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Title: The weight of a whole author on my shoulders : Dryden's Virgil
Author: Ricks , Catherine
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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One of the few monographs on Dryden's Aeneis cites Earl Miner: 'The definitive study of Dryden's Virgil remains to be written, but it seems beyond question that it is the most important translation in the language' (Corse, 1991). The aim of this thesis is to reopen the following questions: Why did Dryden undertake it? What qualities did he bring to this venture, at what he calls his 'great Clymacterique'? What in retrospect makes this work such a significant literary landmark? The main contribution I seek to make is a fuller consideration of Dryden's Virgil as a unitary work, and virtually unique as a complete translation of Virgil by a major poet. The Introduction provides contexts for my argument: a summary of current Dryden criticism , and of current Virgil scholarship. Chapter 1 considers Dryden's translation in the context of contemporary and later conceptions of Virgil in English poetry. Chapter 2 examines Dryden's trans-historical perspective and the formative role of his Lucretius (1685), and the influence (to a lesser degree) of Plutarch. Chapter 3 examines the neglected Pastorals, focusing on their tonal complexity and the quest for poetic sublimity in 'hard Iron Times'. Chapter 4 considers the Georgics, 'the best poem of the best Poet', its generic originality and contribution to the cultivation of English verse, and as an articulation of Virgil's Lucretian dimension. Finally, Chapter 5 discusses heroic ambivalence and 'tragical satyre', and Lucretian elements in Dryden's Aeneis. The Conclusion draws together unifying features of the work, the 'secret Beauties' of Dryden's translation that vindicate his aim to bear the 'weight of the whole Author' and show his responsiveness to 'Virgil's Design'. I argue that it is through this translation that Dryden finds his English voice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available