Generally considered as the first American book, George Sandys’s translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (1626) represents one of the earliest examples of the cultural reformulation of European classic masterpieces in the New World. English writer and translator, diplomat and traveler, colonial treasurer of the Virginia Company, Sandys (1578-1644) began his translation in 1615 in Europe. He completed the text in 1626 in the Jamestown colony, after becoming a witness and actor of the metamorphoses of the American wilderness into a more civilized environment. From a colonialist point of view, the choice of translating Ovid’s Metamorphoses had a symbolic value, as the Latin poet had described the transformation of what already existed into something new, on a real as well as on a metaphorical level. Sandys’s transatlantic text contributed to defining the ideological and cultural foundations of the early American colonies and, later, of the Early Republic: the translation anticipated the tendency of American literature to define itself both as a specific uniqueness in western cultural tradition and as a legitimate heir of that tradition. Yet—as this essay tries to demonstrate—Sandys’s re-writing of the Ovidian text contributed to extending its canonical reading by providing the poem with an exceptionalistic and imperialistic interpretation.

Ovid in the Old World and the New: the Metamorphoses as interpreted by George Sandys

Enrico Botta
In corso di stampa

Abstract

Generally considered as the first American book, George Sandys’s translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (1626) represents one of the earliest examples of the cultural reformulation of European classic masterpieces in the New World. English writer and translator, diplomat and traveler, colonial treasurer of the Virginia Company, Sandys (1578-1644) began his translation in 1615 in Europe. He completed the text in 1626 in the Jamestown colony, after becoming a witness and actor of the metamorphoses of the American wilderness into a more civilized environment. From a colonialist point of view, the choice of translating Ovid’s Metamorphoses had a symbolic value, as the Latin poet had described the transformation of what already existed into something new, on a real as well as on a metaphorical level. Sandys’s transatlantic text contributed to defining the ideological and cultural foundations of the early American colonies and, later, of the Early Republic: the translation anticipated the tendency of American literature to define itself both as a specific uniqueness in western cultural tradition and as a legitimate heir of that tradition. Yet—as this essay tries to demonstrate—Sandys’s re-writing of the Ovidian text contributed to extending its canonical reading by providing the poem with an exceptionalistic and imperialistic interpretation.
9782503592503
George Sandys; Ovid; Metamorphoses; American imperialism; Transatlanticism
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1060535
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