Pope's <i>Iliad</i>: a ‘comprehensive View’

Matthew Reynolds

in The Poetry of Translation

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199605712
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731617 | DOI:
Pope's Iliad: a ‘comprehensive View’

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Pope also gave his allegiance to another metaphor, that of ‘taking a view’ of the Iliad so as to gain understanding of it. Emphasizing distance rather than immediacy, this metaphor contrasts with ‘translation as passion’. It is manifest in the prefatory matter and illustrations to Pope's translation, as well as the notes—or ‘Observations’—by which it is accompanied. But this mode of response also spreads into the translation itself, which expands perspectives already present in the Iliad (for instance in its similes) and often presents characters as ‘taking a view’ of themselves: comparison with Thomas Tickell's rival translation brings out the distinctiveness of Pope's work. The two contrasting metaphors—‘passion’ and ‘view’—flourish in different parts of the poem but come together in Pope's presentation of Achilles, the most inspiring warrior, and also the one who most needs to be viewed with the dispassion of the ‘View’.

Keywords: Pope; Homer; Iliad; view; Tory; Whig; Tickell; landscape; Nestor; Achilles

Chapter.  8522 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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