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Proximate Translation: George Buchanan's Baptistes, Sophocles’ Antigone, and Early Modern English Drama

Jackson, Lucy C.M.M.

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Authors

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Dr Lucy Jackson lucy.c.jackson@durham.ac.uk
Associate Professor in Classics (Greek Literature)



Abstract

This essay takes up the question of what impact Greek tragedy had on original plays written in Latin in the sixteenth century. In exploring George Buchanan's biblical drama Baptistes sive calumnia (printed 1577) and its reworking of scenes and images from Sophocles' Antigone, we see how neo-Latin drama provided a valuable channel for the sharing and shaping of early modern ideas about Greek tragedy. The impact of the Baptistes on English drama is then examined, with particular reference to Thomas Watson's celebrated Latin translation of Antigone (1581). The strange affinities between Watson's and Buchanan's plays reveal the potential for Greek tragedy to shape early modern drama, but also for early modern drama to shape how Greek tragedy itself was read and received in early modern England.

Citation

Jackson, L. C. (2020). Proximate Translation: George Buchanan's Baptistes, Sophocles’ Antigone, and Early Modern English Drama. Translation and Literature, 29(1), 85-100. https://doi.org/10.3366/tal.2020.0410

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 24, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2020
Publication Date Mar 31, 2020
Deposit Date Apr 3, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2020
Journal Translation and Literature
Print ISSN 0968-1361
Electronic ISSN 1750-0214
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 1
Pages 85-100
DOI https://doi.org/10.3366/tal.2020.0410

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