George Chapman Other Literary Forms

Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

George Chapman was a poet and scholar as well as a playwright. His literary career began with the publication of the poem The Shadow of Night in 1594 and included the completion of a poem begun by Christopher Marlowe, Hero and Leander (1598). Chapman seemed to have been proudest of his achievements as a self-taught scholar. He translated Homer’s Iliad (c. 800 b.c.e.; part of book 18 appeared in 1598, and the entire work was published in 1611) and Odyssey (c. 800 b.c.e.; 1614). He also translated the lesser works of Homer (The Crown of All Homer’s Works, 1624) and Hesiod’s Georgics (c. 700 b.c.e.; 1618). Although a few of Chapman’s plays enjoyed popularity into the eighteenth century, he was best known for his translations. His versions of Homer’s works were read well into the nineteenth century and influenced poet John Keats, among others. Chapman regarded his work on Homer as his life’s mission and believed that Homer’s spirit had visited him and urged him on in his labors. His translation ends with the assertion, “The work that I was born to do, is done.”