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date: 03 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the theory and practice of translation in works by Lord Byron, Claire Clairmont, Felicia Hemans, Sir William Jones, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Despite Shelley’s view of its impossibility, translation is shown in the work of Jones, Byron, and Shelley to be one of the most vital and sophisticated literary activities of the Romantic era, at once a means to enlightenment about poetic traditions outside Britain and an arena for bold technical experimentation. For Shelley, translation constitutes a creative habitus through which he escapes his native language and then translates back into English from an assumed ‘foreign’ persona. Keats’s poetry, on the other hand, demonstrates how originality is prompted through engagement with the translations of others. The chapter also situates theories about translation in Britain within the context of wider debates on the Continent.

Keywords: translation, creativity, originality, imitation, Romanticism, foreignizing, improvisation

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