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Good Verse Translations of Latin Poets?

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Good Verse Translations of Latin Poets?

Postby Scribo » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:34 pm

Ok I'm completely ignorant on this topic so I'm hoping that some people may know something. Basically I'm after good verse translations of Latin poets, good not just (or even necessarily foremost) in terms of fidelity but in terms of the poetic crafting. I also think they need to have something like actual metre.

Looking for Horace or Ovid especially, even suggest multiple versions over some small distance of time.

I've been asked and yet I realise I literally have no idea. :S
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Re: Good Verse Translations of Latin Poets?

Postby Qimmik » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:32 am

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Ovid-24-Passages-Metamorphoses/dp/0374525870

You don't have to buy from Amazon.

However, I don't think anyone has ever captured Ovid's mixture of verbal play, wit, sardonic humor, irreverence, and profound pathos (not that I've looked at many translations--heavens forbid).

As for Horace, unfortunately, the greatest translator of Horace into a modern language (whose own poetry was permeated by Horatian influence) was Russian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afanasy_Fet

And, come to think of it, after Shakespeare, the most Ovidian of European poets was also Russian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Pushkin
Last edited by Qimmik on Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Good Verse Translations of Latin Poets?

Postby Qimmik » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:54 am

I've read the Metamorphoses at least three times. My votes for--

The three most powerful, disturbing stories: Alcyone and Ceyx, Myrrha, Philomela.

Black humor: Actaeon, Arachne, Acis and Galatea.

Sheer beauty with ironic humor: Daphne

Pure story-telling--the ability to make a myth come alive: Phaeton, Daedalus.

LOL: The contest of arms.

Irreverence: All of the "crimes of the gods" stories; "nec Iouis ira."
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Re: Good Verse Translations of Latin Poets?

Postby mwh » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:27 pm

I have not read the Metamorphoses at least three times, but these seem great choices to me, spot-on - though I'd like to see Echo in there somewhere. A LOL moment in Daphne: (Ap to Daph) moderatius, oro, / curre fugamque inhibe, moderatius insequar ipse.

Since we're already off topic, I'd like to put in a plug for Alice Oswald's recent Memorial, "a version of Homer's Iliad." Nothing like a translation, since she strips out the narrative and severs the similes from their original context, but a very powerful poem.
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