EPOUND-L Archives

- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Fri, 3 Aug 2001 20:15:02 -0500
text/plain (44 lines)
charles moyer wrote:
>     Hahem, did Pound know a little Latin and less Greek himself? Not to
> unstuff any Popinjays.
> Charles Moyer

I remember a coffee-shop conversation with Frank Copley of the
University of Michigan over 40 years ago. His comment on Canto I was
that Pound Out-Homered Homer. And Copley certainly could read the Greek.

Re translations vs originals. The advantage of the reader of the
original is thinner in relationship to Homer than (say) to Goethe or an
18th century Japanese novel. In the latter two cases the process of
learning the language is also a deep exploration into the whole social
and cultural context of the original. But when one reads Homer, when one
masters the language in which the poems are composed, the context one
absorbs is -- Homer, period. The gap between Homer and and Aeschylus or
Plato is in some ways more absolute than the gap between them and us.
Try to imagine, in the world of the Odyssey, one of the participants in
a banquet suddenly saying, "What does it mean to be a King?" "What makes
a just King?" "What is your definition of Justice?" We and Plato share a
world that is utterly foreign to Homer.

One does not write scholarly articles breaking new ground in Homer
without knowing the language, but I would think that even bad
translations of Homer might fit into

  And they want to know what we talked about?
        "_de litteris et de armis, praestantibusque ingeniis,_
  Both of ancient times and our own; books, arms,
  And men of unusual genius,
  Both of ancient times and our own, in short the usual subjects
  Of conversation between intelligent men."
                        Canto XI

Bentley to Pope: "A pretty poem, Mr. Pope, but it is not Homer."

One could reverse it: "It is not Homer, Mr. Pope, but it is a wonderful