About a month ago, I decided I want to read all the English translations of Homer’s The Odyssey. Given the dozens in existence, “all” will probably be interpreted loosely. But that is not the subject of today’s discussion. Today, I want to talk about, well, what the title of this piece says. Continue reading “Why I’m reading all the English translations of The Odyssey”
Homer’s The Odyssey: How I chose which translation to read
Note: I wrote this before the publication of Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey. My thoughts on it are here.
“You know what the ancients said…”
Growing up, I heard this phrase more times than I can count. The “ancients” referred to the ancient Greek philosophers, poets, playwrights, etc. I don’t know if this is true in all Greek families, but in mine, ancient wisdom was standard fare.
One bit I remember my dad repeating (and he still has to remind me from time to time): Πάν μέτρον Άριστον. Everything in moderation. First he’d say it in Greek, then in English. It’s an important message, so it bears repeating! I’ve also seen the Greek phrase translate to “Moderation in all things.” The basic idea is the same: Maintain a sense of proportion in life. It’s a pretty excellent motto, really. (We could you some of that these days, yes?)
Getting to the implied question in my title (finally): When I first began reading The Odyssey, I shuttled between Robert Fitzgerald’s translation and Robert Fagles’. I couldn’t decide which I preferred and often found myself rereading chapters to figure it out. As you can imagine … time consuming! The Odyssey was becoming an odyssey. Know what I mean? Continue reading “Homer’s The Odyssey: How I chose which translation to read”