"dent those reprobates, Romulus and Remus!": Lowell, Zukofsky and
Legacies of Modernist Translation
This paper addresses Zukofsky's radical rendering of Catullus by situating
his achievement in light of, on the one hand, the Modernist revolution in
translation wrought by Ezra Pound, and, on the other, the efforts of Robert
Lowell, arguably Zukofsky's most notable contemporary. Whereas in
Imitations (1961) Lowell engages in translation as a creative, rather than
mimetic, practice, in his remarkable Catullus (Gai Valerius Catullus
Veronensis Liber) (1969), Zukofsky employs "translation" as the lever by
which to pry open the established syntactic constraints of English itself.
In doing so, he adumbrates a "metonymic" conception of translation the full
significance of which we have yet to come fully to terms.