Chapman's homer.

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

Moderators: Saturn, Malia

Chapman's homer.

Postby jfk » Sun May 16, 2004 1:22 pm

Hi,

Does anyone know where I can get (online and in paper) a copy of Chapman's homer?

Thank you all.
A beacon in the starry sky, this man so dazzling
did not fly from here in a chariot of gold,
but left our world on a melancholic wing
and fled the sorrow that makes men old.
jfk
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 7:22 pm

Chapman's Homer

Postby Saturn » Sun May 16, 2004 9:29 pm

I 'm sorry I don't know where to get Chapman's Homer on the net, but the edition that I have is published by Worsworth Classics of World Literature (2000) - I'm not sure if it's available in the same format in the U.S. but in any case will probably be available from amazon or any other online store.

The edition is a fine, handsome one with excellent introductions to both the Iliad and Odyssey, and a book-by-book analysis. Also helpful for beginners to the classics is a list of the Greek counterparts to Chapman's Romanized Gods and a list of Chapman's use of archaisms and obscure words. For reference aid, the numbers of the Greek original is included at the top every page.

I read Chapman's Homer only a few weeks ago and can thoroughly recommend it - undoubtedly the most enjoyable version I have read (despite many scholars questioning it's accuracy). It was the first complete translation of Homer in English and thus is important in literary history.

However it's own merits should be praised. It's written almost as if Homer himself were an Elizabethan poet, and is full of great musicality and fathomless beauties that one expects from that great age of English literature.

It demands to be adapted for the stage, and indeed the books published in Shakespeare's lifetime greatly influenced his late classical plays.

The influence on Keats is well known, not only 'Chapman's Homer' but possibly also Hyperion was at first indebted to Chapman's epic (despite it's so-called Miltonisms).

I hope you enjoy it and will "long to feast upon old Homer".
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

I got it.

Postby jfk » Sun Jun 13, 2004 11:14 pm

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your advice. I got the book on amazon.co.uk....its damn good. I really enjoy the style of writing. Strongly recommend. One more question to anyone who may have an opinion: Is it o.k. to base one's interpretation (at least for someone who is not a literature student) on just this text? Thanks.
A beacon in the starry sky, this man so dazzling
did not fly from here in a chariot of gold,
but left our world on a melancholic wing
and fled the sorrow that makes men old.
jfk
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 7:22 pm

Opinions

Postby Saturn » Mon Jun 14, 2004 10:30 pm

I'm not quite sure what you mean about basing your opinion on this one text.

Do you mean an opinion on Homer, or on Chapman?

Most things I have read tell me that Chapman's scholarship is suspect, his knowledge of Greek defective, and his translation is generally held (by those in the know) to be a somewhat curious failure.
Needless to say these are opinions I strongy disagree with.

As to the accuracy of his translation, I cannot comment on, being neither possessed of the Greek tongue, nor being a literary scholar.
I have however read several very different transltions of Homer from across the centuries.

To my mind, each translation has the merits and demerits of it's own age. Chapman's translation is infused with the renaissance view of the world, his own style, and the prevailing prejudices of his age.
Alexander Pope's version is an attempt to 'enoble' Homer, to give him a polish and finesse which is inappropriate to the climate of archaic Greece.

The best modern version of Homer is from the great American poet-scholar Robert Fagles. His translations of the Greek calssics are not only precise, but poetic in their own right - his translations of the Iliad and Odyssey are both magnificent triumphs of modern verse which combine clarity of meaning and poetic fidelity to the original material - highly recomended.

I am glad you enjoyed Chapman's Homer.
If you have developed a taste for sixteenth century translations also check out Arthur Golding's version of Ovid's Metamorphoses - one of the greatest, and definitely the most entertaining of the ancient epics rendered in that great style of the Eizabethan age. This book was also Shakespeare's main source of classical mythology, he drew on it incessantly. It was undoubtedly one of the most influential books which nursed his own genius.

Please everyone, read the classics!!!
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Matt » Sun Jun 20, 2004 4:58 pm

I've just ordered Chapmans Homer off amazon to. I think I will read that on the train journey to University in a few months. Cant wait!
Matt
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:26 pm

Chapman's Homer on a train journey?

Postby Saturn » Sun Jun 20, 2004 9:58 pm

I hope you are taking a very long train (the Trans -Siberian express perchance?) - Epics demand our full attention, and maxium concentration, particularly Chapman's archaic sixteenth century English, which includes words not even Shakespeare or Spenser used.

I find that reading just one book (the Iliad and Odyssey are divided into twenty-four) can take up to an hour.
Being the voracious treader that I am, I sometimes can read for four hours at once (crazy and pathetic, isn't it?), averaging about four or five books a day.

If you're unemployed, just soak yourself in the world of Greek mythology all day - if in a job, get yourself sacked and just sit around reading all day! It's a long slog, but ultimately worth all the pains (and there are many).

This thought begs another question - where, and when do people actually read today apart from on trains plains, and automobiles, (and buses)? Reading has become a transport time-filler.

Being the no-life loser that I am, I read in my bedroom, sitting on the bed, with two comfy pillows on my back and a cup of tea at my side.

Anyone else want to share their favourite reading positions. I know it was something Keats thought about too. I remember him in one his letters saying he would love to know what position Shakespeare sat in when he wrote "To be, or not to be...". It's a fascinating idea, which could bring us even closer to our favourite authors.

Similarly, I wonder how Keats was sitting when he wrote "A thing of beauty...", "Seasons of mists...", or "What can ail thee Knight at arms...".

Any ideas, anyone?

Good luck Matt on your University course.
Are you studying English Literature, or what?

P.S. Don't get too caught up in reading at University - you're young, have fun, go to parties, socialise, meet new people. Don't become a bookish weirdo please, you'll end up regretting it for the rest of your life.

I was unable to enjoy University for many depressing reasons, and can never look at that time without profound sadness at my failure to engage in such a potentially life-changing opportunity.

Sorry to end on a sorrowful note, but that's my natural condition:

"Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most
Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth,
The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life."
-Byron.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Matt » Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:28 am

Ah Dont you worry Stephen dont you worry!

Maybe the wrong thing to say on a Keats forum but I aspire to the Byronic personality. A work hard, play even harder sort of thing.

Keats i much prefer in his verse and in character. Its just somehow and for some reason it is the Byronic figure that is most appealing.

A wildboy of poetry and intelligence.

And yes, i read in bed mostly. About 2 hours a day at the moment-Normally before I go to sleep. And I have to be sober of course

Yes, I am hoping, If i get to my first choice place to study English Literature. If that doesnt work out and I end up going to my second choice University then I am to do English Literature WITH creative writing.

Hmmmm

Matt
Matt
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:26 pm

Don't aspire to a 'Byronic' personality

Postby Saturn » Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:34 pm

I hope you weren't serious about aspiring to a Byronic prsonality.


Of course his personality and work can be appealing, all that is dangerous is appealing, (that's why as children we climb trees and put hands in the fire etc.) but is also at times repellent according to even today's moral climate.

Byron's life was, despite the percieved glamour and debauchory, a deeply tragic one, and I can assure you there is nothing glamorous or appealing about the live fast - die young ethos - see Cobain, Hendrix etc.
Byron's obvious personality disorder and depressive tendencies likewise are things not to be posed or imitated - take my word for this, I'm something of an expert in these matters - I could even out Byron - Byron in this.

I find in Byron a reflection of some of my darkest thoughts, not a model - his life is an example of how not to live.

Rather we should aspire to two ancient maxims:

Nosce te ipsum (know thyself) and

Ne quid nimis (nothing in excess).

These two pieces of wisdom were inscribed (in Greek) on the temple of Apollo at Delphi over two-and-a-half-thousand years ago and still ring true today.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Matt » Tue Jun 22, 2004 10:51 am

I have read the biography or most of it by Fiona McCarthy and I am aware that some of his tendencies are quite immoral and don't worry. These I will not adhere too.

But I like excess. Lets just see how it goes eh? Maybe one day i'll be wishing i had listened to you. Maybe not?

Cheers for looking out for me tho Steve!

Matt
Matt
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:26 pm

Excess, Byron etc.

Postby Saturn » Wed Jun 23, 2004 3:29 pm

Fiona Mac Carthy's biography of Byron isn't bad, but does not do the slightest justice to the man's poetry - it is almost mentioned in passing. If you want to get a much better, balanced biography of Byron, get Benita Eisler's much superior 1999 biography (penguin).

:D About the excess - since I wrote that, even I too have just had a bit of excess - well a few too many drinks last night with some people from work to celebrate the end of our contracts - my life could finally be going somewhere!

I must sound like a disapproving parent, I hope not; perhaps a cyber older brother who's been around a bit.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am


Return to Poems, Odes and Plays

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron