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Willard Goodwin <[log in to unmask]>
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Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 23 Jan 1998 13:02:15 -0500
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And not yet mentioned of _Divine Comedy_ translations are Mark Musa's
(Indiana UP) and C.H. Sisson's (Carcanet New Press). Both of these, along
with Singleton and Mandelbaum, are treated by Hugh Kenner, in "Going To
Hell: Dante's English Muse," _Harper's_ (June 1981), pp. 69-71, and
collected in Kenner's _Historical Fictions_. Of _Metamorphoses_ I believe
there is a new translation by Ted Hughes. And a few years ago there
appeared an omnium gatherum of contemporary poets' translations of much of
_Metamorphoses_, called _After Ovid_.
--Will G.
>At 10:11 PM 1/22/98 -0600, you wrote:
>>Can someone recommend translations of the Paradiso and the Metamorphoses?
>There was a discussion of Dante translations on the TS Eliot list in late
>December. If you saw what I said there, don't re-read the Dante part of
>this; I just cut-and-pasted it for this query. Others may want to add or
>change what I toss out below, of course.
>For the Div Comm or Metamorphoses or any frequently translated text, the
>choices to be made really depend on what one is looking for, and one is
>after all free to use more than one translation for different purposes....
>Ciardi is poetic, and has the great advantage of being dedicated to
>Archibald MacLeish. (Couldn't resist the quip.) Those interested in the
>Italian version or annotations will (also or instead) have to turn
>elsewhere; there's no Italian text in Ciardi, and the annotations are quite
>Singleton's three-vol. version is in prose, but has Italian on facing pages,
>and fine, extensive annotations, as mentioned above. For people wanting a
>detailed sense of what Dante is getting at, which may be crucial for points
>of Eliot exegesis, Singleton might be the best, despite prosaic translation
>-- though prose in fact tends to permit a more literal version of the
>meanings of the original's words and phrases than verse, where meter and
>rhyme in English are large considerations.
>Mandelbaum (3 vol, paperback) is in verse, has Italian on facing pages, and
>tries to stick to the word-order of the Italian a lot, but the annotations
>are quite thin. I use it in class when I have to teach the DC every couple
>of years, because it's cheap, and has the Italian -- which I think is good
>to refer to in class from time to time, since Dante wrote it in Italian (I
>mean 14C florentine dialect), according to what I'm told. (Sorry, a second
>I have to mention John Sinclair's (3 vol, ppbk) version, since it was what I
>used the first time I read the DC all the way through in a first-year
>undergrad great-books course; it's in prose, with Italian text, and has some
>annotations and a prose discussion of each canto.
>Pinsky's translation has been out for maybe three years; it's in a slightly
>fudged modification of terza rima, but I haven't seen it yet, though I've
>seen it reviewed, which is even better. (Final quip; bad things come in
>threes -- Dante's triadically-obsessed spirit is obviosuly making me do
>this.) The reviews I've seen have been quite positive.
>Two nonrhymed verse translations I've seen a lot, both first published in
>the 1950's, are Rolfe Humphries, and Horace Gregory. Both have indexes.
>Humphries has blurbs by John Crowe Ransom and Mark van Doren; Gregory has
>blurbs by Robert Lowell and Robinson Jeffers. Duelling blurbs, apparently.
>Of course the Loeb Classical Library version has the Latin on facing pages
>if you find that useful and are not worried about pedestrian prose
>translation.... I have a couple more English versions, but they are at the
>office not at home....
>Greg Downing/NYU, at [log in to unmask] or [log in to unmask]