Download On translating the ''Iliad'' in English by Robert Lawrence Scott PDF

Download On translating the ''Iliad'' in English by Robert Lawrence Scott PDF

By Robert Lawrence Scott

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Example text

Arnold's plainness and directness of syntax and diction will be sacrificed at times, although again, we can expect some limits. We can expect certain strengths, especially these three: we can insist that a rhymed translation be good poetry in its own right; we can expect to find nobility and strength of emotion; and in many cases we should find other strengths to compensate for deviation from the original--especially entertainment in the case of ballad-rhythms, and enlightenment in the case of heroic couplets.

Gladstone, qtd. in London Ouarterly Review The long succession of names of those who have tried and at least partly failed at translating Homer reminds one of the sort of fairy tale where a fair maiden's hand can be won only by the accomplishment of some nearly impossible task (though the task may appear tantalizingly easy to would-be champions), such as chopping down an enchanted tree that grows with each hack of the blade. The penalty for failure is death, of course, at the hands of the royal executioner, but the prize is so beautiful (and the potential for fame and glory so great) that all the best from the surrounding countryside try their hands--and fail.

A more objective argument is articulated by an anonymous writer in Fraser's Magazine (1868). In discussing translations of the Iliad, he has this to say: Rhyme fills up a want which did not exist in the classical languages, but which is of the very essence of English. • • • A variously inflected language like Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 42 Greek opened to the poet at once a whole storehouse of means for varying his sound, the order of his words, and (by consequence) his rhythm.

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