But Hyatt never affected youthfulness.
Age- less himself, he was well aware of that deliberate, prepossessing immaturity that taints so much American life and art. I recall his scanning the work of a young artist who had greed- ily assimilated the more salable styles of a half-dozen School of Paris painters. Naturally the boy had been recommended as a genius by a generous patron of the Print Room.
He's a real genius for pleasing older men. He graduated with honors in modern languages from Princeton in and promptly began teaching art history at Vassar. In he was a student at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, inspecting sites and digs, ancient and Byzantine, all over Greece. In he was a Rhodes 14 A.
In he lectured under Richard Boleslavsky at the American Laboratory Theater, where he performed mi- nor roles efficiently. In he joined the staff of the Metro- politan Museum as protege of William M. In he succeeded Ivins as curator of the Print Room. He felt then that he had entered something approaching a monastery — at least philosophically — and even viewed it with some regret.
A stoic schedule precluded much free activity ex- cept with his mind. Though he was a sturdy swimmer, a prom- ising actor, a possible poet or novelist, he turned to the Mu- seum's collections; their augmentation and exposition became his field of daring. He retired, if one can so call it, in , but retained his cubicle in the stacks, where he was encouraged to do much of his best writing. Unshackled from administration, he was constantly sought after by the organizers of world tours on which he acted as winning docent, having prepared guide- book chalk talks based on Homer and Herodotus.
From , for a quarter of a century, he served as president of the Hispanic Society and superintended refurbishing a great, often unvisited collection of Iberian art. From he was an adjunct professor of art at New York University. He died in Manhattan on Feb- ruary 28, Hyatt had been too young for the First World War; too old for the Second. He came of age in our era's second decade, lucky enough to have touched at first hand in Princeton, Athens, Florence, and Oxford the grand Victorian and Edwardian in- tellectual powers that were then still vocal.
Christian Gauss of Princeton gave him the polymath attitude that was also im- parted to Edmund Wilson, who, like Hyatt, handled a hungry intelligence with flexible, omniverous mastery over much dis- parate material. Hyatt possessed no less energy or discipline in languages or ideas, but, unlike Wilson, he found the visible world the most adamant. He never saw himself as a professional art historian, and, while he received tolerant, amused, even ad- Introduction miring attention from more famous members in the field, he gloried in his role as expert amateur.
He considered "art" an idiosyncratic drama or sport — an aspect of potentially divine theater, in which he cast himself as prompter, member of a band of comediens. Classical actors are not clowns, but by the assump- tion of masks, interpret notions satiric, tragic, or lyric.
Yet if I look with one eye or take a pho- 4. It is shameful that we should have no acting translation of Translation 41 any Greek dramatist, none plain and bold enough to declaim through a mask on an afternoon out of doors. Illustration by hand, moreover, was too slow and costly to help the early pam- phleteers. It was not only that he was a rigorously trained classical scholar, that Greek and Latin were familiar vocabularies, but that Attic or Roman brevity and ehsion shaped his own rhetoric. After the basic machinery of the photographic camera had lain unassembled for centuries, it was finally put together by a Venetian diplomat and writer on architecture, Daniele Barbaro, who in printed the first description of a camera obscura with lens. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. Virginia and I saw "Swan Lake" on Sunday.
Ray- mond Chandler, master of Philip Marlowe, a "popular" detec- tive and once a pupil of Dulwich, London's "College of God's Gift," wrote that a "classical education saves you from being fooled by pretentiousness. It was no accident that Hyatt built up monumental col- lections of basic materials by which genuine taste is formed and without which art history has few tools. The Met's Print Room has one of the half-dozen greatest accumulations of graphic treasure, inaugurated by William Ivins, quadrupled by Hyatt Mayor.
These include treatises and prints on anatomy and per- spective as well as fete books, trade cards, children's books, and such ephemera as valentines. Hyatt secured the legitimate category for photography, collecting Julia Margaret Cameron long before trendier enthusiasts did. In a sense, to him all art was "modern," since he understood its place at its inception and its chance accumulation of subsequent reputations. For Hyatt the past could not die; he knew it was an endless procession, part ceremonial, part circus parade. He could worry the greedy or half-instructed with cool verdicts on questionable trouvailles ; when he was brought one more Tiepelesque sketch, one more Impressionist blur, one more fake Rodin watercolor, he could smile: One particular entrepreneur had a cellar full of the kind of treasure — priced preposterously — he knew Hyatt would want to buy.
Hyatt waited a decade for death to do his work. It is Hyatt's personal vision through a lens that was both opera glass and microscope. Most of the writing he pro- duced fulfilled the needs of a current exhibition, or described a recent haul, or drew attention to something neglected or un- familiar.
One looks in vain for a single page of self-indulgent appreciation to betray an "exquisite sensibility" — solipsism at its most expendable. I vividly recall a conversation with Hyatt in , in which he described his experience of Greece, which ran quite counter to my own cliches of received ideas from black-and-white pho- tographs and famous rhetoric.
The Parthenon was not white- plaster marble, but honey colored from iron in its stone. Once he had seen it along the length of the porch after heavy rain, with corrective entasis in all its curves. He had passed Sunium by sea, at night. The few standing columns were almost invisi- ble, since, in shadow, they had assumed the identical value of sky, until only a thin line at their edge, hit by moonlight, pen- ciled them as he passed.
Part of the pediment, centuries ago, had rolled down the cliff; drums from broken columns had long been used as galley-ballast ; what were left lay still for the Aegean to lap. Hyatt was present at the uncovering of a tomb whose in- terior walls had been painted, possibly by Polygnotus; when he went back six months later, this had been let powder away. So he thought of writing a book to be called Thanatos, but the "death" of the title was not of Periclean Athens, but rather the mortuary attitude of contemporary archaeology, which uncov- ered sites not to vivify, but embalm and further inter the relics of potential history.
Hyatt had good photographs of the twin pediments of the temple of Zeus at Olympia. He analyzed the determination of design for placement of the sculptured figures — how one was static, balancing the other, which was kinetic; Introduction 17 rest against movement, the scales of order. Such generaUzation was famiUar enough after Winckelmann, but to me it came as revelation, not alone of a specific site in a particular culture, but as an attitude toward analysis in art history; he taught one, by precision and dispassionate warmth, how to look, scan, and see.
He chose the very most revelatory remarks from those who saw a building, a garden, a room, at its inauguration. The freshness his captions restored to the images was the product of a wizard's instinct for the maker's intention. His work was interspersed with brilliant asides on such things as the effect of the Argand lamp on domestic illumination and stage lighting; the influence of the metal tube for paints on land- scape painting; the supremacy of French haute couture com- mencing with transplanted Medici taste at Fontainebleau; Napoleon's use of spare parts for artillery as it affected the gilt- bronze ornaments on furniture of the Directoire and Empire.
The exhibitions Hyatt arranged, illustrated by the marvels he supervised, were graced with labels written in the manner of an offbeat X-ray, searching for dimension, and finding it. He was a rigorous popularizer, a realist setting in focus what might have been before matters were obscured by overlays of "restoration" or "interpretation. Bad taste was not a minor disease, like a bad cold, but an attitude; good- bad taste was represented by the th5Toidal fruitiness of Bellange or the kodachromatic overkill of Maxfield Parrish.
Hyatt de- lighted in the myriad ways history summons fantasy — how a particular vision arouses a special response at a given time. He was well equipped to illustrate any trend or movement in art's history.
He was quite ready when English painters, decorators, and illustrators of the second half of the nineteenth century emerged from Victorian opprobrium. For years he'd been amas- sing trade catalogues, builder's manuals, and gutta-percha bindings like a pack rat. As aristocratic popularizer, he was a paradox. The patrician expert embraced a median ver- nacular in habit and manner. He was far from being a puritan; he was unshockable. He made nice references to the illustrations of Aretino or de Sade compared to the schematic pornography of the Orient.
His forte was not the novel or the exotic, but the concrete expression. The everyday was his caviar. In a study of the handling of mythic symbols, he com- pared Michelangelo's physical abstractions on the Sistine ceil- ing to Pieter Brueghel's realism. We are inspecting Jonah and the whale: But Bruegel shows no [human] figures at all. All hands are below decks while the ship wallows in the thick soup of a North Sea squall. This is not just any kind of storm anywhere.
It is the particular kind of storm that Bruegel must often have watched from the shore of Antwerp. Even in rendering a scene that is almost bound to be generalized he managed to tie it down to a specific locality that he knew at home. His presence was an important philosophical balance, since he offset a tendentiously rigid tone we were prone to take in order to assure our academic elders and betters that, despite avant-garde leanings, we were housebroken and right-minded.
Blackmur, our magisterial, ultimately prestigious colleague, was the opposite of Hyatt — physically and metaphysically. At our editorial con- ferences, against Blackmur's hair-splitting ratiocination, Hyatt shone as paladin of the colloquial and quotidian. He was tolerant but sly, humanist and generalist against an eventual depressing takeover by Neo-Humanists, Southern Agrarians, and Trot- skyites.
There followed many shows, big and little: Each of these could have been turned into a lasting monograph or coffee-table blockbuster. However, the precise format of presentation, framing, and notation, the drama of actual objects in their quintessential presence almost defied permanence and recalled the evanescence of butterfly wings. Hyatt's profession was involved in conservation and salvage. He was destined to try to save works of irreplaceable art against time and all its hazards, physical and political.
Objects survive plague, wars, and human carelessness or hatred, almost with a life and continuity of their own. How much vaster is the mass of what's lost than what, ultimately, gets itself looked at. The thought of Hyatt squirreling away plates of English and Ameri- can coach designs, Biedermeier furniture, catalogues of farm machinery and electroliers with as much care and energy as the sacred prints of Diirer and Rembrandt gives one pause. In his judgments of what was "important" there was an unstated moral criterion.
To be sure, not everything was equally valuable, but everything did, indeed, have its value; that realization dignified a huge range of fantasy and fashion.
Hyatt's personal communications carried indelible finesse. He often sent friends postcards with quotations referring to their peculiar interests. In Virginia towards the close of an evening, when the company are pretty well tired with country dances, it is usual to dance jiggi a practice borrowed, I am informed, from the Negroes. These dances are without method or regularity; a gentleman and lady stand up, and dance about the room, one of them re- tiring, the other pursuing, then perhaps meeting, in an irregular fantastical manner 20 A.
Virginia and I saw "Swan Lake" on Sunday. It was one of the few breathless moments of all my theater-going. I had thought that, now at fifty, I could no longer feel what I had felt in my adolescence, but this "Swan Lake" expanded my heart and blurred my eyes with tears. It gives all that romantic ballet can give, wrapped up in one package. Its sixty years of cooking at last have come to a boil. I have never seen a large number of people move on the stage with such expressive decision. Hyatt always learns from laughter and teaches with it.
His speech, punctuated with humor, bridges the divide between past and present, between word and image. Humor permits quantum leaps into the past, those sudden acts of sympathetic magic that make the inexpUcable happen — great teaching. Tragedy and awe don't make for learning — both beyond the lesson and avant la lettre. Always sharing, never lecturing, Hyatt Mayor's teaching is a constant process of listening and respond- ing to past or recent achievement.
In terms of his love for fes- tivities, he is always setting off fireworks that illuminate art, its makers and collectors. His talks are constructed like the very best Parisian roasts — whose butchers slip pistachios into the veal — providing oblique, piquant perspectives, reUshing the flavor of the past. However grateful and generous Hyatt's colleagues, friends, and students are, perhaps it remains for a poet to put into words Introduction 21 exemplifying the spirit of his Hfe and work, what it was he saw, and how he saw it.
About suffering they are never wrong, The Old Masters: They never forgot That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on. Gift of Susan Biebel in memory of Franklin M.
I passed through the Hotel Drouot only once, and brought away a confused recollection of dingy rooms cluttered with rummage, of dust on board floors, dust on walls and windows and electric light bulbs, of crowds and of cries through which I could neither hear the auctioneer nor glimpse what he was selling. I may have happened in on an auction of solid Holbeins and Titians, but I suspect that they were really selling stained washstands and crazy wheel chairs Uke the ones piled in corners behind me. I went away as doubt- ful of having really been at the famous Hotel Drouot as Fabrice del Dongo was of having been at the Battle of Waterloo.
Here in New York auctions are less picturesque. There are various vague auction rooms for disposing of the furniture and the bindings one can hardly call them books of deceased ac- tresses, but there is only one really great auction house, the American Art Association, which has a whole building to itself on 57th Street among all the art galleries. The show rooms are on the top floor, to which you are taken in Ufts as roomy as those that go to the top balconies at the Opera. These show rooms might remind one of a museum were it not for the luxury of carpets, the haphazard collections in the show cases, and the smart assemblies that meet there around tea time.
The spectacular sales take place in the evening, in a small theatre like those that German princes used to attach to their palaces, complete with red plush seats, chandelier, bal- cony, and a proscenium in white and gold. The great auctions gather a "house" as brilliant as first nights at the Opera, although you might not think so if you came in early and found all the best seats in the middle of the parterre occupied by ragamuffins American Letter 25 and newsboys. The unimportant onlookers arrive early in the hopes of getting places.
There are generally more women than men, and the balcony fills with possible countesses wearing un- likely hair, who lean over the gilt balustrade and watch through pearl opera glasses. Whenever an usher recognizes, among the late comers in evening-clothes, some important collector with his wife, or better, he shows them to the center seats, ousting the Uttle boys, who are then free to run away and collect their tip from the of- fice downstairs.
The auctioneer mounts into his pulpit with the invested dignity of a preacher, reads the conditions of the sale as though they were the Gospel lesson for the day; then the crimson curtains part and the sale begins. The empty stage is hung in crimson plush. In the middle stands a plush pedestal like an altar. A negro, as sleek as those you sometimes see in Venetian Adorations of the Magi, enters from the right, dressed in uniform.
He carries, as reverently as though it were a relic of the True Qoss, a Renaissance bronze or perhaps an urn of Syrian glass, lays it on the altar where the Ughts focus, and withdraws. Uniformed attendants stand like beadles among the audience and sing out the bids as the bidders raise their pencils or lorgnettes. When the gavil falls, an attend- ant enters the stage from the left and retires with the sold relic, while the next one is being brought on from the right. The whole audience busily writes down the price with a knowing bustle that means nothing, since they leave almost all their care- fully inscribed catalogues behind, like theatre programs.
Large objects, such as thrones, bonheurs du jour, triptychs or cassoni, are trundled out on crimson plush floats, like those that carry the images of the Passion for Corpus Christi processions in Spain. These relics of better times pass by tremblingly, stum- bling along a Via Dolorosa as though they really suffered at being clapper clawed by the vulgar, and sold at so much per pound of wood, stone or canvas. Since these audiences have no knowledge to give them cour- age, nor taste to inspire them, they bid much less than Hotel 26 A.
The things with clamorous names fetch such immense prices be- cause a few of the big dealers are struggling to secure them for mesmerized clients. The great sales often have a sordid touch of drama. Last year Sir Joseph Duveen came in person in the middle of the Judge Gary sale to bid on three gold Isfahan rugs, one of them the largest known, I believe. Each rug was con- sidered worthy of a whole act in the comedy, so for each one the curtains closed, parted, and closed again.
The crowd burst into abject applause. The spectacular works of art have continued to bring great prices all this year, in spite of the depression. The Turner was bought back into England, to the satisfaction of both countries. When these same pictures were auctioned at the Yerkes sale in they fetched only about two thirds as much. The interesting sales have been, however, very few this year because of the widespread timidity. Nor have there been many interesting exhibitions since my first letter.
I will speak of the Guelf Treasure later, for that is something rather apart. The Weyhe Gallery's exhibition of Atget photographs was such a success that it had to be pro- longed. I do not know if Atget appeals as strongly to Parisians as he does to us, although I think he might, for his Paris was Baude- laire's Paris, "oil le spectre en plein jour accroche le passant.
Atget, however, had a sharper sense of solitude and a more original eye than Utrillo. It seems to have been more or less of a revelation to professional pho- tographers that Atget's photographs should so abound in light. Much of Atget's work will not be properly "ripe" until becomes as romantic as i is in process of becoming, until Atget's costumes become as strange as Nadar's. Then his spells will really get to work. Saint Jerome in His Study. Fletcher Fund, 19 19 This is not always so.
Poe, for instance, speaks French more readily than English, as any comparison of his writing with Baudelaire's translation will show. Notice how the end of the following passage, the de- layed summing up, rings out so much more triumphantly in French than it does in English, even though translated word for word: Moreover, although it was stated by VEtoik that the corpse was reinterred at the public expense, that an advantageous offer of private sepulture was absolutely declined by the family, and that no member of the family attended the ceremonial: En outre, bien que L'fitoile affirme que le corps a ete reen- terre aux frais de Tfitat — qu'une offre avantageuse de sepulture particuliere a 6te absolument repoussee par la famille — et qu'aucun membre de la famille n'assistait a la ceremonie — bien que rfitoile, dis-je, affirme tout cela pour corroborer Timpres- sion qu'elle cherche a produire, — tout cela a ete victorieusement refute.
Translation 31 Dryden's Preface to Sylvae, Even in Poe's best writing, in his descriptions, Baudelaire often made something more dense, more inevitable. Notice the sound of drap mortuaire in the following: Some few ottomans and golden candelabra, of Eastern figure, were in various stations about; and there was the couch, too — the bridal couch— of an Indian model, and low, and sculptured of solid ebony, with a pall-like canopy above.
Quelques rares ottomanes et des candelabres d'une forme orientale occupaient differents endroits, et le Ut aussi, — le lit nuptiale,— etait dans le style indien, — has, sculpte in bois d'ebene massif, et surmonte d'un baldaquin qui avait Fair d'un drap mortuaire. Poe's case may be a special one, since he seems so often, while writing English, to be thinking in French. At any rate, Baude- laire's translation often has an air of restoring Poe to his mother tongue, just as Gil Bias was "restored" by being translated into Spanish. But apart from intrinsic merit, translations often help even the greatest artists to their creations.
It may be interesting to give a genealogy of one of Shakespeare's most quoted passages. The words in italics are those that each writer has added to his predecessor. They show how Amyot made Plutarch more loquacious, and North more precise: Elle n'en daigna autrement s'advancer, sinon que de se mettre sur le fleuve Cydnus dedans un bateau, dont la pouppe estoit d'or, les voiles de pourpre, les rames d'argent, que Ton manioit au son et a la cadence d'une musique de flustes, haulbois, cythres, violes et autres telz instrumens dont on jouoit dedans, Et au reste, quant a sa personne, elle estoit couchee des- soubs un pavilion d'or tissu, vestue et accoustree toute en la sorte que ion peinct ordinairment Venus, et aupres d'elle d'un coste et d'autre de beaux petits enfans habillez ne plus ne moins que les I.
For an extended comparison of Amyot and North, see F. She mocked Antonius so much, that she disdained to set forward otherwise, but to take her Barge in the River of Cydnus; the Poope whereof was of Gold, the Sailes of Purple, the Owers of Siluer, which kept stroke in rowing after the sounde of Musicke of Flutes, Howboys, Citherns, VioUs, and such other instruments as they played upon in the Barge, And now for the person of her selfe: The Owers were Siluer, Which to the tune of Flutes kept stroke, and made The water which they beate, to follow faster; As amorous of their strokes.
Stood pretty Dimpled Boyes, like smiling Cupids, With diuers coloured Fannes whose winde did seeme, To gloue the delicate cheekes which they did cook. And what they undid did. If you read nothing but Shakespeare's additions printed in italics Shakespeare looks like an own cousin to John Donne. It is as though he took the dense matter of antiquity and charged it with the effervescence of the metaphysical spirit, that spirit whose workings he had dramatized long before in Richard II, Plutarch was his diving board, whence he sprang off, again and again, into the blue of his own heaven.
He seems most at his ease while paraphrasing, as though the structure of antique Translation 33 rhetoric stimulated him to his freest elaborations. His original- ity, or perhaps all originality, is not a matter of theme but of treatment. Shakespeare works like a musician making variations on another man's air. The inter- preter of a foreign author or piece of music should obliterate himself in an attempt to reproduce the exact effect the author or composer intended.
Among contemporary musi- cians, probably Wanda Landowska. The translator's humiUty before his object is not to be de- spised, for it may provide a poet with one of the few remaining escapes from the private world, as it does for Ezra Pound in his Cavalcanti. His Propertius is not so much a translation as a commentary whose wit can be savored only after comparison with the original.
I know only one other translator who demands that you know his original as thoroughly as he: North's Plutarch is a mine of stage business for any regisseur about to pro- duce any of the Roman tragedies. The action of the scenes around the Monument in Antony is especially made clearer. The translator of a contemporary has not only his own mind to catch his author with, but the mind of his time as well.
As such a contemporary translation ages, its language acquires the au- thority of "dating" back to the same period as the original. An author talks out of a contemporary translation like a single head out of double tongues. The authority of a contemporary translation is unique and irrecoverable because a work of art reveals itself "in the round" to its own time only. Later times see it by parts, and because they see it by parts, they see successive parts more sharply.
uzotoqadoh.tk: GradeSaver(tm) ClassicNotes Troilus and Cressida ( ): W. C. Miller: Books. GradeSaver(tm) ClassicNotes Troilus and Cressida · Troilus and Cressida: Third Series, Revised Edition (The Arden Shakespeare Third Series).
For it is not altogether true that the greatest works of art preserve their essence for posterity only. We see far deeper than Shakespeare's contemporaries into Shakespeare's use of simile, source material, character drawing, or poetry, but we do not know him "in the round," as his audience did. Seeing him in our theatres helps, but not much, since no actor today can think fast enough to keep pace with the evolutions of his arabesque, nor can we as audience.
His own audience grasped his poetry, characters, and situations as part and parcel of their own freshly developing lives, and they saw his great machinery working in the outdoor theatre and on themselves, the outdoor audience for which it was devised. Shakespeare was something much more complete than anything we can imagine when Antony for the first time said: We miss, for one very simple thing, the eternal rhythm imposed by the westering sun, and the play of day's end on the end of his trage- dies; Hamlet being carried back into the deeper dusk within Translation 35 the traverse, to the far thunder of ordinance; Coriolanus shout- ing: The trouble is that works of art are made for use and kept, when kept at all, for decoration.
When Shakespeare is translated nowadays, he is translated as character drawing, or poetry, but never as outdoor stage machinery. Strictly speaking, an ancient work of art is impossible to translate because we no longer have the identical use for it, nor the identical mind to grasp it with. But then strictly speaking, no mind can do exactly the same thing as another — not even contemporaries can play each other's music. Duke Ellington cannot play Louis Armstrong's trumpet, nor can Armstrong think in Ellington's harmonic progressions. Translations are possible only if you allow as much approximation as there is in a musician playing some other man's music.
Because few men see much beyond what the mind of their time accustoms them to see, old translations of Greek and Latin authors gradually part company with their originals and appear as independent works of their later times. This speech vsd, Patroclus did the rite His friend commanded ; and brought forth Briseis from her tent; Gaue her the heralds, and away, to th' Achiue ships they went: She sad, and scarce for griefe, could go; her loue, all friends forsooke, And wept for anger.
Patroclus now th'unwilling Beauty brought; She in soft sorrows, and in pensive thought, Past silent, as the heralds held her hand, And oft look'd back, slow moving o'er the strand. So spake he, and Patroklos hearkened to his dear com- rade, and led forth from the hut Briseis of the fair cheeks, and gave them her to lead away. So these twain took their way back along the Achaians' ships, and with them went the woman all unwilling.
Lang and his collaborators already look almost as exclu- sively Victorian as Chapman is Elizabethan. Our time is ready for a fresh translation of Homer, a simple one, without archaisms and ours will probably part company with the original for lack of dignity. To translate a concrete writer like Homer, you have to melt him down until nothing remains but his object, and then build up from that object again in the nearest English equivalent to his style. This is not easy, but still possible, whereas a writer like Horace looks to me impossible to translate, since Latin syntax is so much his inspiration and his fabric that almost nothing can be wrenched loose for use in a less inflected lan- guage.
The same is true of Virgil. A French author Baudelaire, for instance can often be ren- dered word for word and keep his meaning and tone. This you can rarely do with German, where the inflection and construc- tion are about as complicated as simple New Testament Greek. Classic Greek is a step stiU further away from the genius of 3.
Lang's artificial New Testament lisp, his learnedly affected awkwardness, was probably suggested to him by a remark in Arnold's admirable essay On Trans- lating Homer: In fact the complex brevities of Greek and Latin, their habit of making words ring by placing them rather than by se- lecting them, makes ancient authors very hard to coax into a language as simply inflected as English is. Sophocles, for in- stance, constructs his sentences like algebraic equations, wrenched apart by emphatic brackets. Yet even English words are made to ring by their place alone in the Elizabethan drama- tists and preachers, who wrote to be spoken.
For rendering Latin, English must become almost impossibly concise, and for Greek almost impossibly swift and limpid. Also, each Greek word rings simple and clean, while an English word remembers a millennium of Babel. The translator of Greek and Latin can hardly avoid assuming the embarrassing freedom of paraphrase. Ancient works of art shine on after ages like stars, now brighter, now dimmer.
You cannot expect to improve upon a translation made during an author's almost full visibility. For instance, eighteenth century England, with its collaboration of politics and literature, its Grecian elegance, its travelled ur- banity, is sufficiently close to Augustan Rome to be able to catch the genuine flavor of many Latin and some Greek writers. The study of Cicero and Tacitus had formed an English that was admirably adapted to translating these authors. It is a pity that the Cicero and the Lucian have been allowed to go out of print since the early nineteenth century. Again, the early Renaissance was enough Hke late antiquity in its greed for ex- emplary tittle-tattle about Greek and Roman worthies to enable Amyot to bring Plutarch into French all alive.
It is because Elizabethan England got into the habit of gloating over Itahan murders that Philemon Holland was able to catch the full rich- ness of Suetonius's Roman garbage, This is another translation that deserves to be more accessible than it is in the Tudor Trans- lations reprint of Then you must look about and see if you have a similar audience that can be moved by these same things.
If you have not, your translation, addressed to the void, will be an empty exercise. Did the author, for instance, set out to touch the single heart, like the New Testament, or to address the whole tribe, like the Old? The translators of the Bible worked for a congregation that needed prayers and collects for its private devotions and sermons for its public exhortations. It was this congregation, and not King James, that called our English Bible to life.
The translator of a contemporary does not have to worry about an audience. The quotations from Plutarch and Shakespeare have shown, if it needed showing, how important a role translations played in Elizabethan literature. Get to Know Us. Delivery and Returns see our delivery rates and policies thinking of returning an item? See our Returns Policy. Visit our Help Pages.
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