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Homer, Odyssey revisited > Translations

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message 1: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments There was some discussion of translations in the thread for the second read of 2018, but that discussion should now be continued here.

For starters, here's a link, also posted earlier, to almost all the known translations of the Odyssey (scroll down, the Iliad translations are at the top).

http://johnstoniatexts.x10host.com/ho...

Most of the internal links on that page work, though a few are 404 Not Found.


message 2: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4508 comments Johnston omits Joe Sachs's translation, which I have now before me, fresh from the mail. So far I like it, though I'm not yet sure it will win a permanent place on the Homer shelf.

Sachs sums up some of the major translations succinctly, so I'll post the beginning of his intro:

I have never met a translation of the Odyssey I didn't like. There are verse translations that march in boots (Richmond Lattimore) or amble along in sensible shoes (Albert Cook), or glide (Ennis Rees) or dance (Allen Mandelbaum) or dance a jig (Robert Fitzgerald); and there are prose translations that speak in archaisms (A.T. Murray) or in wild flights of excess (R. L. Eickhoff) or in a style that manages to be rapid, direct and formal all at once (Lawrence of Arabia, under the pen name T. E. Shaw). The poem appears in as many guises as Odysseus himself. Somewhere among the fifty-six complete versions published in English from 1615 to 2008, there may be one that loses all the life and feel of the original, but I haven't come across it yet. Homer's talent is surprisingly hard to kill.


message 3: by Ian (last edited Mar 29, 2018 09:25AM) (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments Reviews of various translations and editions have been been lumped together by Amazon: 3,524 to be exact, as of this writing. Apparently, the software "thinks" all books with the same title are the same book.

This makes checking reviews pretty much an exercise in futility, and I'm certainly not going to waste my time adding some to the crowd.

However, I do have opinions about some of the 56 versions of the Odyssey (see post above for the number), and I've spent a little time looking at their availability, in Kindle or other formats.

To start off with a real bargain, the Delphi Complete Works of Homer is $1.99. It offers, among much else, two verse translations of the Odyssey, by Pope (a famous eighteenth-century version) and by Cowper (a pretty obscure poet), and two prose translations, by Butcher & Lang (once very popular, but in King-James-Version English), and by Samuel Butler (a Victorian novelist).

Most or all of these can be found as free or very cheap Kindle books, probably all deriving from the Project Gutenberg transcription, and sometimes as more expensive hard copy editions.)

The Delphi collection also includes Greek texts. Their sources are not credited, and there is no guarantee for the accuracy of the transfer to Kindle.

As separate books (alphabetically by translator):

Butcher and Lang: as noted under the Delphi collection, is in old-fashioned prose; besides which, it went through a number of corrected printings, to improve its accuracy, and I have no idea which one is the base text for any of the modern versions. {Addendum: For those who don't mind King-James-Version English, the third, corrected, edition of the Butcher and Lang translation of The Odyssey (as reprinted in 1912), with nineteen pages of notes, and three short appendices, is available (free) at
https://archive.org/details/odysseyho...

I suggest using the pdf format, to ensure accuracy. The copy used is somewhat marked-up, but the scan is quite readable.}

Cook: verse, and available as a Norton Critical Edition, with lots of supplementary material -- this is now in its own second edition. A trade paperback, and a bit expensive, but quite helpful (from my experience with the first Norton edition).

Fagles: verse, and the new reigning champion for about twenty years (since 1996), although there are recent challengers. I'm probably going to be re-reading this one for this discussion.
{Addendum: there is a Kindle edition: https://www.amazon.com/Odyssey-Pengui... }

Fitzgerald: verse, and once quite popular, although I can't find it in print on Amazon, except for an audio book. A bit free for my taste.

Lattimore: verse. Not as dominant for several decades as his Iliad, but still very good. It is still my favorite, although Cook runs a close second. There is a slightly pricey (7.99) Kindle edition. A popular commentary to it, by Peter Jones, is also available, in paperback ($24.95)

Mandelbaum: verse. Very highly regarded work of an experienced translator, but I haven't yet made time to read it through, instead of a few sections. (I may try comparing it to Fagles); available for Kindle (currently at 1.99)

W.H.D. Rouse: prose. Once very popular (along with his translation of the Iliad), it may be out of print (see comment on Fitzgerald, above). An attempt to produce a modern-sounding translation (as against the archaic-sounding Butcher and Lang), it winds up sounding very early-twentieth century British to me. (It was published in 1937.) There are also problems with its accuracy: Rouse had the odd notion that Homeric Greek was once a spoken colloquial, despite the fact that every word and form seems to be chosen to fit an hexameter line. {Addendum: there *is* a Kindle edition of the Rouse translation: see message #20, below, or click through to https://www.amazon.com/Odyssey-Signet...
}

E.V. Rieu: prose. This helped launch the Penguin Classics (1945), and was popular for some time. Like Rouse, it was an attempt to sound modern, and he sometimes embroidered the text. Fifty-some years on, it was beginning to show its age, and requirements for Penguin Classics translations had become more stringent, so it was revised by D.C.H. Rieu (his son) and a classicist, Peter Jones (2003). Among other things, the characters no longer sound like very polite Englishmen of E.V.R's generation, and more like one would expect of ancient kings and heroes, and Olympian gods.


message 4: by Christopher (last edited Mar 25, 2018 03:35PM) (new)

Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments Pope somewhat notoriously 'farmed out' his translation of the Odyssey, and it has never had the respect and admiration that his Iliad has.

Funny that Rieu and Rouse both published versions in reaction to Butcher and Lang that had their day in the sun, but then were replaced by versions which swung back to a more stately language.

I think Joyce (who did not know Greek) relied heavily on Butler when he wrote Ulysses.


message 5: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 1594 comments Cphe wrote: "Mandelbaum:

This is the translation that I purchased - read somewhere on my travels across the internet that it was as good as any other and certainly reasonably priced.

Don't know how I'll go w..."


Cphe, I'm not familiar with the translation you selected, but I assure you the Odyssey is far easier to understand than Aristotle.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments Christopher wrote: "Pope somewhat notoriously 'farmed out' his translation of the Odyssey, and it has never had the respect and admiration that his Iliad has.

Funny that Rieu and Rouse both published versions in reac..."


Thanks for the response.

I seem to have deleted a line about Pope's heroic couplets, probably because the post was getting too long.

I also failed to mention (definitely for that reason) George Chapman's Elizabethan translation of both epics, the one celebrated in a sonnet by Keats ("On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer.") A Kindle edition, from Wordsworth Classics, seems to have (or had) several pages on Amazon, but one which contains only its own reviews, and not those of other books, is at

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I060AN8/...

My review is one of the three there. I noted that the language (now genuinely archaic) and the verse form together could be an obstacle for people who don't already know Homer pretty well, and can see what Chapman is getting at.

Chapman also translated the Homeric Hymns: so far as I know there is no inexpensive edition of his version.


message 7: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 1594 comments Cphe wrote: "My brain isn't "wired"for verse/poetry.

It's not a delivery that I've ever been drawn to"


I don't know that anybody's brain has been "wired" for verse/poetry. I think it's just a question of exposure and of reading words that resonate.
The Odyssey tells a great story. I have no doubt that if you stick with it, you'll enjoy it.


message 8: by Christopher (new)

Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments Tamara wrote: "Cphe wrote: "My brain isn't "wired"for verse/poetry.

It's not a delivery that I've ever been drawn to"

I don't know that anybody's brain has been "wired" for verse/poetry. I think it's just a que..."


I agree, Cphe. There's no reason to be scared of the Odyssey.


message 9: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Cphe wrote: "My brain isn't "wired"for verse/poetry.

It's not a delivery that I've ever been drawn to"


There are several prose translations of the Odyssey.


message 10: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Tamara wrote: "I don't know that anybody's brain has been "wired" for verse/poetry."

Actually, I think most humans are indeed wired for verse/poetry. For a long time, almost everything written by humans was written in verse. Prose was for a long time restricted to non-fiction (history, philosophy), and it only worked its way into fiction slowly. All the songs of the minstrels and troubadours were verse. All the Beatles songs, all the country/western songs, all the Big Band era songs, all verse.

Most people can memorize much longer passages of verse than of prose. How many songs can you sing right through? How many prose passages of equal length can you recite straight through?

The human mind, I think, is actually more attuned to verse than to prose and has been from the beginning.


message 11: by Genni (new)

Genni | 837 comments Cphe wrote: "Mandelbaum:

This is the translation that I purchased - read somewhere on my travels across the internet that it was as good as any other and certainly reasonably priced.

Don't know how I'll go w..."


I just wanted to join in with the encouragement. The Odyssey is a lot of fun. :-)


message 12: by Genni (new)

Genni | 837 comments Ian wrote: "E.V. Rieu: prose. This helped launch the Penguin Classics (1945), and was popular for some time. Like Rouse, it was an attempt to sound modern, and he sometimes embroidered the text. Fifty-some years on, it was beginning to show its age, and requirements for Penguin Classics translations had become more stringent, so it was revised by D.C.H. Rieu (his son) and a classicist, Peter Jones (2003). Among other things, the characters no longer sound like very polite Englishmen of E.V.R's generation, and more like one would expect of ancient kings and heroes, and Olympian gods. "."

I read this translation last time and didn't like it at all. Very polite English gentlemen just about sums it up. I plan to go with Fagles this time. I really enjoyed his translation of The Aenid.


message 13: by Rafael (new)

Rafael da Silva (morfindel) | 337 comments I will read a portuguese translation, so I will not participate in this discussion.

I have difficulty to understand poetry too. Even songs usually pass by me without make me understand them in their entirety.


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments Everyman wrote: "Tamara wrote: "I don't know that anybody's brain has been "wired" for verse/poetry."

Actually, I think most humans are indeed wired for verse/poetry. For a long time, almost everything written by ..."


Something else is going on, as well.

We are conditioned by our education and common experience to think of poetry ("good" verse) as something highly concentrated, and very personal-sounding -- like a Shakespearean sonnet. Something to linger over, with unique expressions to savor. So our implied model for poetry is lyric verse, not extended narrative.

This situation is mostly a characteristic of *literature,* i.e., a written form of communication, and it took a long time to develop. Until relatively recently, reading was reading aloud, and successful verse of any great length was verse that could be easily absorbed by an audience, and had to be adjusted to that demand. And before they had writing to aid their memories, poets/singers had to be able to compose verses as they went along.

There are other aspects to this: I'll point out some that apply especially to Homer.

As a lot of study in the past century has shown, Homeric poetry is certainly built up from a long oral tradition, whether or not the epics we have (and the fragments of others) were created by recitation, and somehow caught in writing, or by writing in the only style that was then familiar.

I won't go into the whole "Parry-Lord" theory of formulaic composition, but the Homeric poems are littered with technical devices, such as fixed formulas to supply parts of an hexameter line, which most resemble those used (into the twentieth century) by traditional singers of tales in, e.g. illiterate communities in the Balkans.

For example, the name of a given hero will have a limited number of epithets attached to it, each used for metrical reasons, rather than situation at hand. Achilles is "swift-footed" when it fills out the line, not when he is chasing someone. Dawn is usually "red-fingered" (or something similar, depending on the translation) because it fits, not because the poet is calling your attention to a spectacular sunrise.

For an influential exposition of this theory, based on the field-work and studies of Millman Parry in the 1920s, see The Singer of Tales by Albert B. Lord.

Recognition of this feature has an impact on translations.

Before the theory became widely known, W.H.D. Rouse tended to suppress repeated epithets, treating them as useless "filler," while Rieu sometimes elaborated them, lest they become monotonous. Other, later, translations (possibly beginning, in English, with Lattimore) sometimes try to preserve them, recognizing that they are an integral part of the style.

And there are those (such as C.S. Lewis), who think they also work to help the audience -- and the modern reader -- feel at home in the world of the gods and heroes.


message 15: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 98 comments As usual I'm using a Dutch translation. For those who are interested: I use the translation by Inge Drost. It has really good reviews. Furthermore, I believe that in high school we used her translation of the Illias (besides the texts we had to translate ourselves) and I quite liked it.
Her version gives an introduction to each book, with a short summary of the events happening in the book and a list of the dramatis personae. This makes that she doesn't have to use too much explanatory notes.


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan | 467 comments I’m planning to read the Fitzgerald translation along with Emily Wilson’s. I also have Peter Jones’ commentary on the Odyssey, and although he sometimes gets carried away on academic issues of little import to the general reader, I’ll probably get it out again. [Jones uses Lattimore’s translation as the basis of his comments, but although I read another translation, I still found the book helpful, since the edition I was reading had no notes at all.].


message 17: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Adams | 328 comments I've started the Fitzgerald translation. Am finding it surprisingly readable and enjoyable.


message 18: by Ian (last edited Mar 26, 2018 01:05PM) (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments Two corrections to my list of translations above (message #3) I failed to mention that there is a Kindle edition of the Fagles translation: see the Amazon listing

https://www.amazon.com/Odyssey-Pengui...

(I've been re-reading my large paperback of Fagles, and it moves along nicely.)

I finally found a Kindle version of the old W.H.D. Rouse translation, and from Signet Classics, which long had it in print -- hard copies seem to be available only used.

I can't bring it up using the book/author function on Goodreads (too many titles), but it can be found on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Odyssey-Signet...\

The translation was confusingly labeled as by Homer and Deborah Steiner, who, it turns out, just wrote the new Introduction (there is also an Afterword by Adam Nicolson).

(Steiner is the editor of a commentary, Homer: Odyssey Books XVII-XVIII, and I thought these were confused duplicate listings, of which there seem to be a fair number. I should have clicked through to check, but the Amazon catalog for The Odyssey is immense.)

This is not a particular endorsement of the Rouse translation, although people have been finding it readable since the late 1930s, and, in my experience, it was sometimes used as a school text, even in fairly recent years. As I noted at the end of message #16, Rouse dropped features of the Homeric style he didn't like, and so is less accurate than some verse translations.


message 19: by Ted (new)

Ted | 48 comments There's another group read going on right now, mostly using Emily Wilson's translation. I am finding her translation (along with a wonderful Introduction of near 100 pages, and very useful end-notes, many of them about the original Greek words) outstanding. The book is also beautiful in itself, though it has no illustrative drawings as some translations do.


message 20: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 583 comments I dug out my college copy of the Norton Anthologies with Fitzgerald's translation.
I am looking forward to reading this with everyone. The last two reads I petered out for lack of time. Sigh!


message 21: by Tamara (last edited Mar 28, 2018 10:42AM) (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 1594 comments Ted wrote: "There's another group read going on right now, mostly using Emily Wilson's translation. I am finding her translation (along with a wonderful Introduction of near 100 pages, and very useful end-note..."

I'm in the group read of Emily Wilson's translation. I agree with you, Ted. Her Introduction is wonderful.
I'll be dipping back into the Wilson translation with this group, as well as in the Fitzgerald and Fagles translations.
This should be a lot of fun.


message 22: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 42 comments I have the Wilson translation and am hoping to follow along with you all


message 23: by David (new)

David | 2694 comments It will be the Stanley Lombardo translation for me.


message 24: by Ian (last edited Apr 06, 2018 09:21AM) (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments Another addendum to my survey of translations in #3, above.

For those who don't mind King-James-Version English, the third, corrected, edition of the Butcher and Lang translation of The Odyssey (as reprinted in 1912), with nineteen pages of notes, and three short appendices, is available (free) at
https://archive.org/details/odysseyho...

I suggest using the pdf format, to ensure accuracy. The copy used is somewhat marked-up, but the scan is quite readable.

I apologize for not including this from the start -- all of the archive.org versions I checked were either abridged or copies of first or second edition.

This morning I took a closer look, with the intention of consulting its notes, and realized that I had somehow missed, or misread, the copyright page on one of the texts.

Again, this is not an endorsement of Butcher and Lang, but, being free, it may be worth checking out.


message 25: by Ian (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments A new discovery on my part.

For those of you who would like a Kindle parallel-text English and Greek Odyssey, one is available, and quite inexpensive:

The Parallel English / Greek Odyssey

How well it appears on-screen seems to depend on the platform used. I've tried it with Cloud Reader, with the Kindle app (for Mac), and with two Kindle Fire tablets of different vintages. On the tablets, it seems to require being read in landscape format, as otherwise odd gaps appear in the English text, and there is little space between the two columns per page (although better than in portrait mode) . It is somewhat better in the Kindle Reader for Mac (I assume this is true of of the app for Windows, too). Cloud Reader is best of all, as it has well-proportioned pages, and the Greek text is nicely lined up with the English.

There is a long table of contents, allowing one to go directly to the passage wanted: there are hyperlinks to every fifth line. This is a great feature, given that there are about 12,000 lines in the poem!

I have one criticism: this is taken from the old Loeb Classical Library (bilingual) edition of 1919, with the translation by A.T. Murray.

This rendering has been called very accurate (at least in terms of the state-of-the-art at the beginning of the twentieth century).

However, it is also in rather heavily archaic English. Or part of it is: the narration is usually fairly straightforward, except for some old-fashioned vocabulary, but the dialogue consistently uses thee/thou, with attendant verb forms, which a lot of people find confusing/irritating.

Aristotle long ago pointed out that a great deal of Homer consists of characters speaking to each other (and sometimes to themselves -- "endure, my heart!"), so this appears quite frequently.

I do plan to use it to check on the accuracy of other translations, where they seem too modern to me, or otherwise "off."


message 26: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 117 comments For those who don't think poetry is for them... I thought for sure the Odyssey would be interminable verses of tangled intellectual wordplay that were bound to drive me nuts and/or most probably bore me to death. Boy, was I wrong. I couldn't believe how easy, and not only easy but how truly wonderful this story reads.

I don't know if I will be able to read along but I will definitely try to catch some of the discussions. I envy any of you who are discovering this for the first time.


message 27: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Ian wrote: "A new discovery on my part.

For those of you who would like a Kindle parallel-text English and Greek Odyssey, one is available, and quite inexpensive:."


Or one can go to the free Perseus site where one can switch between English (Murray and Butler translations are available, both in prose) and Greek. Plus maps, notes, etc.
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/t...


message 28: by Ian (last edited Mar 30, 2018 09:18AM) (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments A good call. Although the Kindle book allows bookmarking and personal note-taking, which is really handy if you want to be able to find something you would like to discuss, or plan to put them on line.

Perseus is now running a *lot* faster than it used to, on the three Mac browsers that I have checked, and it works with Silk on my 7" Fire tablet, although it gets rather cramped; the latter is, as expected, also true of my iPhone, too.

And the supplementary material is indeed great (if sometimes highly technical).

In the case of The Odyssey, the Samuel Butler (1900) translation has been revised for accuracy, too.

True, I've never been able to get the translations to parallel the Greek text properly if both are in a legible (for me) size (e.g., Greek Book I, lines 1-43 are matched with English Book I, lines 1-24) -- but I probably need new glasses, anyway..... And my early-model Kindle Fire can't handle the Greek text, despite trying all the settings options.

The real downside is that using the Perseus site generally requires a live connection: The Odyssey doesn't seem be one of the texts that can be downloaded for off-line reading.

This is fine if you are reading at home, not always so convenient if you are using any portable device (tablet, laptop, iPad, etc.) on the go. And if you are using a device that won't support an internet connection, period, you can't use it with Perseus at all.


message 29: by Tk (new)

Tk | 51 comments I've been missing from this group for a few recent books, but I'll be joining in here with the Fagles translation since it's on my shelf. I've not read it since high school!


message 30: by Ian (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments I had basically restricted my treatment of translations of The Odyssey to print books or eBooks (for Kindle) -- things one could get from Amazon.

However, now that I've discussed the Perseus web-site, I might as well mention that a Greek/English Odyssey, with a lot more, including the great Liddell-Scott Greek Lexicon, can be found on an app, "Ancient Greek," created by Paul Hudson.

It includes a library of 13 major Greek writers, including Euclid on geometry, and one of the medical writings of Galen, neither of which seem to get much coverage elsewhere. Of course, others that you might look for are omitted, most obviously Thucydides, which is a bit of a surprise.

The Odyssey (like some of the other texts) is broken down into small chunks, which can be toggled between the Greek text and an English translation, in this case that by A.T. Murray (discussed above). (It doesn't offer the same for Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. I probably would have mentioned it during that discussion if it did.)

The Ancient Greek app was at one time listed as available for MacOS and Android -- the first has been discontinued, and I have no current information on the second. However, it is available for iOS 8.0 and above (now including iOS 11), and it will run on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It is available from the Apple Store, and the current price is quite reasonable.

Unlike the Perseus site (which offers much more in the way of information), it *can* be used off-line.


message 31: by Chris (new)

Chris | 385 comments On my shelf is a yellowed paperbook copy of the Rouse translation. I've probably carted it around since H.S. - since we only read parts of it. I did try to read it on my own after I retired from the Navy... before I discovered this group. Willing to make another go of it with the group.


message 32: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Chris wrote: "On my shelf is a yellowed paperbook copy of the Rouse translation. I've probably carted it around since H.S. - since we only read parts of it. I did try to read it on my own after I retired from th..."

I think you'll find that reading with the group is a much more rewarding experience than trying to read it on your own.


message 33: by John (new)

John Seymour | 53 comments Thomas wrote: "Sachs sums up some of the major translations succinctly, so I'll post the beginning of his intro:

I have never met a translation of the Odyssey I didn't like. There are verse translations that march in boots (Richmond Lattimore)"


Lattimore is the only previous translation of the Odyssey I have read and boy is that an accurate description. This time I will be reading Mandelbaum, because it is the translation I have on my shelf (picked up from a thrift store). The Lattimore came from the library.


message 34: by John (new)

John Seymour | 53 comments Cphe wrote: "My brain isn't "wired"for verse/poetry.

It's not a delivery that I've ever been drawn to"


I have always felt the same. Two possible solutions - there are prose translations aplenty, and I am reading Dante and discovering that if one works at it, even a Philistine like me can start to discover beauty and meaning in poetry. If I can discover those circuits, anyone can.


message 35: by Chris (new)

Chris | 385 comments Well after reading the first two books in my old Rouse translation and seeing the quotes & comments, I decided to opt for a library edition of Fagle's translation instead.


message 36: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 3 comments I find Fagles very readable and expressive.

I appreciate Fitzgerald's attempt to correct English mispronunciations of Greek names- Circe should be pronounced Kirke, etc.


message 37: by Ian (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments John wrote: "This time I will be reading Mandelbaum..."

After several readings of it, I seem to be hard-wired to like Lattimore, but this time I've been sampling Mandelbaum, while mainly relying on Fagles.

Mandelbaum has some excellent notes -- that is, they cover things I think are important to know! If someone is using the Kindle version, instead of a hard copy, I would advise checking on them after finishing each book, as they aren't hyperlinked, and I, at least, find that jumping back and forth between them and the main text is very distracting. (There is, of course, the alternative of keeping it open at different pages on two devices or apps, if you have them: Cloud Reader and the Kindle app for Mac or Windows works, if you don't have a Kindle, so long as you don't let them synchronize to the same page.)

Bernard Knox's note to Fagles' translation are also pretty good. (I'm using a paperback copy, so I can't comment on the Kinkle version.)

Unfortunately, Lattimore's Odyssey, unlike his Iliad, does not seem to have been re-issued with notes, which is a pity. (The Kindle version of Lattimore has hyperlinks to its Glossary for the first appearance of names, but that provides barely more information than can be guessed from the immediate context.)


message 38: by Christopher (new)

Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments Hard-wired to like Lattimore...

Me too. I'm not sure why these... poseurs... even bothered.

I remember in high school buying Fagles's The Oresteia, which starts off with him saying "My thanks, first of all, to Aeschylus," - we got a good laugh out of that.

Not knowing much Latin, I will say I once compared translations of the Aeneid, and thought Mandelbaum's read very well. Scored highest in the 'blind taste test,' so to speak.


message 39: by Ian (last edited Apr 08, 2018 03:37PM) (new)

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 619 comments Christopher wrote: "Not knowing much Latin, I will say I once compared translations of the Aeneid, and thought Mandelbaum's read very well...."

Between Junior High, High School, and Graduate School, I had several years of Latin, the last course being the first six books of the Aeneid, or selections thereof, in Latin.

That was a long time ago, and, given the atrophy of my Latin, I wouldn't even consider trying it again.

I found Mandlebaum's translation pretty impressive when I compared it to a few others, and snapped it up when the Kindle price was lowered. Not that I have yet read all, or even most, of it -- the Aeneid was not my favorite classical work to begin with, and remembering struggling with the original tends to make re-reading it in English less pleasant than it might be. (In re-building my collection of classical literature, I've largely stuck to such second-hand copies of translations as come my way, instead of ordering from Amazon.)

(Quite the opposite with Beowulf -- working out a complete translation for a seminar course during a year's work on Old English only increased my liking for it, and my respect for good translations went up several notches.)


message 40: by Anand (new)

Anand (ajvenigalla) | 8 comments I liked Caroline Alexander’s translation of The Iliad, quite a bit. It’s very foreignizing, in the Lattimore tradition. I love the Lattimore translation, even though it borders on the clunky.

I’m appreciative of Fagles as well for both Iliad and Odyssey

I’ve looked a bit into Emily Wilson’s work for The Odyssey; and I find it very poetically readable.


message 41: by John (new)

John Seymour | 53 comments I finally got started last night, and it is going to be hard to keep this from dominating my reading, it grabbed me right from the start.

Muse, tell me of the man of many wiles,
the man who wandered many paths of exile
after he sacked Troy's sacred citadel.



message 42: by Ted (new)

Ted | 48 comments John wrote: "I finally got started last night, and it is going to be hard to keep this from dominating my reading, it grabbed me right from the start.

Muse, tell me of the man of many wiles,
the man who wander..."


Guess this is Mandelbaum? Nice and succinct it is. Plan to enlarge this comment later.


message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan | 467 comments ICYMI, a lecture "Translating the Odyssey again: why and how" that was given by Emily Wilson on October 19, 2018 is now available for online listening here: http://digitalarchives.sjc.edu/items/...


message 44: by David (new)

David | 2694 comments For those of you who are interested in The Odyssey (and who isn't?) Audible released an audiobook recorder of the Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson and read by Claire Danes and it is whispersync for voice-ready with the Kindle edition:

Audiobook
https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Odysse...

Kindle edition
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XKNHGN1


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