ABOUT THIS BOOK
Poetry is often said to resist translation, its integration of form and meaning rendering even the best translations problematic. Elizabeth Marie Young disagrees, and with Translation as Muse, she uses the work of the celebrated Roman poet Catullus to mount a powerful argument that translation can be an engine of poetic invention.
Catullus has long been admired as a poet, but his efforts as a translator have been largely ignored. Young reveals how essential translation is to his work: many poems by Catullus that we tend to label as lyric originals were in fact shaped by Roman translation practices entirely different from our own. By rereading Catullus through the lens of translation, Young exposes new layers of ingenuity in Latin poetry even as she illuminates the idiosyncrasies of Roman translation practice, reconfigures our understanding of translation history, and questions basic assumptions about lyric poetry itself.