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Translation as Muse: Poetic Translation in Catullus's Rome

Translation as Muse: Poetic Translation in Catullus's Rome Young. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. 251 p. Elizabeth Young’s rich new study of Catullus joins a body of relatively recent work that examines Latin poetry within the broader cultural ferment of late Republican Rome (see, for example, Krostenko; Wray; Feldherr; and Stroup). Catullus’s expressions of love, friendship, and enmity, his affectations of urbanitas, his Callimachean claims, all give voice to Rome’s social and intellectual transformation even as they herald the emergence of an original lyric genius. Yet so much of this originality stems from what in modern eyes might appear to be its dull antithesis: the act, or various acts, of translation. Young argues forcefully against any such antithesis. Pointing out that the Roman “myth of borrowed beginnings” places translation firmly at its center, she makes the bold claim that “Romans did not copy the Greeks out of any creative malaise: translation was, for them, the preeminent act of literary creation” (2). Catullus’s translations are rather adaptions and imitations of the language and gestures of a more mature cousin, trying on what Others are wearing; they are transforming assertions of identity and the rebellious declaration of values independent of those of the previous generation. To support http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Translation as Muse: Poetic Translation in Catullus's Rome

Comparative Literature , Volume 69 (3) – Sep 1, 2017

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright � Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-4164469
Publisher site
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Abstract

Young. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. 251 p. Elizabeth Young’s rich new study of Catullus joins a body of relatively recent work that examines Latin poetry within the broader cultural ferment of late Republican Rome (see, for example, Krostenko; Wray; Feldherr; and Stroup). Catullus’s expressions of love, friendship, and enmity, his affectations of urbanitas, his Callimachean claims, all give voice to Rome’s social and intellectual transformation even as they herald the emergence of an original lyric genius. Yet so much of this originality stems from what in modern eyes might appear to be its dull antithesis: the act, or various acts, of translation. Young argues forcefully against any such antithesis. Pointing out that the Roman “myth of borrowed beginnings” places translation firmly at its center, she makes the bold claim that “Romans did not copy the Greeks out of any creative malaise: translation was, for them, the preeminent act of literary creation” (2). Catullus’s translations are rather adaptions and imitations of the language and gestures of a more mature cousin, trying on what Others are wearing; they are transforming assertions of identity and the rebellious declaration of values independent of those of the previous generation. To support

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2017

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