Thursday, November 22, 2012
- Obfuscation, i.e. "euphemisation or deliberate mis-translation" (p. 176)
- Excision, which takes "two forms: the stronger form involves not printing offensive material in any language, while the weaker form involves printing that material in the original, but transposing it out of its expected place to another location in the volume." (p. 181)
- Non-translation, which "retains the standard order of the text, while making the decision to omit a version in any language other than the original." (ibid.)
- Retranslation, or "the printing of an in-line translation that is not in English, the target language of the LCL and therefore the language into which we expect the Greek or Latin texts to be translated." (p. 189)
In the essay on Juvenal in his book Classical Bearings (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), Peter Green tells about the great lengths to which he and some of his Sixth Form fellows at Charterhouse went to find out as much as they could about obscene passages omitted in bowdlerized school editions of the classics, for example Juvenal 1.39 (vetulae vesica beatae), much of Juvenal's sixth satire, all of Juvenal's second and ninth satires, etc.
They spent long hours of their free time in the well-stocked school library tracking down these naughty bits, poring over commentaries and lexicons, and trying to figure out what the censored passages meant. In the course of doing so they greatly improved their knowledge of Greek and Latin.
Green goes so far as to say (p. 242), "This was how I first acquired the basic techniques of scholarly research."
I recently noticed a minor example of obfuscation in one of the volumes of the Loeb Classical Library, viz. Ovid, Metamorphoses, tr. Frank Justus Miller, 3rd ed., rev. G.P. Goold, Volume I (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977), in the "skinny-dipping" episode (2.453-465, on pp. 90-93), where some of the titillation of the Latin has been removed from the English translation. The nymph Callisto, raped by Jove, has been trying to conceal her pregnancy, but the goddess Diana discovers the truth:
Nine times since then the crescent moon had grown full orbed, when the goddess, quitting the chase and overcome by the hot sun's rays, came to a cool grove through which a gently murmuring stream flowed over its smooth sands. The place delighted her and she dipped her feet into the water. Delighted too with this, she said to her companions: "Come, no one is near to see; let us disrobe and bathe us in the brook." The Arcadian blushed, and, while all the rest obeyed, she only sought excuses for delay. But her companions forced her to comply, and there her shame was openly confessed. As she stood terror-stricken, vainly striving to hide her state, Diana cried: "Begone! and pollute not our sacred pool"; and so expelled her from her company.Line 460 "all the rest obeyed"—for "obeyed," the Latin has "velamina ponunt," i.e. "strip off their clothes."
orbe resurgebant lunaria cornua nono,
cum dea venatu fraternis languida flammis,
nacta nemus gelidum, de quo cum murmure labens 455
ibat et attritas versabat rivus harenas.
ut loca laudavit, summas pede contigit undas;
his quoque laudatis "procul est" ait "arbiter omnis:
nuda superfusis tinguamus corpora lymphis!"
Parrhasis erubuit; cunctae velamina ponunt; 460
una moras quaerit: dubitanti vestis adempta est,
qua posita nudo patuit cum corpore crimen.
attonitae manibusque uterum celare volenti
"i procul hinc" dixit "nec sacros pollue fontis!"
Cynthia deque suo iussit secedere coetu. 465
Line 461-462 " But her companions forced her to comply, and there her shame was openly confessed."—the Latin has "dubitanti vestis adempta est, / qua posita nudo patuit cum corpore crimen." i.e. "while she hesitated, her clothing was taken off, and after it was removed, her sin was revealed, along with her naked body."
Line 463 "striving to hide her state"—the Latin has "manibusque uterum celare volenti," i.e. "wishing to hide her [swollen] womb with her hands."
Gillis Coignet (1542–1599), Callisto
Thanks to the friend who gave me a copy of Expurgating the Classics.