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Marjorie Garber

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823242047

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823242047.001.0001

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Translating F. O. Matthiessen

Translating F. O. Matthiessen

(p.83) CHAPTER SIX Translating F. O. Matthiessen
Loaded Words

Marjorie Garber

Fordham University Press

The life and work of F. O. Matthiessen seem very vivid and timely these days, given recent political developments. A lifelong supporter of left politics and political engagement, Matthiessen might well have found great interest in the election of Barack Obama. For Matthiessen, writing at the beginning of a remarkable career that touched many lives, the decision to write about Elizabethan translation seems uncannily apt. This chapter explores the ways in which Matthiessen's scholarly, activist, and private worlds may be read together, even though he kept his own scholarship—as he thought—quite distinct from his political and personal life. Yet such stories always intertwine. William Shakespeare and the Elizabethan period offer a way into the interconnections between Matthiessen's public and private lives. The chapter begins with an intriguing fact: Matthiessen did not invent the title of his most famous book, American Renaissance; the title was suggested to him by a colleague and former student who became an equally celebrated professor and critic, Harry Levin.

Keywords:   F. O. Matthiessen, William Shakespeare, Elizabethan period, translation, American Renaissance, Harry Levin

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