Translating Desire in Medieval and Early Modern Literature
For medieval and early modern poets, philosophers, and political subjects, to articulate desire was to stake out the boundaries of the cultural and communal self. Working in the midst of political dangers, intellectual and religious crises, and social upheavals, many medieval and Renaissance writers began appropriating discourses of desire in order to engage in, comment upon, and cope with their cultural environments. This translatio of desire offers an efficient yet flexible paradigm for examining the construction of the desiring subject.
This collection of new essays addresses the translation of desire across the borders of nation, language, genre, and gender. It explores how medieval and early modern authors convert discourses of desire whose conventions are primarily male, literary, and erotic into terms that serve the mixed social, religious, political, and literary aspirations of both male and female voices. The essays range in topic from gendered authority in the high medieval epistle to the eroticized politics of a Huguenot poet. Some take up cases where the primary end of desire is literary authority and others where social and political concerns drive the adaptation of desire, but even this border is permeable to translation.