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HUMANITIES 95 some quite confusing ('let they hens' blood: where'they' should be 'thy: p 26, line 32). And in one case a subheading found in the original essay has not been reproduced, altering somewhat the sense of several paragraphs ('Dramatic Irony' should have appeared as subheadingbefore the first paragraph on p. 26). This is a valuable book, both for the light which it sheds on Chaucer's poetry and as a record of the contribution made to Chaucer studies by a Canadian ofSignificant literary stature in his own right, and it deserves better treatment from the publisher. (STEPHEN R. REIMER) Judith Sloman. Dryden: The Poetics of Translation. Prepared for publication by Anne McWhir University of Toronto Press. xii, 265. $30.00 The book has an interesting title and is beautifully produced. The contents, alas, are of a different order. First, precision. In the Preface to the Fables Dryden said 'Homer's invention was more copious, Virgil's more confmed.' Sloman glosses: '[Homer] found his own material and made up his own stories' (p 3), which may have been Dryden's opinion; but she then adds'so far as we know: thus disposing of the Homeric problem, the question of oral tradition, and any possible historical basis for the Trojan war. Secondly, an uncontroversial proposition: anyone who writes a comparative study of Dryden and Virgil should understand what each poet means. AddreSSing the marvellous boy at the end of the fourth Eclogue, Virgil says, in effect, that a child who does not smile at his parent will never become a god. The general nature of the statement is shown by the plural risere. Dryden translates: Then smile! The frowning infant's doom is read, No god shall crown the board or goddess bless the bed. Failing to see thatDryden too is generalizing, Slomansays that his version ends pessimistically: 'there can be no doubt ... that his child decides to frown' (p 73). A fundamental error. To understandVirgil one mighthope to have, ifnot acommand ofLatin, at least the ability to read a translation. In Aeneid 9. 226ff Nisus comes before the Trojan leaders offering to steal through the enemy's lines and bring Aeneas back. A1etes, who is animi maturus ('sage in council: Loeb), gratefully accepts the idea, and is supported by young Ascanius. It was a good plan. Yet for Sloman, who actually quotes the Loeb, the whole passage demonstrates 'Virgil's amused contempt for old men' (p 90). A staggering misconception. Finally, Sloman's main thesis, that the collections of 1680, 1684, 1685, and 16<)3 were, like the Fables (1700), 'integrated' by thematic and other links, is never supported by any sensible argument. In Ovid's Epistles (1680) there were over a dozen contributors; Dryden provided only three pieces, which were not printed consecutively. The editing was probably Tonson's. Moreover, Sloman admits that there and in Miscellany Poems (1684) the links between Dryden's own pieces 'may have been evident to the author alone' (p 53). So what becomes of her argument? In the Sylvae (1685), of which less than half was written by Dryden, Sloman says 'there are few inner links outside of Dryden's work' (p 78). Yet 'the various poems provide a range ofEpicurean responses to the contemplation of the void' (p 78). An 'Epicurean' grid is then fitted over five of Dryden's translations with effects which can only be described as bizarre. Before the reader complains that these criticisms (drawn from dozens of examples) are rude and ill natured, perhaps he will first ask whether they are true, and then, if they are, ponder what they imply about the book's origins and its possible effects. Such a work would not have been published in Toronto in A.S.P. Woodhouse's day. Before that period it would not have been written. (NIALL RUDD) Patrick Grant. Lit",.t"re and the Discovery ofMethod in the English Renaissance University of Georgia Press. 188. $22.50 The relation of poetry to both science and faith has been a major concern of writers and critics since the Scientific Revolution, and never more so than in our century. In Literature and the Discovery of Method in the English Renaissance, Patrick Grant examines five writers who, between 1500 and 1750, struggled with the effects of the new scientific method on older views of God and of man's nature. All of these writers, in varying ways, feltthe threatto the whole human being and to the knowledge that a man could have ofhimself that arose from the determinisms implied by science and by Calvinist Christianity. The discovery of method, which Grant defines as 'a certain efficient organisation of knowledge, based on the assumption of responsibility for a mathematico-empirical investigation of nature, espousing a corpuscular theory of matter and, for practical purposes, depicting the universe in terms of geometrical configurations of lI\iiSS in space' (p 11), led to a view of the world as mechanism and man as machine. The second determinism, which came 'from above: made man dependent on unmerited grace for salvation. Nature could now be known completely, while God became the completely unknowable. Many writers of the seventeenth century joined the attack on the ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 95-96
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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