World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

On Translating Homer

Article Id: WHEBN0005829075
Reproduction Date:

Title: On Translating Homer  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Matthew Arnold, Dactylic hexameter, Homeric scholarship, Homeric Question, History of translation
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

On Translating Homer

Caricature from Punch, 1881: "Admit that Homer sometimes nods, That poets do write trash, Our Bard has written "Balder Dead," And also Balder-dash"

On Translating Homer, published in January 1861, was a printed version of the series of public lectures given by Matthew Arnold as Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 3 November 1860 to 18 December 1860.

Arnold's purpose was to discuss how his principles of literary criticism applied to the two Homeric epics and to the translation of a classical text. He comments with disapproval on John Ruskin's 1860 review article "The English translators of Homer" in the National Review. He gives much space to comparing and criticising already-published translations of the epics, notably

He adds polite comments on William Maginn's Homeric Ballads (which first appeared in Fraser's Magazine, where Arnold intended to publish these lectures).

Arnold identifies four essential qualities of Homer the poet to which the translator must do justice:
that he is eminently rapid; that he is eminently plain and direct both in the evolution of his thought and in the expression of it, that is, both in his syntax and in his words; that he is eminently plain and direct in the substance of his thought, that is, in his matter and ideas; and, finally, that he is eminently noble

After a discussion of the meters employed by previous translators, and in other existing English narrative poetry, he argues the need for a translation of the Iliad in hexameters in a poetical dialect, like the original. He notes the German translations of the Iliad and Odyssey into hexameters by Johann Heinrich Voss. He quotes English hexameter translations of short Homeric passages by himself and by E. C. Hawtrey and also surveys original English hexameter poetry, including

Arnold reserved much space for the criticism of the recently published translation of the Iliad into a ballad-like metre by F. W. Newman. Newman took offence at Arnold's public criticism of his translation, and published a reply, Homeric Translation in Theory and Practice. To this Arnold in turn responded, with a last lecture, given at Oxford on 30 November 1861, afterwards separately published in March 1862 under the title On Translating Homer: last words.

Bibliography

  • Matthew Arnold, On the classical tradition ed. R. H. Super. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1960. [Text with commentary.]
  • F. W. Newman, Homeric Translation in Theory and Practice: a reply to Matthew Arnold, Esq. London, 1861. (e-text from victorianprose.org)
  • Ichabod Charles Wright, A Letter to the Dean of Canterbury on the Homeric Lectures of Matthew Arnold. London, 1864.

External links

  • On Translating HomerMatthew Arnold, , e-text (PDF) from victorianprose.org
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.