[Milton-L] Milton and Portuguese poetry

Dr. Sara van den Berg vandens at slu.edu
Fri Nov 30 01:50:33 EST 2007

You might take a look at Louis Martz's Poet of Exile (1980),
which discusses the Lusiads and Paradise Lost.  Richard
Fanshawe's translation (1655) would have been available to
Milton.  Although there is no external evidence that Milton
read Camoens, Martz discusses elements in PL that suggest

Sara van den Berg

>    In her chapter ‘The Genres of Paradise Lost’
> within The Cambridge Companion to Milton, Barbara K.
> Lewalski considers the epic Lusiads by the Portuguese poet
> Camões (sometimes spelled Camoens in English) to be one
> amongst Renaissance epics sharing important features with
> PL (others being Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso and
> Gerusalemme Liberata besides, obviously, Spenser’s
> Queene).
>     The context of her important study is one of
> ‘allusions to contemporary voyages of exploration and
> imperialism in Satan’s voyage to earth through chaos’
> which PL would encompass elements ‘derived from romantic
> epics or other Renaissance varieties of that kind’. By
> Romantic she means of course the late Medieval tradition
> and its influence on early modern epic in both England and
> Continental Europe.
>               Would any one happen to know any studies, if
> they are to be found, focusing on particular points Milton
> might have drawn from Camões or, maybe, studies on
> philologically proven common points in the two epics?
> Milton was known to have a reading knowledge of Spanish,
> besides his widely known native-like command of Latin,
> which would allow him to read a Renaissance Portuguese
> epic.
>   I´m interested in spotting possible formal elements
> shared by both poets or punctual allusions to the Lusiads
> in PL. I´ve also searched studies in Portuguese, but
> of them has yet dealt with the topic.
>   I do welcome suggestions.
>   Regards,
>   Erick Ramalho
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