From the 12th-century onwards, Ovid’s Metamorphoses exerted an enduring influence on Western culture. The capacity of this poem to be constantly present in our world is due to its innate transformative ability. In the Middle Ages, the Metamorphoses was often read as a philosophical text in which to find advice on Christian morality and ethics. In the Renaissance and Baroque periods, it constituted the most important repertoire of myths, an encyclopaedic work plundered by writers, musicians, and painters. The Metamorphoses found a permanent place in Western culture not only because it could be easily reinterpreted, but also for its capacity to be successfully rewritten and translated into various languages. In the medieval and the early modern ages, the reception of Ovid’s major poem did not happen exclusively through the Latin text; translations in the vernaculars played a pivotal role, transmitting the Latin Metamorphoses to all the emerging European vernacular cultures.
This conference aims to bring together scholars working on medieval and early modern translations of the Metamorphoses in Europe in order to shed light on the various ways in which Ovid’s poem was re-purposed and received, as well as to trace connections between different literary traditions. When was the Metamorphoses first translated into European vernaculars? How many Ovids can we talk about? Were there interferences between translations in the different vernaculars? The vernacularization of transnational texts contributed to the shaping of national identities, and this colloquium, fostering an exchange between scholars working in any European linguistic area, aims to shed light on the process of national acquisition of Ovid’s Metamorphosesthrough translation. The objective of this conference is to chart the changing face and function of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in the vernacular Europe of the Middle and Early Modern Ages.