'To be translated at the last' : Christopher Smart's Englishing endeavour
In this thesis, Christopher Smart’s work is presented as a coherent project of ‘Englishing’ to produce nationalised verse celebrating England and promoting the Anglican Church. Chapter One places Smart’s original religious poetry within the context of his translations. The analysis concentrates on three themes: the promotion of England in the Hymns and Spiritual Songs; Smart’s manipulation of verbal effects as a variety of translation in Jubilate Agno; and an interpretation of A Song to David as a form of applied praise. Chapter Two provides an analysis of Smart’s translation of the Psalms alongside a number of other similar productions. Five elements are examined: narrative identity in translation, the place of Smart’s psalms within an anglicised liturgy; Christian elements, censoring the Psalms; and the creation of English lyric through the domestication of biblical verse. Chapter Three examines Smart’s translation of the fables of Phaedrus, where the significance of Smart’s Englishing project is reinforced in the context of his interpreting a Romanised text. The genre of fable is considered in its eighteenth-century political and educational contexts, illustrated with detailed reference to Smart’s periodical fables from the 1750s and the poet’s rewriting of Phaedrus in the following decade. Finally, Chapter Four provides a complete assessment of the 1767 Works of Horace. First, Smart’s translation is considered alongside other translations and interpretations of Horace and his work. Smart’s Englished text is then explored in three areas: the translator’s paratextual mediation between text and reader, the creation of anglicised settings, and the development of English lyrical forms from Latin originals. The thesis concludes with an examination of how Smart’s translation work results in the creation of original lyric verse that seals the poet’s literary permanence.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2022-03-01
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic copy restricted until 1st March 2022
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