Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

George Pullman

Second Advisor

Ashley Holmes

Third Advisor

Michael Harker


Women translators of the classics by Homer, Vergil, and Ovid situate themselves between a text and an audience who occupies a culture that is at odds with the ancient world. Women use rhetorical strategies to correct misunderstandings and misappropriations in these canonical texts. “Lost and Found in Translation: Women Translating the Classics as Rhetorical Acts” juxtaposes men’s translations of the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, and Metamorphoses with women’s recent translations through text analysis.

Chapter One, “Lost and Found in Translation: An Introduction,” situates my approach and analysis of Caroline Alexander’s Iliad (2015), Shadi Bartsch’s Aeneid (2021), Stephanie McCarter’s Metamorphoses (2022), Sarah Ruden’s Aeneid (2021), and Emily Wilson’s Odyssey (2018), texts that are often taught to students beginning at the secondary level. Each chapter juxtaposes men’s translations with women’s and examines rhetorical strategies women employ. Chapter Two, “Women’s Rhetorical Strategies of Translation: A Review of Recent Translations of Classical Texts by Women,” reviews introductory materials of women’s translations and identifies key rhetorical strategies women use in their translations: reception, relevance, justification, accuracy, and word choice. Chapter Three, “Daphne’s Consent, Salmacis’ Force: A Case Study of Rape in Translation,” examines how women accurately translate stories of rape. Chapter Four, “Unnatural Iphis and Biformis Hermaphroditus: A Case Study of Gender and Sexuality in Translation,” argues that McCarter’s translations of Tiresias, Iphis, and Hermaphroditus reflect changes in cultural values around gender and sexuality. Chapter Five, “Women in/and Translation: A Case Study of Philomela and Arachne Crafting Rhetoric,” examines how Philomela and Arachne use weaving as a rhetorical act to share messages across mediums and with audiences. Chapter Six, “Penelope and Dido: A Case Study in Faithfulness,” argues that accuracy is a non-gendered approach to translation and examines the gendered metaphor of faithfulness in translation. My Conclusion calls for more scholarship around feminist translation of the classics, and the need for women to translate the rhetorical texts of Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian. Just as regendering the rhetorical timeline exposed women’s participation in rhetoric, translating the rhetorical texts may continue to create change in the foundations of this field.


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