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Translation and the Poet's LifeThe Ethics of Translating in English Culture, 1646-1726$
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Paul Davis

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297832

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297832.001.0001

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Wanting Voices

Wanting Voices

(p.17) CHAPTER 1 Wanting Voices
Translation and the Poet's Life

Paul Davis (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the association between translating and exile, with reference to two royalist poets ‘exiled’ in differing senses during the Interregnum: John Denham and Henry Vaughan. Translators and exiles were figured in this period as suffering linguistic loss — ‘want of voice’, in the phrase of Denham's, from which the chapter's title is taken. But Denham and Vaughan made their speechlessness exemplary, in sharply contrastive ways. For Denham, it functioned as an index of loyalty at a time when he appeared to have accommodated himself to the Cromwellian régime. For Vaughan, it broached, under the guise of ‘infancy’ (from the Latin ‘infans’ — ‘unspeaking’), the mystical ideal of childlikeness which lies at the heart of the volume of religious lyric verse, Silex Scintillans, for which he is best known and which he began writing immediately after his career as a poetic translator came to an end.

Keywords:   Denham, Vaughan, exile, loyalty, childhood, voice, Silex Scintillans

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