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The Aeneid (thoughts)

July 21, 2010

Yep, it’s Wednesday and I’m not doing a Library Loot post. I’ve decided to step down as co-host, which means I can post on whichever day of the week I choose! And since I need to get to the library today, the logistics of recording a vlog mean I’ll be posting tomorrow instead. If you’re interested in becoming the new co-host, Marg tells you everything you need to know.

Sometimes this whole book blogging business cracks me up. Like, this morning I will share with you what I think of Virgil…which could paralyse me if I examine that too closely (hence, why I never got around to doing a post on War and Peace despite my love for it). I did study Latin in high school, but I’ve only read excerpts of The Aeneid in the original, and that was so many years now that all I can really remember is strongly preferring Ovid. No, I couldn’t tell you why. The good thing is, I remembered enough of the context of The Aeneid and what Virgil was trying to accomplish (linking Roman civilisation to Greek, etc.) that I didn’t feel guilty skipping the introduction! On a sidenote, I never read the introduction to a classic book until after I’ve read the original text…that way, I don’t have to worry about spoiler-ific scholarly analysis. Anyway, I settled on the Robert Fagles translation, because I firmly believe that ancient classics should have the same ‘feel’ for us as they did for their original audience, so I like my translators to be willing to use modern English if that’s what it takes to get the original tone across. I could ramble on about my views on translation for a whole post, though, so let’s get to The Aeneid before my tea cools down!

I was a bit nervous going in, because any kind of poetry does that to me…I know it’s irrational to feel discomfited by line breaks, but there you go. However, within a couple of pages I decided to read it as if there were no line breaks, and a couple of pages after that I was too caught up in the story to care about anything but the characters and their trials! The first half of the book is a series of adventures as Aeneis and his men make their way from Troy to Italy (where they’re destined to found Rome). Virgil is a master of descriptive writing, and every passage seemed to spring to life before my eyes. And I loved his similes: he’s not afraid to take the space to really flesh them out. :) Here’s a taste from the first book (I’ve removed the line breaks, in case they cause anyone else’s brain to automatically begin to glaze over), featuring Neptune dealing with a storm at sea:

Quicker than his command he calms the heaving seas, putting the clouds to rout and bringing back the sun. Struggling shoulder-to-shoulder, Triton and Cymothoe hoist and heave the ships from teh jagged rocks as the god himself whisks them up with his trident, clearning a channel through the deadly reefs, his chariot skimming over the cresting waves on spinning wheels to set the seas to rest. Just as, all too often, some huge crowd is seized by a vast uprising, the rabble runs amok, all slaves to passion, rocks, firebrands flying. Rage finds them arms but then, if they chance to see a man among them, one whose devotion and public service lend him weight, they stand there, stock-still with their ears alert as he rules their furor with his words and calms their passion. So the crash of the breakers all fell silent once their Father, gazing over his realm under clear skies, flicks his horses, giving them free rein, and his eager chariot flies.

Don’t you love it when a god takes care of that pesky weather? ;) And here’s one more scene, from book five with the self-explanatory title Funeral Games for Anchises, which describes a horse race:

So complex the labyrinth once in hilly Crete, they say, where the passage wove between blind walls and wavered on in numberless cunning paths that broke down every clue, with nothing to trace and no way back-a baffling maze. Complex as the course the sons of Troy now follow, weaving their way through mock escapes and clashes in all sport as swiftly as frisky dolphins skim the rolling surf, cleaving the Libyan or Carpathian seas in play.

See what I mean about the similes?! Virgil’s writing is so magnificent, pulsing with life and breath, I could quote half of The Aeneid to you in sheer delight. But I shall restrain myself, and instead recommend you get ahold of a copy of Fagles’ translation!

So, in addition to that writing and all of those arresting scenes, I adored the characters of The Aenied! Aeneas, of course, is a noble hero, and his men are strong and brave, but they weren’t my favourites. Nope, those fell into two categories: the gods (I literally squealed aloud every time a god appeared) and the strong women Aeneas meets along the way. After all…heroic men in the classical age? A dime a dozen. But heroic women, who steal the show and thrill the reader? Those are a much more precious thing. ;) Now, I adored Camilla the Amazon warrior and the Sibyl, Aeneas’ guide in the underworld in what was probably my favourite overall book (the sixth entitled The Kingdom of the Dead), but my very favourite woman was Dido. She appears early on, a strong and just queen beloved of her people. Unfortunately, Venus and Cupid create a deep love in her for Aeneas, one with tragic consequences (note: the tragedy is foretold from the moment Dido appears in the story, but if you don’t know how the tragic formula plays out, the end of this paragraph will be spoiler-y). But before that, and after she’s listened to his recital of the fall of Rome, she’s shown as such a good ruler, politically savvy (pre-Cupid’s fatal arrow) and second to no one. Her majesty is apparent in scenes like this:

At least she comes, with a great retinue round the queen who wears a Tyrian cloak with rich embroidered fringe. Her quiver is gold, her hair drawn up in a golden torque and a golden buckle clasps her purple robes in folds.

And she has a close relationship with her sister! Even in her tragedy, she’s magnificent in possibly the best death scene I’ve ever read:

But now the queen, as soon as the pyre was built beneath the open sky, towering up with pitch-pine and cut logs of oak-deep in the heart of her house-she drapes the court with flowers, crowning the place with wreaths of death, and to top it off she lays his arms and the sword he left and an effigy of Aeneas, all on the bed they’d shared, for well she knows the future. Altars ring the pyre. Hair loose in the wind, the priestess thunders out the names of her three hundred gods, Erebus, Chaos, and the triple Hecate, Diana the three-faced virgin. She’d sprinkled water, simluating the springs of hell, and gathered potent herbs, reaped with bronze sickles under the moonlight, dripping their milky black poison, and fetched a love-charm ripped from a foal’s brow, just born, before the mother could gnaw it off. And Dido herself, standing before the altar, holding the sacred grain reverent hands-with one foot free of its sandal, robes unbound-sworn now to die, she calls on the gods to witness, calls on the stars who know her approaching fate.

It goes on for seven more delicious pages. And then, as if that’s not enough, she appears briefly again in the Kingdom of the Dead! And let me tell you, she’s not amused by Aeneas’ excuses. ;) She’s totally one of my new favourite characters ever, and I kind of want to have a pet just so I can name her Dido.

As for the gods…well, as someone who adores magical realism and the weaving of everyday stories with mythology (a la Neil Gaiman), it was a pleasure to get back to the roots. Juno and Venus are the stars, but Jove makes a fair amount of appearances too, and Diana and Neptune and several of the more minor deities also turn up. Great fun!

Oh dear: WordPress tells me I’m at 1,400 words, and I feel I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface. But I hope I’ve given you a bit of inspiration to give The Aeneid a go. It simply bowled me over as a reader, in the best sense of the term. And it’s not too long (less than 400 pages), with well-spaced divisions that make it even more of a pleasure. The Penguin Classics edition, with the Robert Fagles translation, is lovely: in addition to the introduction and translator’s postscript, there’s several helpful additions: maps, a pronunciation glossary, family trees, specific notes on the translation, and a list of suggested further reading. As for me, I think it’s about time I revisited The Odyssey and I’m sure you can guess which translator I’ll be availing myself of. ;) Fagles has earned a place in my mental list of ‘rock star translators,’ and I can now happily say that I’ve developed quite the literary crush on Virgil, even if it is a couple millenia too late.

I originally got this from the library to participate in the book club over at Literary Transgressions (now I’m about a month late to the party!), but I’m also counting it for the Clover, Bee, and Reverie Poetry Challenge. Which I am woefully behind on…primarily due to the aforementioned line-break mental block. I shall conquer this, I shall! ;)

Do you have a favourite classical translator?

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58 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 7:22 am

    I’ve never thought much about translators and their impact on literature until recently when I happened upon a discussion of translated Russian literature, so I’m more aware of the issues now and happy to see people post about it. I’ve been meaning to read classical Greek and Roman literature for ages but they scare me a little. So it’s good to know that they can still be enjoyed as opposed to studied and I will keep my eye out for Robert Fagles when I finally get round to reading them:)

    • July 22, 2010 9:55 am

      Definitely go for Fable; he’s very accessible. :) I’m a bit of a language nerd, so I always try to research the translations available before I decide, but with a lot of modern lit there’s only one choice anyway.

  2. July 21, 2010 7:25 am

    My favourite Virgil translation is Cecil Day Lewis’ Georgics. Beautiful. Also I’d recommend Ted Hughes’ [semi-]translations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The Poets Laureate seem to like the classics.

    • July 22, 2010 9:56 am

      Oh: thanks for the recs! I loved all of the bits of Metamorphoses I read in high school in the Latin, but I think it’d be really neat to reread them with a poet translating into English. Because, really, what do 15 year olds know about good translations? ;)

  3. July 21, 2010 8:47 am

    I also get really discomfited by line breaks! There are few poets I really enjoy, so much of these ancient classics are really intimidating to me. I do have a copy of Fagle’s The Odyssey, which I do want to read, but I think there’s some back reading I should do before hand… Sadly, I don’t remember nearly enough from the Classical Mythology course I took in university!

    • July 22, 2010 9:57 am

      I’m glad I’m not alone w/ my line break issue! I was obsessed w/ Greek mythology from when I was little, so at this point I think it’d be impossible for me to forget anything. lol Whereas my knowledge of Norse mythology is mainly gleaned by reading Gaiman and Byatt…I really should try to find a good introduction.

  4. July 21, 2010 8:52 am

    The Aeneid was very difficult for me to love, simply because there is very few points in the narrative hwere I felt like I agreed with what was being taught – and the whole poem is pretty didactic, it definitely comes across to me as a book that is meant to teach one how to live. The milatirsm and misogyny were particularly challenging, and on a personal level, the overarching theme of piety as the cardinal virtue by which to live one’s life. But as poetry, it is lovely, and the story… well, it feels like it MEANS to be honest, so often, and just can’t quite manage it. In retrospect, it feels the way that film critics talk about ‘A Triumph of Will’ – the mastery of the book is important intoxicating, and it is very much stuck in a value system that demeans basic human dignity in ways that make me uncomfortable. This isn’t to say that I think Virgil was some evil troll turning the world to the wrong path – I understand his values are an artifact of the times. Academically, I can appreciate that. But he was such a lovely writer, that it feels too personal, it’s too hard to ignore the shameful things.

    • July 21, 2010 1:15 pm

      I read the Aeneid only recently and was much turned off by the violence and the concept that “piety” requires splitting other people’s heads open. Also, I thought it was two poems. The first half was the Odysseus, but with a future Roman instead of a Greek traveler. The second half was the Iliad, with the many scenes of combat.

  5. July 21, 2010 9:48 am

    Okay, I’ll just be honest–I’m way to wimpy to even attempt this. But that being said, you really did tempt me…seriously, this review was just a delight to read! :D

    • July 22, 2010 9:59 am

      Thanks Debi! Have you read Stephen Mitchell’s translation of Gilgamesh? It’s a lot shorter, but The Aeneid definitely reminded me of it…and Gilgamesh doesn’t have the battle bits. (Which is a plus in my book!)

  6. July 21, 2010 10:46 am

    You make this book sound incredible, but I’m still scared of it, I have to admit :)

    • July 22, 2010 10:01 am

      I completely get that…I feel that way about some of the books other bloggers review! lol But if you do decide to give it a try, let me know how it goes. :)

  7. July 21, 2010 11:30 am

    I have a HUGE translator-crush on Anne Carson, who translated Sappho’s poem fragments and released them as If Not, Winter, which is probably my favorite poetry volume of all time. She also translated Euripides as well as publishing her own poetry, including the AMAZINGLY packaged Nox, a eulogy for her brother that I own but have not gotten around to reading yet. I kind of want to marry her, heh.

    But I like Robert Fagles, too! I re-read his Odyssey not too long ago, and quite liked it, although Homer & Virgil will ever be hugely high up on my list of favorite poetry…I think my appreciation of poetry tends to have a lot to do with the meter and the texture of the pauses between words/phrases, and I find both of them kind of plodding from that perspective. As far as epic poetry goes, I liked Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf, but I tend to prefer slightly more modern stuff.

    • July 22, 2010 10:02 am

      I actually had If Not, Winter out from the library earlier this year, but my Fear of Poetry resulted me in just staring it and not actually opening it. But now I’m definitely going to get it again and read it!

      I can completely understand why Virgil & Homer aren’t your favourites if you’re more into meter…I’m not that ‘good’ at reading poetry, so I tend to read more for the imagery than the pauses. :) I really want to give Heaney’s Beowulf a try soon!

  8. She permalink
    July 21, 2010 11:49 am

    Oh, dear. The Aeneid. I had to translate it for my Latin 202 class, and boy oh boy was it fun! haha. I think I need to read it in already translated form. While it was awesome to translate and see how absolutely awesome Vergil is, I think I would enjoy it more if I did have to flip through my dictionary every coupla words. ;p

    • July 22, 2010 10:03 am

      LOL I think having to translate it in my Latin class in high school is why I avoided it for so long! It’s MUCH more fun already translated. ;)

  9. July 21, 2010 12:25 pm

    I did Ancient Civs in year 11 and first year uni, and at uni I read The Aeneid. I never got to finish it but I really enjoyed it. I hadn’t got far with the Odyssey (you remember what uni’s like: you read what you need for two essays and an exam and skip the rest!) but I found this one much easier to get into, and dare I say it, a fun story! I can’t remember much about the story, though I do remember I dropped my paperback in the bath and it was swollen after that!

    I’m on the lookout for a good copy so I can read it again (and finally finish it!). I had a wonderful collection of Ancient Civs books – Euripides etc. – but I leant them all to my ex-boyfriend’s brother when he was in first year … last time I saw them! (I’m really annoyed about that actually!)

    • July 22, 2010 10:04 am

      I think the first half is better than the second, so you didn’t miss much except a whole bunch of battles! ;)

      I retain my annoyances at people I know who’ve kept books I leant them too. Now I just never lend out books…I’ll give them away, but not lend them!

      • July 22, 2010 10:57 am

        Me too. I’d rather buy another copy and gift it than lend my own!! My mother-in-law wants to borrow one of my books, and I’m going with the “I keep forgetting” method rather than saying I don’t trust her not to a)damange the book (they tend to break the spines – I see it at the cottage) or b) lose it. ;)

  10. July 21, 2010 1:18 pm

    Thank you for your thoughtful review of the Aeneid. You touch on some of the issues that concerned me. Also, I think you had a better translator than the one I used. My translation was workmanlike but not really poetic.

    I had a great deal of trouble with the violence — or rather, with the glorification of the violence. All for a good cause so that Rome can be founded. It was self justifying, but there are other views. We discussed it in my book group, and here is my report: http://silverseason.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/virgils-aeneid/.

    • July 22, 2010 10:28 am

      Thank you for the link! You know, in this review I only had ‘space’ to talk about the first part. The second part, with all of the violence, definitely troubled me, and I’m trying to decide whether I should just go into that here in the comments (up above under Jason’s comment) or do a follow-up post. I’ll decide soon! :)

  11. July 21, 2010 2:23 pm

    While you were away I started screaming about Fagles’s Odyssey all over the place. I love him so much; he is by far my favorite translator of teh classics now. I can’t wait to get home and read his other stuff–but I’m going to save the Aeneid for last.

    P.S. I know the exact thing you are talking about in the underworld, and it was my favorite thing that ever happened in the whole poem. :D

    • July 22, 2010 10:15 am

      Makes sense to save Aeneid for last! :) And yes: didn’t that part rock?!

  12. July 21, 2010 3:36 pm

    I think I’m still scared of this, even though you have definitely made it sound awesome. I’m just not good with poetry, much as I think I’d appreciate the understanding of literature that reading the classical epics would grant me. I don’t know if I could manage the whole thing.

    Fantastic review, though, Eva! You make me think I might consider this, which I never would have before. And I would also like to express my delight that you’re back to blogging about; I’m thrilled to see you back. =)

    • July 22, 2010 10:15 am

      I’m not good with poetry either…I had to pretend I was reading a novel! lol Thanks so much for the compliments; I’m thrilled to be back. :)

  13. July 21, 2010 3:38 pm

    I love true classics like this, and it’s wonderful to see someone else still reads them! :) And I never read the introductions first either – academic analyses really do contain way too many spoilers.

    • July 22, 2010 10:16 am

      I think publishers should just start publishing the ‘introductions’ in the back of the book! lol

  14. July 21, 2010 3:49 pm

    I read the Aeneid in college and I remember having to work very very hard at it, and I’d like to believe it was because it was a lousy translation, but who knows. I didn’t have nearly as much of a problem with The Iliad, and I know the translation we were using for that one wasn’t the greatest. Hopefully I’ll find time to give it a try the Aeneid again someday.

    • July 22, 2010 10:16 am

      I bet it was the translation’s fault. ;) I wasn’t a huge fan of the Iliad, though, so maybe we just have opposite tastes!

  15. July 21, 2010 7:36 pm

    I’m not a poetry person myself, but last year when I read The Odyssey—also in the Fagles translation, which seemed great, not that I know anything—I had basically the same experience as you. So I think I need to revise my mental image of myself as being, in fact, okay with epic poetry at least.

    • July 22, 2010 10:17 am

      I think epic poetry is easier for me because it’s a lot more similar to novels than other poetry, so I know more of what to do with it. :)

  16. July 21, 2010 8:02 pm

    I adore Fagles. I have his translations of the three major Greek works (Odyssey, Iliad, and Aeneid), and while I have read the last two, his translation of the Odyssey is simply amazing. He captures the essence of the bard reciting the poem perfectly. It gets me every time, especially the opening stanza!

    I actually just purchased this edition but haven’t gotten around to it. I think I need to bump it up on my list!

    • July 22, 2010 10:19 am

      I love the Odyssey, so I can’t wait to see what he does with it!

      It’s interesting to me to look at how Virgil ‘borrowed’ Homer’s characters and did something so new with them….I loved seeing how the two played off each other, whereas in the present-day I remain skeptical of modern authors who use characters from classics. lol I think for me it comes down to the writing…Virgil was an incredible writer, so if a modern author has the writing chops to pull it off, good for them. But so many of the Austen ‘sequels’ seem to be mediocre writers using Austen’s popularity as a crutch.

      • July 22, 2010 3:50 pm

        Oh I completely agree on the Austen thing. If you can’t do something that lives up to the original (or, somehow, beats it) than don’t do it. All of the Austen inspired novels seem to take away the magic and beauty of what she created, and in some cases, make her novels seem less grand than they are.

      • July 24, 2010 9:05 am

        Yep! They make me angry. ;)

  17. July 22, 2010 12:09 am

    I just finished this tonight! Love the language and the poetry. I agree, Fagles is fantastic! I just read his translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey as well, and they were awesome, especially The Odyssey.

    Unlike you, though, I quite resented the meddling of the gods. Particulary Juno, she irked me, grr. (Now you know which side I’m on.)

    • July 22, 2010 10:22 am

      That’s so neat we were reading it at the same time! :)

      I think I approached it as being as much a story of the gods as I did a story of the humans, which I suppose is why I didn’t see it as ‘meddling’. It’s fun how we all read the same story differently!

      Juno did behave pretty badly…I just enjoyed seeing her do it. Probably because my fibro puts me at the whim of fate/destiny, I love stories that see humans’ lives as a result of ‘chance’ (or vengeful gods) as much as their own agency. It’s a nice break for me from the whole ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mentality.

  18. July 22, 2010 6:08 am

    Great review! I love Fagle’s translation. I’m about to read Anna Karenina and I find it so hard to settle on which translator – I want to get the full package, not just someone else’s version. I’m a big fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and generally read his books translated by Gregory Rabassa. Marquez speaks English but doesn’t write in English, and once said Rabassa writes his books better in English than Marquez could ever dream of… I’d call that highest praise for a translator possible. And he’s right; Rabassa’s work is wonderful!

    • July 22, 2010 10:24 am

      Pevear & Volokhonky! As someone who’s read chunks of AK in the original and both the P&V and Garnett version, I can wholeheartedly recommend P&V. You’ll be getting the full package; I promise. :)

      I love Marquez too; it’s good to know he approves of his translator so much!

  19. kimberlyloomis permalink
    July 22, 2010 7:01 am

    Wow. This has been languishing on my TBR list for a very long time and your review makes me want to run out and snatch this up from my library immediately. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful post about this work.

    • July 22, 2010 10:26 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Kimberly! Thanks for leaving a comment. :)

  20. July 22, 2010 10:36 am

    I do love Fagles, but I think I’m one of maybe five people in the world who is willing to say that I like both Fagles and Lattimore. Now, my Latin isn’t nearly good enough to say which is “better” (though all the stodgy Latin purists seem to prefer Lattimore). But I just enjoy both English translations. Fagles is sort of wild and colorful, but Lattimore has his own beauty — a sort of very stark beauty, that reminds me of a cold seashore. Lattimore translates Homer like he’s carving hard rock into something that’s understated and striking; Fagles translates like he’s painting some fantastic watercolor. It’s possible to get a little bored with Lattimore and a little lost with Fagles — plenty of people I know, intelligent ones too, *had* to read Fagles’s Odyssey in conjunction with cheat sheets!

    Fabulous review, you’ve got me all excited over this stuff again.

    • July 24, 2010 9:06 am

      Thanks! I haven’t read Lattimore, so I can’t compare the two, but I like how you’ve described them. :)

  21. July 22, 2010 10:54 am

    I loved this one back in my undergraduate days and I’ve been meaning to reread it for several years. Been looking for a good translation. I look into the Fagles.

  22. Maeve permalink
    July 23, 2010 5:37 am

    Enjoyed the post on The Aeneid: At school – quite a few years ago – we had to work on part of Book 12, knowing little of what happened in the previous 11. Lovers of Latin poetry appear to esteem Virgil above all so I am refreshing my memory, searching for a copy of Kennedy’s Latin Primer. I have Harry Mount’s ‘Amo Amas…How to be a Latin lover’ which is good fun and not unhelpful. I am interested in the various views on Fagles vs Lattimore as I have to replace my ancient Penguin Classic.

    I recently read Ursula le Guin’s ‘Lavinia’ and liked it very much. It’s the story of the princess of Latium whose mother wants her to marry Turnus, but visions have told Lavinia to wait for a man who comes from afar and who turns out to be Aeneas. It is touching and poetic.

    • July 24, 2010 9:07 am

      We worked on our translations in general isolation too! What a weird approach. :) I just saw something about Lavinia the other day, so I’m glad to hear good things about it!

      • Maeve permalink
        July 27, 2010 7:19 am

        Last week I mentioned Ursula le Guin’s ‘Lavinia’ which I think will appeal to the Latin lovers who contribute to this lovely site.

        For Eva: DON’T MISS ‘Ransom’ by the Australian novelist David Malouf. It was published last year and tells the story of the section towards the end of the Iliad where King Priam goes to Achilles to beg for the return of Hector’s body. It is wonderful. Malouf taught Latin and was a poet before he turned to prize-winning novels.

      • July 28, 2010 10:06 am

        Thanks for the Malouf suggestion! I read a different novel of his a couple years ago, and it really impressed me. So this one sounds great!

  23. July 23, 2010 7:49 am

    It’s been a few years since I’ve read this. I ended up taking a Greek Lit course for the hell of it during University; I figured, if I have to learn Old English and Middle English, let’s just go for broke and do Greek Lit too. I’m glad I did, because it was a very enjoyable course. It helped that the professor was very quirky and enthusiastic about the material (and had some strange, distant connection to J.K. Rowling, which was kinda fun). I expected the class to be intimidating but it was really interesting and the material was very accessible.

    From what I remember of Dido, I absolutely loved her character. There’s something about the name, too. It’s perfect.

    • July 24, 2010 9:09 am

      It’s interesting to me that you read The Aeneid in a Greek lit class! lol But I’m glad you had a fun prof. :)

  24. July 23, 2010 11:31 am

    I didn’t read all your post because I haven’t read this yet. I loved The Iliad and I really have been meaning to give Aeneid a read. I was debating between Fitzgerald and Fagles. I read Fagles for both of the Homer epics and loved it but have heard criticisms of the Aeneid in terms of accuracy….but I guess I’m not too concerned about accuracy so we’ll have to see.

    • July 24, 2010 9:10 am

      He has quite a bit of notes on his translation at the end…I guess I see him as a Princeton prof, so how ‘inaccurate’ could it be?! lol

  25. July 23, 2010 7:09 pm

    Oh man, I NEED your translation! Mine was a bit dry (both the prose and poetry versions), which serves me right for getting the budget editions. All the quotes are absolutely beautiful.

    • July 24, 2010 9:11 am

      That’s such a shame! I got mine from the library, and I’m glad they had a few options for me. :)

      • July 25, 2010 5:14 pm

        Good call! I moved recently so I’m still unsteady on my library feet in the new part of town, but this should teach me to be more library-adventurous. :)

  26. Kathleen permalink
    July 24, 2010 11:59 am

    I read parts of this one with my son last year since he was reading it for his summer reading for school and we were doing a bit of a mom/son bookclub. I must confess that he and I did not enjoy it. Maybe it was the translation or our mood or something but it just didn’t resonate with us and we never really got into the story. After reading your thoughts I do want to give it another try. I think having the right translation could really make all the difference.

    • July 28, 2010 10:05 am

      I think the translation makes all the difference!

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