Winter 12-14-2018

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Kennedy, Teresa

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration


Department or Program

English, Linguistics, and Communication


An author’s purpose in translating a work was to shape the literary piece into a framework that would best connect with his intended audience. This essay focuses on the moral and characterization changes within the Griselda tale throughout medieval translations. Giovanni Boccaccio wrote The Decameron X, 10 highlighting the instability of his Italian vernacular in order to undermine authorial intentionality, thereby presenting his work as a matter of interpretation. Francesco Petrarch wrote the Tale of Griselda in Latin to maintain his reputation as a public intellectual with the elite and embedded a religious moral within the tale. Finally, Geoffrey Chaucer created “The Clerk’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales using Middle English vernacular to critique Petrarch and educate his own culture on the value of questioning the authority of literature. I argue that these translations successfully demonstrate that in order to transition a story from one culture into another, authors embrace a rejection of form.