1) Class review for the week
2) Ovid’s Tales in comparison to Chaucer’s representation in “Legend of Good Women”
3) Idea of translatio studii et imperii in relation to the stories over time
3) Online platforms for the Modern Manuscript Codex
Class Review for the Week
On Monday the class got into their groups (made the previous Friday) to continue their analyzation of a character of their choosing from the works of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” and Chaucer’s “Legend of Good Women“. Aside from their analyses each group also needed to create a presentation of their findings to present in class as well. These were presented in class on Wednesday. The purpose of this was to show the comparing and contrasting elements of the character’s portrayal in Legend of Good Women and Ovid’s Heroides or Metamorphoses as well as any character representation from modern sources. On Friday the class met in the library’s Homer Rice center to discuss some platforms to use for our Digital Edition Manuscript Project.
Ovid’s Tales & Characters in comparison to Chaucer’s representation in “Legend of Good Women”
As previously mentioned, we were required to do research on a character from Ovid and then compare and contrast that character to how they are viewed in Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women and in modern times as well. We were split into 3 different groups with the first group doing their research on Philomela, the second focusing on Aeneas, and the third group covering Jason.
The first group’s presentation of the character Philomela focused more on what Chaucer left out or didn’t say rather than comparing and contrasting the character. In Ovid’s original stories Philomela was raped and abused by her brother in law, King Tereusof Thrace. This would lead to her take revenge on King Tereus. Philomelia and her sister Procne then went on to murder the King’s son. They proceeded to cook his body and serve it to the King, who soon after taking his fill was presented with his son’s severed head. Chaucer, however, left out most of the graphic ending. While it is still uncertain to why exactly Chaucer painted her as a good woman until the end is unclear, there are a few possibilities that we discussed in class. I think he did this in order to keep up with the theme of the book, which is painting women as noble heroes. As you continue to read you will notice how Chaucer was constantly tweaking the stories to the favor of female characters.
The second group gave a presentation on the Roman hero Aeneas. He is accredited to founding the city of Rome and saving numerous Trojan soldiers during the fall of Troy. They decided to contrast the old mythology and both Ovid’s and Chaucer’s depiction. While the old mythology celebrates him as a hero, Ovid and Chaucer portray him as bad man for abandoning Dido in Carthage in order to go on to Italy. I think the reason for making him out to be the bad guy as newer translations were made was to recharacterize the idea of what it takes to be a ‘man’. In very olden times women were considered to be lower than men, but as time went on women began to claim more important roles in society. That idea along with the growth of Christianity and it’s rules about being a good husband and father brought about the recreation of what characteristics make a good and honorable man.
The final group did their presentation on Jason, the famed leader of the Argonauts and owner of the golden fleece. The presentation contrasted the story from 4 different interpretations; Myth, Ovid, Chaucer, and modern references. The mythical story is primarily focused on his adventures aboard the Argo and his quest to find the golden fleece. His wife, Medea, is eventually betrayed by Jason and takes revenge by killing her two children that he had fathered. Her act soon overshadows Jason’s betrayal. In both Ovid and Chaucer’s interpretations Medea is given a more important role. She becomes the main reason why Jason succeeds in his endeavors. This alternate portrayal is used to make Jason’s betrayal seem more heartless and cruel. By playing Jason’s victimization down it helped make Medea into a more relatable character.
Idea of translatio studii et imperii in relation to the stories over time
The idea of translatio studii et imperii was presented to our class by Professor Wharton. When translated this Latin phrase means the transfer or translation of culture and knowledge and of political power and legitimacy.I felt as if this idea tied in perfectly with the comparing and contrasting of the stories’ translations. It is easy to see this idea working when you start to see how the authors changed, left out, and even added to the stories. In a sense, authors who translate old stories to match modern ideals are recreating the way people apply old tales to their everyday lives. Thus changed people’s ideas of right and wrong overtime.
Online Platforms for the Modern Manuscript Codex
The first one that was presented was MediaWiki. This is the platform that Wikipedia is built and run on. This platform is very easy to use and offers a wide variety of online support from its large community. It also provides easy to customize templates which helps keep the website organized and easy to navigate. Another advantage of this is that it allows for multiple collaborations from multiple sources. This is key to keeping the site updated far after the class is finished with it by giving others the opportunity to add on. The downside to MediaWiki is that while it is to create on the platform, it does limit the amount of creative and interactive material that can be used on the site.
The next platform that we were presented was Omeka. Omeka was unique in that it’s main purpose was for the presentation of image collections. This is widely used by libraries and museums mainly to publish historic photographs and manuscripts. While this may seem like the exact tool we need, it’s lacked the community support because of its lack of functionality. This, along with the fact that it does not give the ability for multiple editors really makes it seem like the unlikely choice to use.
We eventually came to the conclusion that the best option would for our codex would be to use MediaWiki.
The legend of good women: http://chaucereditions.wordpress.com/1880s/1884-english-illustrated-magazine/