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Translation as Transformation in Victorian Poetry


Award Winner

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: May 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107079243

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About the Authors
  • Translation as Transformation in Victorian Poetry illuminates the dynamic mutual influences of poetic and translation cultures in Victorian Britain, drawing on new materials, archival and periodical, to reveal the range of thinking about translation in the era. The results are a new account of Victorian translation and fresh readings both of canonical poems (including those by Browning and Tennyson) and of non-canonical poems (including those by Michael Field). Revealing Victorian poets to be crucial agents of intercultural negotiation in an era of empire, Annmarie Drury shows why and how meter matters so much to them, and locates the origins of translation studies within Victorian conundrums. She explores what it means to 'sound Victorian' in twentieth-century poetic translation, using Swahili as a case study, and demonstrates how and why it makes sense to consider Victorian translation as world literature in action.

    • Uses interpretive and associative methods to give a new account of Victorian translation practices
    • Interprets Victorian poems and poetic translations as enacting intercultural negotiation in an imperialist era
    • Unusually, considers the importance of translation into, as well as out of, English
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    • Winner, 2016 Sonya Rudikoff Award, Northeast Victorian Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book captures some of the many reasons why it's an exciting time to be a scholar of the British nineteenth century. … An important contribution to our emerging understanding of historical poetics. I hope other scholars consider her methods and continue the work of making Victorian poetry a more complex and world-conscious field of study.' Jason Rudy, Review 19 (

    '… Annmarie Drury's welcome book, a patiently transformative study of the transformative power of translation.' Matthew Reynolds, Review of English Studies

    '… a welcome addition to our resources for understanding the multi-layered negotiations embedded within the Anglophone lyric.' Rhian Williams, English Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107079243
    • length: 309 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Victorian translations, poetic transformations
    1. Discovering a Victorian culture of translation
    2. Idylls of the King, the Mabinogion, and Tennyson's faithless melancholy
    3. In poetry and translation, Browning's case for innovation
    4. The Rubáiyát and its compass
    5. The persistence of Victorian translation practice: William Hichens and the Swahili world
    Epilogue: Victorian translators and 'the epoch of world literature'

  • Author

    Annmarie Drury, Queens College, City University of New York
    Annmarie Drury is Assistant Professor of English at Queens College, City University of New York. Many of her own poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Raritan, and the Western Humanities Review. She has also published translations of, and essays on, Swahili poetry. Her book Stray Truths: Selected Poems of Euphrase Kezilahabi (2015), offers translations of the Tanzanian writer's poetry.


    • Winner, 2016 Sonya Rudikoff Award, Northeast Victorian Studies Association

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