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Milton in the Long Restoration$
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Blair Hoxby and Ann Baynes Coiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.001.0001

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Haak’s Milton

Haak’s Milton

Chapter:
(p.379) 20 Haak’s Milton
Source:
Milton in the Long Restoration
Author(s):

Nigel Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.003.0021

This chapter explores the first translation of Milton’s Paradise Lost into any language: Theodor Haak’s German version of Books 1–3 and the beginning of Book 4, which remained unprinted until 1962, known to very few, and made soon after Milton’s epic first appeared in print. The translation is explored in the light of Haak’s experience as Milton’s friend, as secretary and diplomat for Parliament and the Commonwealth, as translator of biblical scholarship, and as natural philosopher. Haak’s translation, which introduces blank verse to the German language, heightens the sense of infernal rebellion in the poem, making God appear demonic to the fallen angels, while also converting Milton’s investment in ancient mythology to natural landscape description. Haak understood Milton’s aims and values very well, and rendered them in a German consistent with the ‘new science’ and, in some, continuity with more recent innovation in German poetry: a truly ‘Gothic’ entity.

Keywords:   commonwealth, diplomacy, German, Gothic, natural philosophy, Paradise Lost, rebellion, Satan, translation, transnational relations

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