My translation of Homer. Iliad, Book II, “The Catalogue of Ships”, Lines 546-580 in Modern English: Click to ENLARGE
Compare my translation in twenty-first century English with that of A.T. Murray 90 years ago (1924): Click to ENLARGE:
and you can instantly see the glaring discrepancies in the English of these two completely alien translations. Murray's translation from 1924 sounds uncannily like something Alexander Pope might have dryly penned in the eighteenth century! There really was no excuse for this, even in 1924, when people spoke an English very little removed from that we speak today. We can be pretty sure that the poor school children who were obliged to read the Iliad and Odyssey in that translation would probably not want to have anything more to do with either masterpiece for the rest of their lives. And who could have blamed them? But the Georgian mores of that era, still grudgingly hanging on in spite of the roaring twenties, prevailed, and to this day, far too many readers, young and old alike, end up in the ghastly grips of translations such as that one. God forbid! The most galling thing about it all is that The Perseus Digital Library
should know better. They have such a wealth of choice from modern translations, which they could easily have availed themselves of.
In the next post, we will be recommending some quality twenty-first century translations of the Iliad.
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