Tuesday, September 06, 2016


A Greek Lesson

Alfred Andersch (1914-1980), The Father of a Murderer, tr. Leila Vennewitz (New York: New Directions, 1994), p. 53:
He turned back toward Franz, shook his head as he looked at the εηεινεισθει that Franz had written, walked to the blackboard, picked up the cloth lying on the shelf—still damp from Werner Schröter's use of it—erased the "e's" after the "pi" and the "theta," and replaced them with "a's," so that finally, in a mixture of such differing handwritings as Franz Kien's and the Headmaster's—one inconsistent and sloppy and one vigorous and betraying not a shred of self-doubt—the word appeared correctly on the black-board: εηαινεισθχι.
Image of the paragraph:

I shake my head. You'd think that, in a short novel that takes place inside a Greek class, words quoted in Greek letters would be printed accurately. For εηεινεισθει read επεινεισθει (the student's mistake, without accent and breathing), and for εηαινεισθχι read επαινεισθαι (the headmaster's correction, still without accent and breathing, which are added later in the lesson).

I haven't seen the German original. Thanks to Alan Crease for recommending the book to me.


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