in and beyond the fields of Middle French, Middle English, and gender studies.
doi:10.17077/1054-1004.1596 fatcat:vbinf77z65hu5gux3t2b523bqq