Our first class is intended to get us started reading ancient texts in translation. We’ll think about what it means to translate something, and how we can be critical readers of translations, even when we might not know the original language.
We’ll also start to think about what it means to study a culture far removed from our own in time and space. What benefit can this have?
Readings and Listenings:
My preference is that when possible you listen and simultaneously read along taking notes and highlighting.
- One translation of Homer’s Odyssey, ‘The Song of Demodocus’ (ePUB, PDF, youtube audio file: start at 14:55 and end at 23:00)
This recording is by Ian McKellan (‘Gandalf’ in the Lord of the Rings Movies). If you’re curious this is one interpretation of how this might have sounded when performed in the original Greek.
- Two translations of The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite (ePUB, PDF, youtube audio file of Nagy translation)
This is a student recording.
Want to listen to the audio offline? Make it an MP3! Use this converter. Or, if you have the YouTube app on your phone select ‘make available offline’.
EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY: I accept donations of recordings from current students for future students. You can earn 1 pt towards your final grade by making a similar recording of all three Sappho translations OR the Tyrrell translation of the Hymn, uploading it to youtube, and share the link with me for use in future classes!
Other key topics introduced in this class:
Genre (and why it matters)
Blog Prompts for This Unit:
Explore connections and disconnections between an image of Aphrodite here in NYC with texts we read in our class.
Steps: (1) take a picture of an image of Aphrodite anywhere in NYC (be creative! Look around the Duane Reade or your local bodega! What ads do you see on your commute?) (2) choose a quote from any of the readings (3) Check the blog to make sure no-one has already used the quote or very similar image! [This is a great time to comment thoughtfully on other posts.] (4) a title that distinguishes your post from all the others (5) post both to the blog indicating where the photo was taken and where specifically the quote is from (6) write at least 250 words about about how each characterizes Aphrodite and how this is similar and different. (7) be sure to include the following tags: Aphrodite, CLAS1, SeeninNYC
When Translation Goes Wrong! [Great choice if you’re bi-lingual! Fun even for the monolingual]
Steps: (1) Take a picture of a translation being misleading, incorrect, confusing, or just different that in another language (be creative! Menus, packaging, public safety posters, anything is fair game.) (2) choose an example from our readings where the two translations were different (3) Check the blog to make sure no-one has already used the quote or very similar image! [This is a great time to comment thoughtfully on other posts.] (4) a title that distinguishes your post from all the others (5) post both to the blog indicating where the contemporary example was found and where specifically the quote is from (6) write at least 250 words about why you think the translation when ‘wrong’ i.e. why the difference might exist. (7) be sure to include the following tags: translation, CLAS1, SeeninNYC (if appropriate)