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Aug 5, 2010, 11:11 am

I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good translation of "The Odes and Epodes." Thanks.

Aug 7, 2010, 9:49 am

Hmmmmm, I guess not.

Aug 7, 2010, 10:42 am

Honestly I'm not familiar enough with Horace to recommend a good translation the way that I can with Herodotus, Homer, Virgil, etc. I've read snippets here and there, but nothing substantial.

Aug 7, 2010, 2:14 pm

Thanks Feicht. I'll probably just snag the Loeb, you can't go wrong with them.

Edited: Aug 7, 2010, 3:50 pm

Yeah, the translations can be a bit... "archaic".... sometimes, but at least you have the original language, so maybe just grab a dictionary too ;-D

Edited: Aug 7, 2010, 9:22 pm

There are so many, you can really just go by the translation style you find most accessible. There's the Penguin Horace in English that features all the major and a lot of minor translators. Then you could go from there. Horace's Odes and Epodes are like all lyric poetry, somewhat resistant to translation, so everyone has their own ideas. I tend to like the seventeenth and eighteenth century translators, such as Dryden and Philip Francis, which puts me in a minority. Many translators do not do the whole collection, just some of their favorites, and including especially the Ars Poetica which is not really lyric.

Edited: Aug 8, 2010, 12:07 am

Pushkin translated Ode III.30 into Russian, with some adaptation for a northern readership. The fact that Pushkin's version has five stanzas instead of Horace's original four hints at a certain amount of embroidery. Vladimir Nabokov translated the translation into English. My favorite stanza:

"Throughout great Rus' my echoes will extend,
and all will name me, all tongues in her use:
the Slavs' proud heir, the Finn, the Kalmuk, friend
of steppes, the yet untamed Tanguz."

Ezra Pound's more literal version of the same lines of Horace:

"I shall be spoken where the wild flood Aufidus
Lashes, and Daunus ruled the parched farmland."

The current Loeb by Niall Rudd is a prose translation, helpful if you are battling your way through the Latin, but otherwise sort of a false impression. Of the standard contemporary versions, I prefer the Oxford World Classics by David West, which is pretty good, and not the Penguin by W. G. Sheperd which is prosy, viscous, and monotonous. I like the old Penguin Odes by James Michie but some don't.

Aug 8, 2010, 9:09 am

Thanks so much, Anthony. That is a lot of helpful information. Are the Dryden and Francis translations difficult to find? I suppose I'll check B&N and/or Amazon to see.

Aug 8, 2010, 10:32 am

Dryden didn't translate all the Odes, and I think his translations are usually found in collected editions of his poetry. The Francis translation was complete, and I think there were several editions of it, but it was a long time ago. You generally see his versions now in anthologies. I don't know if there are any reprint editions at a reasonable price. But look on the booksellers, including Abe or Alibris. A lot of good translators have translated Horace, but very few have translated him complete. Francis was the standard for the eighteenth century, Conington for the nineteenth.

Edited: Aug 8, 2010, 12:50 pm

I have two bilingual verse translations that are each interesting in their own way. One is The Odes of Horace translated by David Ferry. The other is Horace: The Odes edited by McClatchy, which is a collection of translations of individual verses by contemporary poets.

I don't read Latin, so I can't speak to how faithful they are to the original, but both are a pleasure to read in themselves.

(edited the typo on David Ferry's name)

Aug 8, 2010, 11:42 am

The McClatchy anthology is new to me. I just checked it out on Amazon, it looks really attractive. So I put it on my wishlist. The translators seem to be a who's who of American poets from the boomer generation. A lot of people like David Ferry's version. It doesn't grab me but it is accurate and straightforward. If you're looking for a facing-page version with a fairly literal but poetic translation, it's a better bet than Loeb IMO. But I like Ferry's version of Gilgamesh.

Aug 8, 2010, 12:07 pm

BTW Ferry's wife, the late Anne Ferry, was a fine writer on her own account, and a first-rate teacher. She published a number of works of literary history and criticism, such as Tradition and the Individual Poem: An Inquiry into Anthologies, on the effect of anthologization on poems and vice versa. She approached literature with a lot of common sense, something that was not to be taken for granted in late twentieth-century criticism.

Also BTW, investigation reveals that there are a number of reasonably priced editions of the Francis translations of Horace, some used, others Print on Demand. Abe Books has quite a few available, I didn't check anywhere else. I do like the ones I have read, but many people today do not feel comfortable with rhyme and meter and Augustan diction.

Edited: Aug 8, 2010, 12:17 pm

Aug 8, 2010, 10:20 pm

I think you all have given me a good enough reason to justify getting all of these translations!

Aug 9, 2010, 12:33 pm

Forge ahead!