Sunday Salon: A Reading List for Summer

Today I compiled a list of books to read over my five month summer break. Here is a random snippet:

  • The Heart of the Matter, Graham Greene
  • Vita Nuova, Dante
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  • The Sound of Waves, Yukio Mishima
  • The Go-Between, L P Hartley
  • Arcadia: A Play, Tom Stoppard

The full list of titles can be found here. From today, I will be re-reading the Great Gatsby. I wanted to start Anna Karenina, but since it’s on my list for the A to Z project, I can’t start reading it until 2009.

New Reading Projects for 2009

Really Old Classics Project: Prose vs Verse Translations

In my last post about Virgil, I asked myself (quite rhetorically) why prose translations of poems such as the Aeneid exist. Well, this question popped up over at Echoes of Narcissus, and this is what juliadomna – who I have unofficially appointed the resident expert on classics – has to say on the topic:

“It’s an interesting question, isn’t it! Reading important texts in the original gives you a much better feel for the sound of the work as it would have been read or recited- for example, the use of heavy syllables to slow down a line can be crucial for characterization or creating tension. I suppose part of the reason why translators write in prose is simply the language barrier. Greek and Latin can flow, but a translation true to the original both in meaning and in metre can often wind up utterly incomprehensible. True, a lot of the “feel”, as you put it, can be destroyed by not keeping to the metre, but often the ability to use any word desired, metre be damned, can give a better insight into the meaning of the original, if not its format.”

Yes, metre be damned is probably what Knight had in mind – his translation is comprehensible enough, but I still say bring on the verse. There is, of course, one alternative: to learn Latin …

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8 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: A Reading List for Summer

  1. Your inclusion of three of my favorite authors puts a smile on my face! The Go-between is an all-time favorite novel. Yukio Mishima always provokes me to think about my scope in life as a gay man. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene is a “comfort” read that I always return to. Need I say more about Anna Karenina? :)

  2. I’m looking forward to reading them because they’re all new authors to me! Particularly The Go-Between – I heard it’s a very summery book.

  3. juliadomna – I did enjoy Virgil, but I didn’t quite like the translation I read. I’m planning on reading either Fagles or Fitzgerald next. As for the ending, I thought it was extremely… abrupt? I’m not sure how else to describe it. Anyhow, I’m planning on taking proper notes when I read the verse translation, so I’ll talk more about my thoughts later on~ Thanks for dropping by :)

  4. It is rather abrupt, isn’t it? Scholars differ- is it abrupt because Virgil died while writing it, or is it deliberate? I’m not sure I’ve quite made up my mind…

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