Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

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seneca2008
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Re: Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Post by seneca2008 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:42 pm

L&S “an-nŭo (better adn- ), ŭi (ūvi, Enn. ap. Prisc. p. 882 P.)“

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Re: Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Post by Callisper » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:36 pm

I would also recommend the OP check out the production of the Latinists around 1950-1970 who were successful in the Certamen Capitolinum. I have a book called "Narrationes" by Teodoro Ciresola: the Latin is generally solid, highly Classical, very easy, and fun. (And there are 250 pages of it.) That Ciresola came 2nd in the Certamen as often as he won suggests there was more stuff of this kind going around - but whether it would all have the light, 'for children' tone of his narratives I do not know - certainly I'd like to know what else is available of similar ilk.

Another thing to look for might be "De Simia Heidelbergensi" by Michael von Albrecht. Haven't seen it but Latinists don't come much more 'professional' than him so I'd have high hopes.

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Re: Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Post by Scribo » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:35 pm

It's shame composition has fallen a bit by the way side outside of competitions (which are always the same boring stuff! Translate Gladstone, translate Disraeli etc etc). I wanted to write my dissertation in Latin but was told that there would be a word count penalty upon translation.

I didn't mind the Hobbit in Latin, but then I never finished it. To me, the charm is that is quintessentially English and somewhat Midlandsy. Everyone I know from the older generation seems to love Winnie Ille Pu, but I don't really have any such attachment to it, In that sense I am an Eyeore.
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Re: Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Post by DoctorBadger » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:01 pm

Ok. I have started lining up classical Latin authors to read. I still intend to try all the living Latin authors, mainly cos I intend to read everything written in Latin and Greek. :) Btw, I'm a fan of Caesar but not his writing. How about Nepos first? I much prefer ancient biography. Also any ideas about Latin Wikipedia?

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:31 pm

Nepos is good, about the same level of difficulty as Caesar, maybe a bit easier (although that's often a subjective evaluation) and in the 19th and early 20th centuries was often used as an intermediate or first advanced text.
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Re: Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Post by scotistic » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:42 pm

Callisper wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:30 am

I don't know why you necessarily expect these to be any easier than some Classical Latin that's out there. As far as I can tell many of them look about the same.

There is no point in detecting or listing errors in most of them: they are horrendously badly written. Enough can be found on a Google search to inform you of the 'errors' of Hobbitus and Tom Cotton. I hope you will take my advice not to touch them with a barge-pole. Needham is also too poor to merit wholesale correction. Winnie Ille Pu offers some pretty dubious idioms (for which it was subjected to scathing critique by no less a serious classicist than Christian Fordyce) and moreover I really do not think a student who can read it for fun should have trouble with say Caesar. The same goes for Regulus (though the Latin is less often poor). If I can see any of these books being useful (or shall I say not pernicious?) to a student, it is Regulus, but it's up to you to decide whether matters of vocabulary etc actually leave you able to read it any more easily than the actual classics.

Avellanus gets a good rap for some reason. Certainly he's better than the texts mentioned above but his Latin often abounds in rare, poetic, or late constructions or vocabulary. Again it's hard to see how this could be read for fun or for 'immersion' by a pupil who has only just become able to read Caesar or Cicero. It could be fun for an advanced student (by which I mean one who has run through pretty much the whole classical gamut already at least once - and maybe throw in a healthy dose of Neo-Latin too).

So, what of this kind is good? I haven't read Fragrantia by Nicolas Gross but from what I can tell from the sample online, it's OK. (i.e.: way better than the stuff above) Also, I read in CNLS that Ugo Enrico Paoli translated Pinocchio; I haven't read anything by him ( :cry: ) but judging by his reputation among serious Neo-Latinists I'd expect this to be good.

Then there are the Neo-Latin novels which are variable wrt Classical Latinity, but rarely if ever misguided by modern-language idiom in any way I can notice, which is the important barrier that makes novels like the ones above unhelpful to a beginner. So if you can handle it, I can't recommend anything higher than them. I understand the desire for extended narrative prose on a lighthearted topic, and I am currently reading those novels myself.
scotistic wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:42 pm
My own favorite among modern Latin translations is Dominus Quixotus a Manica.
I had not heard of this book until now. I was impressed someone translated the entirety of the novel to Latin so imagine my disappointment at seeing (de quibus) fertur eos habere in the first sentence.
I also read Gross' Fragrantia, along with his all-Latin "glossary" (really a kind of selective encyclopedia), and enjoyed them very much. I did read Regulus, once in college and then about ten years later, but I'm sick of it. After reading it in French, English, Latin, and the recent Greek version, I've had about enough.

As for the questionable Latin in Dominus Quixotus, etc etc, I've mentioned before that it just doesn't bother me. I've read so much more patristic and medieval Latin than I have classical that I just don't have the standards some Latinists do. After a few thousand pages of the barbarities of fourteenth-century metaphysicians nothing fazes me. I don't find that it hinders my enjoyment of Virgil a bit.

I do agree that none of these books are very suitable for beginners as an alternative to classical texts. Many of them aren't much easier and it's true that their idiom is often unhelpful for understanding the classics. But they can still be fun.

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Re: Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Post by Callisper » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:00 am

DoctorBadger wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:01 pm
I intend to read everything written in Latin and Greek. :)
Neither task would be possible to accomplish even if you were to read 24/7 for 1000 years and at a speed in excess of Harold Bloom's English reading speed. (https://www.theguardian.com/books/books ... literature)*

The sentiment is vaguely admirable - and indeed you can get to the end of the classical canon pretty quickly - but why not line up the remainder of your hours with Neo-Latin rather than these shoddy translations?


*Edit: this would appear to be an exaggeration. I would think that the amount of Latin and Greek printed is less than 8.8 billion pages.

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Re: Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Post by DoctorBadger » Mon May 13, 2019 1:16 pm

How about Montaigne's claim to have read every book in existence at the time? He was a very modest man (Que sais-je? and all that) so he probably didn't say it himself.
I am beginning to agree with the people warning me to avoid some Latin translations of modern literature. I started finding stuff which seemed wrong. But there are many exceptions. I reckon Asterix in Latin to be pretty good, and a great way to indulge in lots of Direct Speech perhaps as a preparation for Plautus? The translator, a german fellow, died recently. He seems very respected.

But I have also begun to find Classical Latin I really like, that is Cornelius Nepos. Caesar is a hero of mine, but there's only so much campaign history I can handle, in any language. Biography, on the other hand, allows for pithy statements and more showing off, IMHO.
ps vicipaedia is great fun, especially when reading about something decidedly modern, like punk music and modern tech.
In fact, an updated, more modest ambition of mine is to write vicipaedia pages for stuff I like. And to have other vicipaedians (?) not castigate it! Honestly, I would feel so proud!

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Re: Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Post by Callisper » Mon May 13, 2019 11:59 pm

DoctorBadger wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:16 pm
How about Montaigne's claim to have read every book in existence at the time? He was a very modest man (Que sais-je? and all that) so he probably didn't say it himself.
Does Montaigne say this? Or is it said about him by anyone?

(What he does say is "Je feuillette les livres, je ne les estudie pas." Rather easier to get through 'everything' that way.)

And - if you can find a reference - I am sure "every book" wouldn't mean every book.

As to Asterix comics ... I don't have time for a proper look at the moment but I briefly glanced at them online (these? https://latin4everyone.wordpress.com/20 ... et-obelix/). From what I saw I cannot remotely share your positive view of the Latin, but at least it is obviously very simple - which may make it useful to some.

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