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The Augustan Art of PoetryAugustan Translation of the Classics$
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Robin Sowerby

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199286126

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199286126.001.0001

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Augustan Homer

Augustan Homer

(p.228) 4 Augustan Homer
The Augustan Art of Poetry

Robin Sowerby (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter first sets the critical and aesthetic context for Pope's engagement with Homer and then moves on to his earliest Homeric translation ‘The Episode of Sarpedon’ before confronting his management of the main fable of the Iliad involving the anger of Achilles. It is argued that Pope harmonises his translation with the neoclassic aesthetic he shared with Vida but in such a way as to bring a concentrated emphasis and vigour to the resulting version. The method and artistry of Augustan translators are illuminated in a series of comparisons made between passages of Homer imitated by Ennius and refined by Virgil, and the translations of these passages by Dryden and Pope. The refinement of the Augustans — Roman and English — is thrown into relief in contrast to previous translators in this tradition including Chapman. Finally, the strengths and limitations of Pope's Augustan style are then tested in relation to the Odyssey.

Keywords:   anger of Achilles, Chapman, Dryden, Ennius, Episode of Sarpedon, neoclassic aesthetic, Odyssey, Pope's Augustan style, Vida

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