SURF

Phee Marcial

Catullus, Gender-fluidity, and Trans*lation

In the past few decades, discussion of gender-fluidity in poetry has become more prevalent, but it is often limited to contemporary literature and the realm of modern queer theory. My research investigates poetic portrayals of gender-fluidity in the work of the ancient Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus. I am focusing in particular on the original poetry of Catullus alongside Romantic, Victorian and contemporary translations/adaptations in English in order to track how these portrayals have changed over time. The approach is grounded by the conception of poetry in translation as valuable in its own right and by the parallel conception that artistic performance of gender is its own sort of ‘translation’. This project also discusses and explores the portrayal and sociolinguistic creation of gender in Catullus’ poetry in the context of poem form and content. With this work I hope to present a novel perspective on these poems that provides insight about their past lives and reminds contemporary readers of their own sociocultural situatedness in the present.

Message to Sponsor

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to pursue this research throughout this summer and beyond. The support of the SURF L&S program and the Anselm Arts and Humanities fund is invaluable for my development as a researcher and my ability to contribute meaningfully to my field. It is extremely important to me to be able to conduct research that expands the field of Classics and provides space for novel interpretations. I hope that my work inspires future Classics students to explore ancient literature with an eye towards the future as well as the past.
  • Major: Classical Languages
  • Sponsor: Anselm Fund
  • Mentor: Kathleen McCarthy