Dr Sharon Marshall

Research interests

  • Latin literature (especially Roman epic, love elegy and the Roman novel)
  • Translation Studies
  • The reception of Latin literature in Early Modern France
  • Women writers and representations of women in literature
  • Early Modern paratexts

In 1541, writing under the pseudonym Hélisenne de Crenne, the French noblewoman Marguerite Briet produced a translation of the first four books of Virgil’s Aeneid that remains largely unknown. As a female author, Hélisenne provides a sixteenth-century woman’s perspective on the Aeneid, an on classical literature more generally, and the uniqueness of her translation in this respect makes her work extremely significant, particularly given the relatively recent interest in women and other marginal voices within the field of classics. 

My PhD thesis offered a thorough examination of Hélisenne’s translation not only with regard to her gender but also the social, historical and literary climate in which she writes, contributing to an understanding of the need for a holistic approach to Classical Reception Studies. Focussing on the mise en livre, as well as the text, my approach also stressed the need to reevaluate the relationship between the author and the text that we often assume is more direct than is actually the case. Through such an examination of her Eneydes, I argued that Hélisenne emerges as a serious participant in the humanist tradition who engages with classical literature in such a way as to question masculine textual authority, whilst deliberately implicating herself through her translation in a web of authorities who are not to be trusted. 

My current project is to prepare the thesis for publication as a monograph.