Translating F. O. Matthiessen

Marjorie Garber

in Loaded Words

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242047
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823242085 | DOI:
Translating F. O. Matthiessen

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The life and work of F. O. Matthiessen seem very vivid and timely these days, given recent political developments. A lifelong supporter of left politics and political engagement, Matthiessen might well have found great interest in the election of Barack Obama. For Matthiessen, writing at the beginning of a remarkable career that touched many lives, the decision to write about Elizabethan translation seems uncannily apt. This chapter explores the ways in which Matthiessen's scholarly, activist, and private worlds may be read together, even though he kept his own scholarship—as he thought—quite distinct from his political and personal life. Yet such stories always intertwine. William Shakespeare and the Elizabethan period offer a way into the interconnections between Matthiessen's public and private lives. The chapter begins with an intriguing fact: Matthiessen did not invent the title of his most famous book, American Renaissance; the title was suggested to him by a colleague and former student who became an equally celebrated professor and critic, Harry Levin.

Keywords: F. O. Matthiessen; William Shakespeare; Elizabethan period; translation; American Renaissance; Harry Levin

Chapter.  4752 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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