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The English Aeneid

Translations of Virgil 1555-1646

Sheldon Brammall

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The first book-length study of the English Renaissance translations of Virgil’s Aeneid

This study brings to light a history of English Renaissance Aeneids that has been lost from view. Previous monographs have explored the complete translations by Gavin Douglas (1513) and John Dryden (1697), but there has been little research focussing on the Aeneid translations which appeared in between. This book covers the period from the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign to the start of the English Civil War, during which time there were thirteen authors who composed substantial translations of Virgil’s epic. These translators include prominent literary figures – such as Richard Stanyhurst, Christopher Marlowe, and Sir John Harington – as well as scholars, schoolmasters, and members of parliament. Rather than simply viewing these Aeneids as scattered efforts preceding Dryden and the ‘golden age’ of Augustan translation, this book argues that these works represent a recognizable and important period of English classical translation. Drawing on manuscripts and printed sources, the book sketches a continuous portrait of the English Aeneids as they developed through the ages of Elizabeth, James, and Charles I.

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Contents

Acknowledgements
Notes
Contents
Introduction
1. The Search for a Lofty British Virgil: The Early Elizabethan Aeneids of Thomas Phaer, Thomas Twyne, and Richard Stanyhurst
2. ‘Sound this Angry Message in Thine Eares’: Sympathy and the Translations of the Aeneid in Marlowe’s Dido Queene of Carthage
3. Courteous Virgil: The Manuscript Translations of an Anonymous Poet, Sir John Harington, and Sir William Mure of Rowallan
4. Virginian Virgil: The Single-Book Translations of Sir Thomas Wroth, Sir Dudley Digges, and George Sandys
5. Rome at War: The Oppositional Virgils of John Vicars, Robert Stapylton, and Robert Health
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index.

About the Author

Sheldon Brammall is Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford.

Reviews

This book is an impressive example of the reach of translation studies into literary and cultural history. Thick historical contextualization is allied with sensitive close reading, to yield important new insights into translations that have already been the focus of attention and to develop frameworks of interpretation for translations that have not.

- Professor Philip Hardie FBA, Trinity College, Cambridge

This book is an impressive example of the reach of translation studies into literary and cultural history. Thick historical contextualization is allied with sensitive close reading, to yield important new insights into translations that have already been the focus of attention and to develop frameworks of interpretation for translations that have not.

- Philip Hardie, FBA (Trinity College, Cambridge)

The English Aeneid is an important book, for several reasons. The first stems from the fact that most of the material surveyed here has never been discussed at length, and a good part of it was essentially unknown until this book was published. ... Brammall has produced a major work of scholarship that must be taken into account by anyone with an interest in the afterlife of Virgil in the Renaissance.

- Craig Kallendorf,Texas A&M, Vergilius

The historical research on the translators’ biographies and political context is remarkable in itself, but Brammall deploys it to reassess their often eccentric poetics. ... [An] astute and sensitive study of Virgil’s early modern reception.

- David Adkins, University of Toronto, Review of English Studies

This is a bravely and intelligently drawn map of largely unsurveyed territory, the best-informed and most searching attempt yet to make sense as a whole of this remarkable run of translations; it adds more than just detail and nuance (though it does have those) to previous attempts. Anyone now venturing on the topic will need to work through Brammall’s discussion carefully and respectfully.

- Gordon Braden, University of Virginia, Translation and Literature, Volume 25 Issue 2

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