Article

The ‘Adorning of My Native Tongue’: Latin Poetry and Linguistic Metamorphosis

Estelle Haan

in The Oxford Handbook of Milton

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199697885
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199697885.013.0003

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The ‘Adorning of My Native Tongue’: Latin Poetry and Linguistic Metamorphosis

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This article focuses on John Milton, for whom, it has been argued, ‘translation’ in a variety of guises helped to engender differing forms of linguistic metamorphosis: the ‘birth pangs’ of innovative neo-Latin and vernacular tongues. It interprets ‘translation’ in its broadest sense, not merely as a rendering from one language into another, but also and essentially as appropriation, invention, and linguistic experimentation. It then emerges that ‘translation’ is inextricably linked to Renaissance debate on the relative merits of Latin and the vernacular (the Questione della lingua), and to pedagogical theory and practice, especially that peculiarly distinctive form of bilingualism so integral to Milton's poetic practice. The pedagogical methodology is used to support and augment Charles Martindale's reading of the poem as metaphrase. Milton's poetic practice as a whole can exemplify different ways of ‘translating’ his own neo-Latin into an experimental vernacular.

Keywords: John Milton; linguistic metamorphosis; translation; Latin poetry; Questione della lingua; pedagogical theory; Charles Martindale

Article.  8593 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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