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Tradition, Translation, TraumaThe Classic and the Modern$
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Jan Parker and Timothy Mathews

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554591

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199554591.001.0001

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Translating a Paean of Praise

(p.29) Proemion
Tradition, Translation, Trauma

Frederick Ahl

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the author’s account of the challenges of translating works such as the Odyssey and the Aeneid. It argues that a translator’s first concern in translating a famous Classical poem is not loyalty to original wording, but conformity with the consensus interpretation. The second is to simplify or remove ‘unnecessary complexities’ — a duty interpreted broadly if poetry is, as some believe, over-elaborated prose that can be pruned without loss.

Keywords:   Aeneid, Odyssey, translation, epic poetry, translators

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