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Grant number: RE-10030-70

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Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA 19081-1390)
Susan Snyder (Project Director: June 1970 to present)

Critical Edition of Joshua Sylvester's Divine Weeks and Works

The Divine Weeks, an epic of the creation of the world and history of man, was translated by Joshua Sylvester from the Semaines (1578-1584) of the French Protestant poet Du Bartas. The large number of partial and complete editions (1592-1641) and numerous reference to Sylvester's translation by contemporary poets and men of letters indicate the poem's considerable popularity and influence. No good modern edition exists. Project to produce reliable text, as close as possible to translator's intention; to record significant variant readings; add notes explaining both textual difficulties and allusions to contemporary science, myth, Bible interpretation, thus making the work accessible and useful to modern student; and to provide in the intro 1) short biography of Sylvester, 2) consideration of his principles and practices as a translator, 3) an account of the poem's publishing history, nature of the editions, and their relation to each other, 4) study of the place of the Divine Weeks in contemporary English poetry, inclucing a reassessment of influence on Milton's Paradise Lost, and of its impact on the new poetics of the late 17th and 18th centuries in the shaping of the heroic couplet and formation of poetic diction. Important contribution to Renaissance English Literature, now available to schoalrs.

Project fields:
Literature, General


Research Programs

Total amounts:
$1,600 (approved)
$1,600 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/1970 – 8/31/1970