Chapman's Homer

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

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Chapman's Homer

Postby Saturn » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:43 pm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/jun/20/homer

No, not a study of Keats' poem, but a look at Chapman's wonderful Homer translations [Keats' poem is mentioned further down]. I've read the whole of Chapman's Illiad and Odyssey and I can concour with Keats that it is quite an experience.
Apart from Pope's Augustan, rhetorical Illiad and more recently, Fitzgerald's concise and Fagles' brilliant modern verse translations, Chapman's Homer is the most poetical and, if cumbersome, the most enjoyable and surprising versions of Homer in English. I'd advise any lover of Keats, and lover of poetry in general to grab a copy of Chapman if you can find one.
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Re: Chapman's Homer

Postby Raphael » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:26 am

I shall look out for that at the library
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Chapman's Homer

Postby Saturn » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:50 pm

Very hard to find, the edition I have Raphael is a cheap Wordsworth Classics version, with both the translations but it was very cheap about 6 or seven years ago, about three or four pounds which was a bargain, but if you find a copy in the library I'd be mightily surprised, it may be out of print. I have to warn you though, it's a real Herculean challenge: they're both very long and involving and written in Elizabethan/Jacobean verse which can be difficult at times but is ultimately rewarding.
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Re: Chapman's Homer

Postby Ennis » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:12 pm

Saturn --

"It's a real Herculean challenge" is an understatement!!. I've been trying for years, or so it seems, to find a copy of Chapman's Homer, although not of late. I just simply could not find ANYTHING!! But, again, I have not looked lately.
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Re: Chapman's Homer

Postby Saturn » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:45 pm

Well the review in this article is of Princeton editions [though the article is from 2002]. It might be best to try and find them online; this

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Iliad-Odyssey-W ... 861&sr=8-1 is pretty much the same edition that I have.
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Re: Chapman's Homer

Postby Ennis » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:41 pm

Saturn --

Great! Thanks!!
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: Chapman's Homer

Postby Cybele » Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:40 pm

Saturn wrote:http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/jun/20/homer

No, not a study of Keats' poem, but a look at Chapman's wonderful Homer translations [Keats' poem is mentioned further down]. I've read the whole of Chapman's Illiad and Odyssey and I can concour with Keats that it is quite an experience.
Apart from Pope's Augustan, rhetorical Illiad and more recently, Fitzgerald's concise and Fagles' brilliant modern verse translations, Chapman's Homer is the most poetical and, if cumbersome, the most enjoyable and surprising versions of Homer in English. I'd advise any lover of Keats, and lover of poetry in general to grab a copy of Chapman if you can find one.


Thanks for the figurative kick in the seat, Saturn.
I've been meaning to read this literally for years.
I was able to find George Chapman's translation on line here: http://www.bartelby.com/111/index.html

Just quickly skimming things, I noted the wonderful round, smooth, satisfying repetition of "O" sounds in the last four lines of book two:
"They offer'd up. Of all yet throned above,
They most observed the grey-eyed seed of Jove;
Who, from the evening till the morning rose,
And all day long, their voyage did dispose.
"

I know Benjamin Bailey mentioned that Keats had a theory about the use of open and closed vowels and how judicious use of certain vowel-sounds could contribute to the success of a poem.

Does anybody know more about this?
I've noticed that some vowel sounds are soothing like a gentle breeze, others are stimulating like a cup of strong coffee. But just repeating a vowel sound for its own sake adds nothing to the poem and can even damage it, just as simply hitting the correct notes on a keyboard does not make for a great musical performance.
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Re: Chapman's Homer

Postby Cybele » Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:45 pm

When I read Saturn's post I thought back to hearing a Daniel Pinkwater essay on NPR quite a long while ago. I looked for it on-line and was happy to find it as part of a podcast at Pinkwater.com. http://www.pinkwater.com/podcast/podcast.php?showid=106
The second section in the podcast is: "On First Looking into Kurtzman's Mad."
I think it's a wonderful little piece on discovery and personal epiphany. And Daniel Pinkwater being Daniel Pinkwater, it's fun, too.
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Re: Chapman's Homer

Postby Raphael » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:24 pm

Just quickly skimming things, I noted the wonderful round, smooth, satisfying repetition of "O" sounds in the last four lines of book two:
"They offer'd up. Of all yet throned above,
They most observed the grey-eyed seed of Jove;
Who, from the evening till the morning rose,
And all day long, their voyage did dispose.
"


It does roll very nicely Cybele!

I know Benjamin Bailey mentioned that Keats had a theory about the use of open and closed vowels and how judicious use of certain vowel-sounds could contribute to the success of a poem.
Does anybody know more about this?



I haven't seen that in any of Bailey's letters- I'm sure I would have noticed that. How interesting.But of course our poet would have a deep understanding of that- such a genius as he was. :D I'd love to read What Bailey said about this.

I've noticed that some vowel sounds are soothing like a gentle breeze, others are stimulating like a cup of strong coffee. But just repeating a vowel sound for its own sake adds nothing to the poem and can even damage it, just as simply hitting the correct notes on a keyboard does not make for a great musical performance.


Agreed- it is not just the use of vocabulary, imagery, rhythm but the use of sound...
i like the keyboard analogy- I have noticed two people can play the same piano piece but one could be better simply through the sensitivity.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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