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The English AeneidTranslations of Virgil 1555-1646$
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Sheldon Brammall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748699087

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699087.001.0001

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Courteous Virgil

Courteous Virgil

The Manuscript Translations of an Anonymous Poet, Sir John Harington and Sir William Mure of Rowallan

(p.78) Chapter 3 Courteous Virgil
The English Aeneid

Sheldon Brammall

Edinburgh University Press

Manuscript translations reveal a different side of Virgil’s reception than is apparent in printed texts. Several substantial English translations never entered print in any form during the Renaissance. These include an anonymous translation discovered at Castle Ashby in 1977 (now BL Add. MS 60283), the version of Book 6 Sir John Harington presented to King James and Prince Henry in 1604 and Sir William Mure’s rendition of Books 1 and 4 in the Edinburgh University Library. These courtly translations treat Virgil’s epic with a freedom that is rare in printed versions. This chapter shows that Virgil was not always stern and dour in early modern English translation. The more mischievous Aeneids found their audiences through manuscript distribution, while print offered the more obviously useful, or propagandistic, versions of the epic.

Keywords:   manuscript studies, Sir John Harington, Sir William Mure, free translation, courtly poetry

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