Wednesday, March 07, 2007



I subscribe to the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR) mailing list. In today's email, I received a review of Holt N. Parker (trans.), Censorinus. The Birthday Book (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007) by Benjamin Stevens. As of this minute, there is no link on the BMCR web site for the review. Stevens writes:
In the Preface to his translation of Censorinus' (C) De die natali, Holt N. Parker (P) writes that he "tried to reflect something of Censorinus's range of styles while keeping within idiomatic English" (xiii). From this modest aim has come a great achievement, not to say an astonishing one: this translation, the first translation of C into English, is both exacting and elegant....It is to P's credit, and to our immeasurable gain, that C has at last spoken in English, after something like 1,770 years.
Is this really the first translation of Censorinus into English? The Library of Congress catalog contains an entry for De die natale ("The natal day") by Censorinus (A.D. 238). Life of the Emperor Hadrian by Ælianus Spartianus (circ. A.D. 300). Tr. into English by William Maude (New York: The Cambridge encyclopedia co., 1900).

I have not seen either book.

Update: The review is here. Apparently Maude omitted the first 11 (of 24) chapters of Censorinus, so Parker's is the first complete translation. Many years ago, I considered translating Censorinus, but abandoned the idea when I learned of Maude's translation. I missed my chance at fame, fortune, and the New York Times bestseller list.

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