Homeric Renaissance: The Odyssey of George Chapman

Homeric Renaissance: The Odyssey of George Chapman

Homeric Renaissance: The Odyssey of George Chapman

Homeric Renaissance: The Odyssey of George Chapman

Excerpt

From the time they appeared Chapman's translations of Homer received widespread attention from poets, critics, and scholars. While there has been much comment of a general nature on their style and some analysis of particular features, no study both comprehensive and particular enough to do justice to the subject has so far appeared. The remarks of Pope, Lamb, Coleridge, and Swinburne, as well as recent articles on their ethical character by scholars like Chapman's distinguished editor, Miss Phyllis Bartlett, have been extremely valuable. Yet Chapman's translations make large claims not only as interpretations of Homer but as English epics. This is especially true of his Odyssey, a poem which demands a full study of ethical structure and poetic texture in relation to Homer and within the framework of Renaissance classicism.

This book was begun six years ago as a Ph.D. thesis at Yale. I first conceived my task as a twofold enquiry into the ethical nature of Chapman's Odyssey and its value as an English epic poem. In order to evaluate Chapman's interpretation, I found myself drawn much farther into a study of Homer's Odyssey than I had anticipated. This study resulted in my publishing an article on the Odyssey itself which is listed in the bibliography.

This book is also concerned with Homer and I hope will prove of interest to classical scholars as well as English scholars. I have tried to make full use of Homeric studies, within my limitations as an amateur. My chief regret on this score is that W. B. Stanford's fascinating study of The Ulysses Theme, an admirable synthesis of classical learning and critical perception, has appeared too late for me to make more than incidental use of it. I am also disappointed that the much-needed . . .

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