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The Odes of Horace by Horace

The Odes of Horace

by Horace

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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661421,686 (4.1)11



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Showing 4 of 4
Interesting to read such free, modern translations of such old, classic texts. Much of the metaphors and symbolism discussed in catalan translation was lost in English.
  KymmAC | Oct 23, 2011 |
I bought this book as a guilty pleasure, to read contemporary poets referencing Diana and the Styx, and sometimes even writing in rhyme. I expected Robert Bly and W.S. Merwin's translations to be good and enjoyed them, but was pleasantly surprised by most of the others. Heather McHugh's translations were my favorite. Her version of 1.11 was worth the price of the whole book for me.
  agriffina | Jan 9, 2009 |
The odes get 5 stars, Charlton Griffin's reading 2 stars. ( )
  dirkjohnson | Aug 6, 2008 |
I thought of Horace as booorrriiinngg. But this translation moves and shines. I then looked at some old translations and they seemed mired and weighed down in poetic conventions of the 18th century with most meaning and association hidden away. This translation conveys a urban world of trysts, broken hearts, people skillfully drawn with a few words or actions or references that make them as alive as the guy next door, and an endless array of relationships all against the magical background of Rome's bright nature full of gods and spirits and green beauty. ( )
  chichikov | Jun 12, 2008 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (61 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Horaceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Frank, ElizabethIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michie, JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, RexIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my brother Donald
(the James Michie translation)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374224250, Hardcover)

David Ferry's The Odes of Horace represents the first truly distinguished translation of the complete odes into the American idiom. The translator has managed to retain the poet's moral tone while purging any taint of sententiousness. How? By recasting the structure of "Carpe Diem," for example, he gives this familiar poem a power one would have not thought possible. Ferry even manages a Latin-English rhyme at the end, by shifting the position of the addressee's name: "Leuconoe-- / Hold on to the day."

Ferry's Horace is always a specific personality, with his own identity, background, and attitude. Yet he is also a conduit of history. Turning to "Delicta maiorum immeritus lues..." (which Ferry straightforwardly calls "To the Romans"), we are plunged into a devastating meditation on the imperium. At this point, of course, it's commonplace to point out similarities between the American empire and that of ancient Rome. But this translation gives us a feeling for just how contemporary Horace really is. The best example would probably be "To Dellius":

Dellius, don't be
Too unrestrainedly joyful in good fortune.
You are going to die.

It doesn't matter at all whether you spend
Your days and nights in sorrow,
Or, on the other hand, in holiday pleasure.
Drinking Falernian wine

Of an excellent vintage year, on the river bank.

It helps to know that the historical Dellius was exiled in Egypt at the time, making those Italian vintages strictly off-limits to him. What's more, he was a double or perhaps triple agent, which gives him an additional Cold War coloration. In any case, the allusiveness of the odes--and the taut, bone-dry English of Ferry's translation--should gain Horace a legion or so of new readers. --Mark Rudman

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:32 -0400)

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