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the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

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the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

Postby daivid » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:14 am

First how authentic is the Greek? (on this I have no opinion)
Second how does it compare on readability with the original? If the Ancient
Athenian equivalent of the Bloomsbury editor gave it to his 8 year old daughter
what would she make of it?
My impression is that it is a lot harder than the children's books I read when I was
learning Serbo-Croat.
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Re: the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

Postby bedwere » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:20 am

The translator, Andrew Wilson, has a web page where you may find useful information:

HARRY POTTER IN ANCIENT GREEK
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Re: the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

Postby Markos » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:28 pm

I think the Greek is authentic, maybe to a fault, in that I for one find it rather difficult. It imitates an ornate Attic style and includes lots of idioms and rare vocabulary. But I should say that I have never read the original, and I think that if one was super-familiar with the original text (which I think is the idea behind reading the Greek) it would probably be a lot more manageable. I very much appreciate Wilson's effort.
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Re: the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

Postby daivid » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:13 pm

bedwere wrote:The translator, Andrew Wilson, has a web page where you may find useful information:

HARRY POTTER IN ANCIENT GREEK


The section on the vocabulary was very useful.

The notes a lot less so. Rather than hints on the grammar it is written as if intended to explain the world of Harry Potter to an ancient Athenian. As no Ancient Greek person is actually going to get their hands on the book the notes are really an extended joke. Fine, but something that actually help someone who is struggling with the text might have been a better use of his time.
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Re: the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

Postby daivid » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Markos wrote:I think the Greek is authentic, maybe to a fault, in that I for one find it rather difficult. It imitates an ornate Attic style and includes lots of idioms and rare vocabulary. But I should say that I have never read the original, and I think that if one was super-familiar with the original text (which I think is the idea behind reading the Greek) it would probably be a lot more manageable. I very much appreciate Wilson's effort.

I'm glad it isn't just me that finds it difficult. I wish he had chosen a less ornate style. However, the publishers were far from overwhelmed with offers so I guess we do owe Wilson a big thanks that it exists at all and that it should be authentic is the most important thing.


One thing though. He has a habit of using two synonyms to translate one word from the original. Is this just an eccentricity of Wilson or he copying a habit of some ancient authors? If so which?


bedwere wrote:The translator, Andrew Wilson, has a web page where you may find useful information:
HARRY POTTER IN ANCIENT GREEK

In my comments on the page I forgot to say the most important thing:
Thanks for the link.
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Re: the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

Postby mwh » Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:14 am

I've only read a few pages, but the greek, which seems to be basically second sophistic attic, is extraordinarily good. It's a very english quirky thing to have done, and certainly no teleported children's book. Only people thoroughly soaked in greek literature and with extremely good knowledge of greek would be in a position to properly appreciate it. It's essentially an elaborate old-style composition exercise, very well and amusingly done, but when all's said and done, what's the point?
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Re: the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

Postby daivid » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:15 pm

mwh wrote: It's essentially an elaborate old-style composition exercise, very well and amusingly done, but when all's said and done, what's the point?


That is my problem with this translation. What's the point? There is a great need for more intermediate texts to help learners get to grips with Ancient Greek but anyone who has so completely mastered Ancient Greek to read this book will be better off reading Lucian which will be well within their abilities.

Markos, your words above shamed me into trying to be grateful for this translation and I have been trying - really I have.

For several days I have been stuck on a sentence near the top of page 2. Against my better judgement I thought I would check Wilson's notes even though I had already discovered that these notes have little to do with helping learners. It did in fact help but not for the sentence that I had got stuck on but on the one before.

My problem with the preceding sentence is that it seemed to refer to thick fog and then seemed to add that it was something folks in Britain had become accustomed to(κατὰ τὸ εἰωθός). As this seemed odd I checked the English original. All that I found was a reference to gray skies and nothing that could correspond with κατὰ τὸ εἰωθός. How had I so misread the Greek? Well his notes make clear that he did indeed intend to describe the Dursley's house as being surrounded by thick fog and that such fog was something that we are accustomed to. He then takes a swipe a those who perpetrate such a myth. So he distorts J K Rowling and then takes a swipe at the distortion he himself as added. It is possible that he slipped up when translating - my suspicion is however that he thinks he is being terribly witty.

This not a criticism of his Greek which I am sure is perfect. It seems to me that Wilson is a frustrated Lucian-wanabe who thinks he can improve on J K Rowling. Rowling wouldn't have the sales she has if she needed improving.

 I am grateful to J K Rowling in pushing her publishers to publish her book in Ancient Greek . Few authors have the clout to get their publishers to carry out such a request. I would like to believe that if we all go out and buy this book publishers will start producing more accessible texts in Ancient Greek. My fear is this was a once in a generation opportunity that Wilson has blown.

Markos I admire your generosity of spirit in being grateful to Andrew Wilson and I wish I could be grateful too but I just can't manage it.
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Re: the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

Postby Helikwps » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:28 pm

I read somewhere that Rowling herself was thrilled with both the Greek and Latin editions. I too tried just the first few pages, with the English beside as a crib. Certainly I can't tell good from bad yet but there were enough broad Attic-study jokes to keep me smiling. Hope a second edition has wider margins though.
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Re: the Greek of Αρειος Ποτηρ καὶ ἡ φιλοσόφου λίθος

Postby Vladimir » Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:54 pm

The thing I am especially interested in is translation of proper nouns. Wilson says Herodotus used to translate them so that they "seem native to Greek". So shall I translate my first name as Κοσμοκράτωρ since Vladimir means "he who possesses the world"? :D It is fairly strange that, for example, the name Harry which etymologically has nothing to do with hte greek god of war became Ἅρειος. In the New Testament, there are many jewish names that don't look at all like greek ones and are indeclinable, e.g. Δαυίδ, Σαοῦλ etc... But it would be better first to have a look at some examples of Herodotus' translation of foreign proper nouns.
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