Where I have failed to appreciate some of the most enduringly esteemed works of literature, it has often been due to falling flat on my face in terms of the translation I happened to pick up.  I’ve learned not to dismiss a work I read in translation if it has been widely regarded for many centuries as being wonderful, yet leaves me bewildered or bored.  Translation is transmission and, like power lines, a lot can get lost en route from a language you don’t know to one you do.

‘The first rule is that the versions have to live, to hold the reader, as contemporary poems, not museum pieces.’

Source: Harry Eyres, Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), p. xi


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