William Wordsworth's two most extensive translation projects were his modernization of selected poems by Chaucer and his unfinished translation of Virgil's "Aeneid". Bruce E. Graver offers the texts, a complete account of their genesis and publication, a discussion of Wordsworth's practice as a translator. Graver's reading of the "Aeneid" corrects hundreds of substantive errors in the published texts of the translation. Unlike other volumes in the Cornell Wordsworth series, this one focuses on a particular kind of poetical work, translation. Like others, it includes reading texts with full critical apparatuses, photographic reproductions and transcriptions of manuscripts, as well as Graver's own introduction and notes which amount to a critical monograph on Wordsworth and translation. Graver suggests that both translation projects were self-conscious attempts on Wordsworth's part to compete with John Dryden, the pre-eminent English translator. He supplies evidence for a major reassessment of Wordsworth's attitudes toward Dryden and, indirectly, of the relationship of Wordsworth's poetry to British neoclassicism.
Graver believes Wordsworth's scholarly abilities were much greater than commonly supposed, and that his translations will interest classicists, mediaevalists and 18th-century scholars, as well as romanticists.