Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Review of CSL's translation of the Aeneid

Expand Messages
  • davise@cs.nyu.edu
    There is a review by Emily Wilson (Classics Dept, U. Penn) of Lewis recently published partial translation of the Aeneid in the August 18 issue of The New
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 13 11:21 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      There is a review by Emily Wilson (Classics Dept, U. Penn) of Lewis' recently published partial translation of the Aeneid in the August 18 issue of The New Republic that list members may find interesting. Unfortunately, it is available online only to subscribers, but if you want a copy, email me privately (davise@...) and I will postal mail you a copy.

      Let me be clear, which I haven't always been, lately: I am not _endorsing_ the review. I haven't read CSL's translation, and even if I had, I do not know the original or the other translations anything like well enough to offer an opinion. (For that matter, I am too poor a judge of poetry.) I am merely _pointing out_ the review.

      I think I can include a few central quotations, within the scope of fair use:

      "The main value of C.S. Lewis's "lost" version of the Aeneid is that Lewis's Virgil is a bracing corrective to [T.S.] Eliot's Virgil ... Where Eliot sees it as self-evident that Virgil's English equivalent is the neo-classical Pope, Lewis reads the Aeneid through the medieval tradition. He preferred the lively middle Scottish translation by Gavin Douglas (which is indeed excellent) to the controlled and "classicizing" couplets of Dryden."

      "Many couplets hover uneasily between the downright dreadful and the merely silly, as when we are told that Aeneas' mother, Venus, appears to him "in huntress' fashion to the rippling air/Girt 'neath the paps and kilted to the naked knee." The fake medievalism of the language and the chosen meter ... is instantly off-putting. "

      "But ... parts of it are ... excellent. The gory monsters of Book Six are well done, as is the pathos of the world of the dead, where "all was unembodied soul, and thin/Wraith flaunting to the eye and hollow all within." The battle scenes of Book Two are particularly strong, and remind one of Lewis' capacity for sharp, tightly plotted storytelling: "Clothed in his terrible father's might, Pyrrhus comes on/Swords, bolts, and bars avail not. The whole door is gone./Beat with their ram repeatedly. The doorposts fall;/The entry's forced; its guardians have been butchered all." The past is very fast here, just as it needs to be if it is to echo Virgil's taut clauses."

      -- Ernie
    • Alana Joli Abbott
      I just checked the database my library subscribes to (Gale s Power Search), and it does include *New Republic,* but this issue is not yet available. I d bet
      Message 2 of 7 , Aug 14 6:25 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        I just checked the database my library subscribes to (Gale's Power Search), and it does include New Republic, but this issue is not yet available. I'd bet it'll be up in a few weeks (which might save Ernie some postage, if others also have access to the database).

        I've not read the Aeneid in full; the Lewis version might be an excuse to move it up my list. :)

        -Alana

        On Sat, Aug 13, 2011 at 2:21 PM, <davise@...> wrote:
         

        There is a review by Emily Wilson (Classics Dept, U. Penn) of Lewis' recently published partial translation of the Aeneid in the August 18 issue of The New Republic that list members may find interesting. Unfortunately, it is available online only to subscribers, but if you want a copy, email me privately (davise@...) and I will postal mail you a copy.

        Let me be clear, which I haven't always been, lately: I am not _endorsing_ the review. I haven't read CSL's translation, and even if I had, I do not know the original or the other translations anything like well enough to offer an opinion. (For that matter, I am too poor a judge of poetry.) I am merely _pointing out_ the review.

        I think I can include a few central quotations, within the scope of fair use:

        "The main value of C.S. Lewis's "lost" version of the Aeneid is that Lewis's Virgil is a bracing corrective to [T.S.] Eliot's Virgil ... Where Eliot sees it as self-evident that Virgil's English equivalent is the neo-classical Pope, Lewis reads the Aeneid through the medieval tradition. He preferred the lively middle Scottish translation by Gavin Douglas (which is indeed excellent) to the controlled and "classicizing" couplets of Dryden."

        "Many couplets hover uneasily between the downright dreadful and the merely silly, as when we are told that Aeneas' mother, Venus, appears to him "in huntress' fashion to the rippling air/Girt 'neath the paps and kilted to the naked knee." The fake medievalism of the language and the chosen meter ... is instantly off-putting. "

        "But ... parts of it are ... excellent. The gory monsters of Book Six are well done, as is the pathos of the world of the dead, where "all was unembodied soul, and thin/Wraith flaunting to the eye and hollow all within." The battle scenes of Book Two are particularly strong, and remind one of Lewis' capacity for sharp, tightly plotted storytelling: "Clothed in his terrible father's might, Pyrrhus comes on/Swords, bolts, and bars avail not. The whole door is gone./Beat with their ram repeatedly. The doorposts fall;/The entry's forced; its guardians have been butchered all." The past is very fast here, just as it needs to be if it is to echo Virgil's taut clauses."

        -- Ernie




        --
        Alana Joli Abbott, Freelance Writer and Editor (http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com)
        Author of Into the Reach and Departure, available at http://tinyurl.com/aja-ebooks
        Columnist, "The Town with Five Main Streets," http://branford.patch.com/columns/the-town-with-five-main-streets
        Contributor to Origins Award winner, Serenity Adventures: http://tinyurl.com/serenity-adventures
        --
        For updates on my writings, join my mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/alanajoliabbottfans

      • David Bratman
        ... I trust you re aware that you won t be able to read it in full from Lewis, as his translation is not complete. Good luck in finding another translation to
        Message 3 of 7 , Aug 14 6:41 AM
        • 0 Attachment
          Alana Joli Abbott wrote:

          >I've not read the Aeneid in full; the Lewis
          >version might be an excuse to move it up my
          >list.

          I trust you're aware that you won't be able to read it in full from Lewis, as his translation is not complete. Good luck in finding another translation to complete your reading; the one I read in college, I don't remember who by, was dull, duller, dullest. After Homer, it felt like reading a Tolclone after The Lord of the Rings, but I honestly can't say how much of that was the translator's fault and how much Virgil's.
        • scribbler@scribblerworks.us
          I haven t studied Homer in the Greek (although I do have The Odyssey in the Greek/English edition). But he is a more vivid storyteller than Virgil. Virgil I
          Message 4 of 7 , Aug 14 12:35 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            I haven't studied Homer in the Greek (although I do have The Odyssey in
            the Greek/English edition). But he is a more vivid storyteller than
            Virgil. Virgil I HAVE studied in the Latin -- he is more formal in his
            storytelling, and ... well, more Roman (order is more important, and has a
            more Stoic sensibility) than Homer.

            As for good translations of Virgil, I'd recommend Mandelbaum's verse
            translation. It won the National Book Award, and is more accessible.


            > Alana Joli Abbott wrote:
            >
            >>I've not read the Aeneid in full; the Lewis
            >>version might be an excuse to move it up my
            >>list.
            >
            > I trust you're aware that you won't be able to read it in full from Lewis,
            > as his translation is not complete. Good luck in finding another
            > translation to complete your reading; the one I read in college, I don't
            > remember who by, was dull, duller, dullest. After Homer, it felt like
            > reading a Tolclone after The Lord of the Rings, but I honestly can't say
            > how much of that was the translator's fault and how much Virgil's.
            >
            >
            >
          • Larry Swain
            I too recommend the Mandelbaum; it s a good read. Also, you might try the Fagles translation from Penguin which is also enjoyable and accessible. -- Larry
            Message 5 of 7 , Aug 14 1:14 PM
            • 0 Attachment
              I too recommend the Mandelbaum; it's a good read.  Also, you might try the Fagles translation from Penguin which is also enjoyable and accessible.
              --
              Larry Swain
               
              On Sun, 14 Aug 2011 12:35 -0700, scribbler@... wrote:
               

              I haven't studied Homer in the Greek (although I do have The Odyssey in
              the Greek/English edition). But he is a more vivid storyteller than
              Virgil. Virgil I HAVE studied in the Latin -- he is more formal in his
              storytelling, and ... well, more Roman (order is more important, and has a
              more Stoic sensibility) than Homer.

              As for good translations of Virgil, I'd recommend Mandelbaum's verse
              translation. It won the National Book Award, and is more accessible.

              > Alana Joli Abbott wrote:
              >
              >>I've not read the Aeneid in full; the Lewis
              >>version might be an excuse to move it up my
              >>list.
              >
              > I trust you're aware that you won't be able to read it in full from Lewis,
              > as his translation is not complete. Good luck in finding another
              > translation to complete your reading; the one I read in college, I don't
              > remember who by, was dull, duller, dullest. After Homer, it felt like
              > reading a Tolclone after The Lord of the Rings, but I honestly can't say
              > how much of that was the translator's fault and how much Virgil's.
              >
              >
              >
               

              -- 
              http://www.fastmail.fm - The way an email service should be
              
            • Alana Joli Abbott
              ... Oooh, thanks. Having not read the review, I didn t realize the Lewis translation was incomplete, so having that and the Mandelbaum together would probably
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 14 4:52 PM
              • 0 Attachment

                As for good translations of Virgil, I'd recommend Mandelbaum's verse
                translation. It won the National Book Award, and is more accessible.

                Oooh, thanks. Having not read the review, I didn't realize the Lewis translation was incomplete, so having that and the Mandelbaum together would probably be a good plan!

                -Alana
                 


                --
                Alana Joli Abbott, Freelance Writer and Editor (http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com)
                Author of Into the Reach and Departure, available at http://tinyurl.com/aja-ebooks
                Columnist, "The Town with Five Main Streets," http://branford.patch.com/columns/the-town-with-five-main-streets
                Contributor to Origins Award winner, Serenity Adventures: http://tinyurl.com/serenity-adventures
                --
                For updates on my writings, join my mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/alanajoliabbottfans

              • Alana Joli Abbott
                I think we used the Fagles translation of the *Odyssey* when I studied it in college, and I recall liking his style. I ll have to see what my local library has
                Message 7 of 7 , Aug 15 2:04 PM
                • 0 Attachment
                  I think we used the Fagles translation of the Odyssey when I studied it in college, and I recall liking his style. I'll have to see what my local library has easily available. :)

                  -Alana

                  On Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 4:14 PM, Larry Swain <theswain@...> wrote:
                   

                  I too recommend the Mandelbaum; it's a good read.  Also, you might try the Fagles translation from Penguin which is also enjoyable and accessible.
                  --
                  Larry Swain
                   
                  On Sun, 14 Aug 2011 12:35 -0700, scribbler@... wrote:
                   

                  I haven't studied Homer in the Greek (although I do have The Odyssey in
                  the Greek/English edition). But he is a more vivid storyteller than
                  Virgil. Virgil I HAVE studied in the Latin -- he is more formal in his
                  storytelling, and ... well, more Roman (order is more important, and has a
                  more Stoic sensibility) than Homer.



                  As for good translations of Virgil, I'd recommend Mandelbaum's verse
                  translation. It won the National Book Award, and is more accessible.

                  > Alana Joli Abbott wrote:
                  >
                  >>I've not read the Aeneid in full; the Lewis
                  >>version might be an excuse to move it up my
                  >>list.
                  >
                  > I trust you're aware that you won't be able to read it in full from Lewis,
                  > as his translation is not complete. Good luck in finding another
                  > translation to complete your reading; the one I read in college, I don't
                  > remember who by, was dull, duller, dullest. After Homer, it felt like
                  > reading a Tolclone after The Lord of the Rings, but I honestly can't say
                  > how much of that was the translator's fault and how much Virgil's.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                   

                  -- 
                  http://www.fastmail.fm - The way an email service should be
                  




                  --
                  Alana Joli Abbott, Freelance Writer and Editor (http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com)
                  Author of Into the Reach and Departure, available at http://tinyurl.com/aja-ebooks
                  Columnist, "The Town with Five Main Streets," http://branford.patch.com/columns/the-town-with-five-main-streets
                  Contributor to Origins Award winner, Serenity Adventures: http://tinyurl.com/serenity-adventures
                  --
                  For updates on my writings, join my mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/alanajoliabbottfans

                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.