Tuesday, November 09, 2021


Perhaps Literal Translations Do Have Their Uses

Malcolm Davies, The Epic Cycle (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1989), p. iv:
Why, for instance, publish literal translations of those tiny portions of confessedly second-rate epics that happen to have survived? Partly, I suppose, because less literal translations that hide their originals' shortcomings can themselves be misleading. To take one example: Iona and Peter Opie, at the start of their fascinating book The Singing Game (Oxford 1985), observe (p. 4): 'Another ancient circular dance was that in which a leader stood in the centre of the ring and sang the verse, and the ring acted as chorus. This seems to be described in the Titanomachy.' The warrant for this important inference is Higham's over-enthusiastic rendering of F 5 in the Oxford Book of Greek Verse in Translation, p. 180:
Himself, the sire of men, of gods the sire,
The centre took, and led the dancing quire.
Unfortunately, as a brisk look at my own literal translation (p. 16) of the one-line fragment will confirm, practically the whole of the second verse of Higham's translation is of his own devising. And even more unfortunately, it is on this portion of the translation that the Opies' picture of a leader in the centre of the ring, singing to an accompanying chorus, is based. Perhaps literal translations do have their uses.
Id., p. 16:
F 5 preserves a single hexameter from the Titanomachy:
And in their midst danced the father of men and gods.
The Greek:
μέσσοισιν δ' ὠρχεῖτο πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?