Poet and Politician Reconciled: How Gavin Douglas Navigates the Scots Language and Nationalism in the Prologues to the Eneados



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Gavin Douglas’ Eneados, a medieval Scottish translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, contains a political agenda that pertains particularly to language. Douglas interprets the Aeneid as the foundation of the literary tradition based upon Latin. His method of translation, where he synthesizes practices based on both loss and surfeit, demonstrates how Douglas intends to place the Scottish vernacular within this Latin tradition. The muses within his Prologues are the key elements of his practice in that they provide guidelines for faithful translation and interpretation. They also mediate a discussion of the purposes, practices, and results of poetry and translation within Prologues VIII, IX, and XII. Douglas conducts this discussion in terms of language, indicating his desire to strengthen the Scottish vernacular. Nationalism does not fuel this desire, diplomacy does. In this way, Douglas attempts to negotiate a peace based upon language between England and Scotland.



Scotland, Gavin Douglas, Medieval, Aeneid, Virgil, Translation, Politics