Translation as Muse: Poetic Translation in Catullus's Rome

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 5, 2015 - Literary Criticism - 288 pages
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Poetry is often said to resist translation, its integration of form and meaning rendering even the best translations problematic. Elizabeth Marie Young disagrees, and with Translation as Muse, she uses the work of the celebrated Roman poet Catullus to mount a powerful argument that translation can be an engine of poetic invention.

Catullus has long been admired as a poet, but his efforts as a translator have been largely ignored. Young reveals how essential translation is to his work: many poems by Catullus that we tend to label as lyric originals were in fact shaped by Roman translation practices entirely different from our own. By rereading Catullus through the lens of translation, Young exposes new layers of ingenuity in Latin poetry even as she illuminates the idiosyncrasies of Roman translation practice, reconfigures our understanding of translation history, and questions basic assumptions about lyric poetry itself.

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Finding Catullus in Translation
1 The Task of Translation in Catullus 64
Material and Cultural Capital in the Polymetrics
3 Catullus 4 and the Demographics of Late Republican Alexandrianism
Imitation and SelfExpression in the Translation Prefaces 50 and 65
5 Constructing Callimachus
Infatuation and Agonism in Catulluss Sappho 51
Toward a Poetics of Lyric Appropriation
General Index
Index of Catullan Poems Discussed

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About the author (2015)

Elizabeth Marie Young is assistant professor of classical studies and the Knafel Assistant Professor of Humanities at Wellesley College, where she also teaches in the comparative literature program.

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