‘Those miraculous effusions of genius’: The Homeric Hymns Seen through the Eyes of English Poets

Title‘Those miraculous effusions of genius’: The Homeric Hymns Seen through the Eyes of English Poets
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsRichardson, N
EditorVergados, A, Schwab, A, Faulkner, A
Ancient AuthorsHymni Homerici Hymn. (TLG 0013)
Book TitleThe Reception of the Homeric Hymns
PublisherOxford University Press
CityOxford
ISBN9780198728788 (print)
Abstract

The paper considers translations of the Homeric Hymns by three English poets, Chapman, Congreve, and Shelley. Chapman’s version is the first in English (1624), in rhyming couplets. He expands the original considerably, and his style can be over-elaborate, but he is fresh and lively. Congreve’s version of the Hymn to Aphrodite (1710), in rhyming couplets, also expands the Greek but is elegant and fluent. A passage from it is immortalized in the libretto of Handel’s Semele. Shelley translated some of the shorter Hymns in 1818, but his version of the Hymn to Hermes in ottava rima (1820) is a tour de force, witty, light-hearted and ingenious. The paper also shows how Shelley’s translations influenced the language of his own poetry. These versions illustrate three different responses to the Hymns by major English poets, of the early seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and of the Romantic period. [http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728788.001.0001/acprof-9780198728788-chapter-17]

DOI10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728788.003.0017

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