Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:59 pm

Has anybody read this? A copy came into our store and I browsed the opening page. Very interesting, quite different. It reads really well. The opening line is "Tell me about a complicated man", which got my attention for sure. Apparently she gives a good defense for her choice of the term "complicated". Hmmm. Can't wait to read it.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Andrew Fryer » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:42 pm

Everyone who has ever been found guilty of a crime has had a defence!
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:46 pm

Funny! Yeah I heard about her using this and said, ....??. But again, I liked how the first page read--but I just had a minute to read it; a customer was buying it--Seth, a classics professor at Cal Berkeley who'd heard good things.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Andrew Fryer » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:19 pm

That's one of the problems with academic classicists - their job is to know all of the secondary sources.
That's so time-consuming that some of them never get to learn the primary languages properly (I know from first-hand discussion).
There's a trend among Homer "translators" towards synthesising all the other available "translations" without knowing any Greek. I'd think it was worrying if I cared. I have no idea what Wilson's credentials are. There was a time when I needed Lattimore as a crib when reading Homer, but not any longer.
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:32 pm

Wilson's credentials are sterling; she knows Greek. She's a Brit, so that's a demerit--but she teaches in the States, so it balances out. Oxford grad, I think. Again, from what I've heard she argues for "complicated" based on her understanding of ancient Greek. What that argument is, I don't know.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Andrew Fryer » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:12 pm

Well, complicated is ambiguous - it can be deemed to have a passive sense (analogous to implicated), and agreeing with the potentially passive polytropon and passive/middle plankhtheh, but I think she's straining after effect if that is her reasoning. (my interpretations of these Greek words are from memory, and next time I read it, I will parse them all again and decide how much importance I attach to each interpretation of each word. This is the luxury of not reading translations!)

I can point you to a TV programme where professors from Oxford, UCL and Warwick argue that the etymology of sedition is from the verb sedere!
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:39 pm

Over my head Andrew. The last time I used my compact OED I slipped and was caught under it on the floor for three weeks. Cats nearly got me. Never again.

Wait I'll google it. To the google cave!
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

gitgeezer
Posts: 2253
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:09 pm
Location: Southeastern U.S.

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by gitgeezer » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:19 pm

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold, 
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; 
Round many western islands have I been 
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. 
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told 
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne; 
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene 
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: 
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken; 
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes 
He star'd at the Pacific—and all his men 
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise— 
Silent, upon a peak in Darien. 

(not mine--Keats--"On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer")

Does anyone read Chapman anymore? Alas, probably not.

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:37 pm

Sedere: well, all that sitting done by Catalonians has resulted in the current troubles, apparently.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

Robert Rogers
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:59 am

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Robert Rogers » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:45 am

I believe this is the first time a woman has undertaken a translation since Homer's daughter wrote the original!

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:18 am

gitgeezer wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:19 pm
Does anyone read Chapman anymore? Alas, probably not.
Does anyone read anything else by him? I doubt it, unless they have accidentally signed up for the wrong Elizabethan course unit at uni.

Here is the start of Chapman's Odyssey. It is interesting because I see sometimes people arguing pronunciation from rhymes and I wonder if here they'd argue that unwise and impieties (last two lines) rhyme? (same goes for nations and fashions, etc. Haven't these people heard of half-rhymes?)

‭ The man, O Muse, inform, that many a way
‭ Wound with his wisdom to his wished stay;
‭ That wander’d wondrous far, when he the town
‭ Of sacred Troy had sack’d and shiver’d down;
‭ The cities of a world of nations,
‭ With all their manners, minds, and fashions,
‭ He saw and knew; at sea felt many woes,
‭ Much care sustain’d, to save from overthrows
‭ Himself and friends in their retreat for home;
‭ But so their fates he could not overcome,
‭ Though much he thirsted it. O men unwise,
‭ They perish’d by their own impieties!
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:58 pm

Sorry Keats--I've never liked Chapman's Homer. Way too much twisting of syntax to get an end rhyme. Isn't this poem more of a Chapman/Homer hybrid than a translation? And yes I understand that all translations make compromises and reflect the historical moment and style of the translator to some degree, but sheesh Chapman's Homer takes the cake on this.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:27 pm

Then there's Dryden's Homer and Virgil, and there's Pope's Homer and Pope's Catullus's Callimachus.
It's a damn sight easier to learn Greek and Latin and have done with them all! Except that some of them are great literary products in their own right.

I always found lay math similar - you get people struggling for years to understand multi-dimensional universes and cosmology without any math, when they could do the necessary degrees by post in 3 years!
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:58 pm

Ooooh, I forgot about Dryden and Pope's Homer...ouch! But yes there are the occasional translations that are wonderful in themselves. I don't like Ezra Pound much, but his 'translations' of Li Po and others that he did from cribs are some of his best work, I think. He didn't read Chinese. That seemed to give him more room to improvise something freer and fresh, apparently.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

Return to “The Café”