Dryden's <i>Aeneis</i>: ‘a thousand secret beauties’

Matthew Reynolds

in The Poetry of Translation

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199605712
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731617 | DOI:
Dryden's Aeneis: ‘a thousand secret beauties’

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In later critical writing, Dryden developed the idea that his translations could reveal what was ‘secretly in’ the source poet. The poet with the most secrets was Virgil: they included prophetic relevance to future times and (most importantly) the sparks of illocutionary force created by his style. I illustrate Dryden's practice of opening with a discussion of Book 10. I go on to show that Dryden's awareness of himself as ‘opening’ these secrets takes on a particular edge at times when there is the possibility of a secret being opened in the source text—for instance in Book 2 when Laocoon almost discovers the Greek warriors hidden in the wooden horse, or when Anchises interprets an omen.

Keywords: opening; secret; prophecy; illocutionary force; Virgil; Aeneid; Dryden; Laocoon; Anchises; fate

Chapter.  3820 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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