So I haven’t had as much time to read early modern texts for research-y purposes of late, but have been reading a few things recreationally. I finished Camoëns Lusiads yesterday. I think I’d be interested in re-reading a verse translation of it, but I’m not sure there’s a good one (it seems to have a history of bad translations, according to the introduction to my text, but the edition is very old). A lot of the content was pretty unpalatable to me, being a earnest celebration of colonialism and overly masculine heroism — but a lot of travel narratives and epic poems of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are like that. I’m not sure whether I’m just fatigued by such themes by now, or if poetry somehow makes them more palatable, or if classical epics that seem more fictional than historical can get away with things that modern historical epics can’t. Or perhaps there’s something about the Lusiads themselves I had a hard time engaging with — like the fact that history and myth jostle uncomfortable with each other.
Anyhow, I’m now reading a biography of Margaret Cavendish and she seems pretty fantastic (well, I’ve read Blazing World and Convent of Pleasure and her scientific poems and would expect nothing less). Everyone in her family seemed to be named Thomas Lucas though and it’s very confusing.
Camoës, Luis vaz de. The Lusiads. Trans. William C. Atkinson. London: Penguin, 1952.
Whitaker, Katie. Mad Marge: The Extraordinary Life of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, the First Woman to Live by Her Pen. New York: Basic Books, 2002.