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Didon et Énée dans le seizième siècle français. La version d’Hélisenne de Crenne de l’Énéide

Journal article
Authors Sara Ehrling
Britt-Marie Karlsson
Published in Milli Mála - Journal of Language and Culture
Volume 7
Pages 199-224
ISSN 2298-7215
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 199-224
Language fr
Keywords Hélisenne de Crenne, Aeneid, Virgilian reception, Early Modern translation
Subject categories Specific Literatures, Latin language, French language


This article discusses the first translation into French prose of the first four books of Virgil’s Aeneid, Les Quatre premiers livres des Eneydes du treselegant poete Virgile, Traduictz de Latin en prose Francoyse, par ma dame Helisenne. The translation appeared in 1541 under the pen name Hélisenne de Crenne, who was already an established author. The translation was her last work and may be seen as the keystone of her œuvre, both because of her previous allusions to the classical tradition and because of the common theme of illicit love. Crenne’s translation is free enough to raise questions about its nature as well as its sources. The interpreter apparently found inspiration not only in Virgil’s text, but also in a French verse translation from 1509 by Octovien de Saint-Gelais. Nonetheless, she skilfully manages to shift focus in the story, often in very subtle ways. With examples from the first book, this article shows how Crenne’s version enriches the preceding narrative’s inherent discourse on predetermination versus individual responsibility.

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