Department Colloquium: Stephanie McCarter (Sewanee) "Ovid’s Cephalus and the Dangers of Mistranslation"

Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 4:45pm to 6:15pm

402 Cohen Hall, 249 South 36th St.

*4:15-4:45 pm: Coffee and cookies in Cohen Hall 2nd Floor Lounge. All are welcome.

Speaker: Stephanie McCarter, Professor of Classics, University of the South (Sewanee)

Title: "Ovid’s Cephalus and the Dangers of Mistranslation"

Abstract: Misunderstandings abound in the story of Cephalus and Procris from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a story in which riddling language prevails and double meanings are deadly. This talk will examine how the interpretive challenges within Cephalus’ tales mirror the difficulties faced by the translator, who must constantly contend with similar ambiguities. The translator, like others who listen to Cephalus’ tales, must carefully interpret his words, and the stakes of mistranslation are high. I will consider in particular how translators have failed to grasp one key aspect of his story, his rape by the goddess Aurora, and why this matters not only to the interpretation of his own narrative but also to that of the larger Ovidian epic.