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Translation as Commentary? The Case of Ben Jonson's Ars Poetica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)59 - 77
Number of pages19
JournalPalimpsestes
Volume20
Issue numberN/A
DOIs
Published2007

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Abstract

This article is a brief attempt to consider some of the ways in which Jonson’s neglected translation of Horace’s Ars Poetica—a project to which he returned over many years—is worthy of consideration as a major work of translation; a translation, moreover, which in its departures from and contention with the Latin text emerges as a kind of commentary. The reading of Horace that appears, as it were, from between the lines of Horace’s own text itself reflects central Jonsonian preoccupations: the power of the poet and the durability of poetic language. By reading Jonson reading Horace with close attention, we understand more deeply both Jonson’s “Horatianism” and the centrality of classical translation to his influential understanding of the poet’s role.

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