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Book Title: Theocritus: Idylls|
Date of issue: January 23rd 2003
ISBN 13: 9780198152903
The author of the book: Theocritus
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 25.20 MB
Edition: Oxford University Press, USA
Read full description of the books Theocritus: Idylls:hadu ti to psithurisma, kai ha pitus, aipole, tena....
Some authors in Greek hold up incredibly well in translation. Homer and the tragedians come to mind. You lose a lot of what the poetry is about, of course, but the powerful essence of the content usually manages to survive in the more skillful translation. Not so, I think, with Theocritus.
Theocritus in English is like going for a swim -- with a three piece suit and expensive shoes. He is one of those authors (a poet, to be specific) whose exquisite sound patterns and syntactical structures defy translation. Just about everything that he is doing in Greek is lost in an attempt to convey it in English. Oh yes, you will get the idea of what he wrote about when you read a translation, rather in the way that you can get an idea of what a Ferrari looks like from a picture of it. But that is not the same as sitting in the driver's seat and driving one very fast.
Theocritus is fascinating in the way that his poetry is one thing at first appearance -- shepherds piping under the shade of a pine tree, as a cool brook flows past and bees murmur nearby -- and yet another thing altogether when you look below the surface. Urban v. rural; rich v. poor; rustic v. sophisticated; simple v. complex; artificial v. real: all of these polarities are explored in often subtle and mysterious ways throughout his corpus. He wrote after the Greek city states had lost their political vitality; his poetry thus reflects wholly different concerns from the works of the great tragedians or Pindar, the choral poet. His poetry is strikingly modern in that it was written in an age where poetry had ceased altogether to have the fundamentally public function it once enjoyed.
From a language point of view, again, translations cannot convey what he is doing in redefining the established contours of the Homeric hexameter or employing the Doric dialect. Much of his complex artistry derives from the manner in which he has come up with something seemingly new while drawing at the same time on ancient language and poetic expressions that go all the way back through Attic tragedy to Homeric epic.
All this having been said, this translation is as good as it gets.
Read information about the authorTheocritus (Greek Θεόκριτος), the creator of ancient Greek bucolic poetry, flourished in the 3rd century BC.
Little is known of him beyond what can be inferred from his writings. We must, however, handle these with some caution, since some of the poems ("Idylls") commonly attributed to him have little claim to authenticity. It is clear that at a very early date two collections were made, one of which included a number of doubtful poems and formed a corpus of bucolic poetry, while the other was confined to those works which were considered to be by Theocritus himself. He was probably from Sicily, as he refers to Polyphemus, the cyclops in the Odyssey, as his 'countryman.' He also probably lived in Alexandria for a while, where he wrote about everyday life, notably Pharmkeutra. It is also speculated that Theocritus was born in Syracuse, lived on the island, Kos, and lived in Egypt during the time of Ptolemy II.
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