« AnteriorContinua »
Presented to the Faculty of Cornell University
For the Degree of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
GEORGE BURRIDGE VILES.
When I selected the subject of a comparison of Bodmer's translation of Milton's Paradise Lost with the original, I set myself the task of recording all variations of the German from the original, consisting in inaccuracies, omissions of passages of greater or lesser length, of grammatical, logical, and stylistic changes.1) As I proceeded, however, with my work of comparison, I found that Bodmer had followed the original so closely and accurately, that my labor was reduced largely to categorizing the variations in word, phrase, and clause, -such variations being due, in large measure, to the difference in idiom of the two languages. It may not greatly interest the casual reader to know how many times an adverbial idea is expressed in English by a single word (adverb), and in German by a prepositional phrase or vice versa. But the ascertaining of this fact and of all other facts of variation has on the one hand constituted a laborious undertaking for me, while on the other it has yielded abundant fruit in a better grasp of the genius of the foreign tongue. And there was withal a certain satisfaction in following, step by step, the translator's work of love. If the results of one's labor can be à contribution to literary science, the literary world is the gainer thereby; if this end cannot be attained then the advantage belongs to the workman, and his reward must be sought in the virtue of the work itself.
Hence comes my satisfaction.
1) As in the case of a thesis by Marcus Simpson, who preceded me in this class of work with a comparison of Wieland's translation of 22 of Shakespeare's plays with the original. Published at Munich, 1898.