Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First translation of The Aeneid by a woman - Awesome!

In other translating/foreign language news, we now have the first translation of Vergil's The Aeneid done by a woman, Sarah Ruden. It's getting great reviews and the language is simply beautiful. She's done other translations before such as Lysistrata and The Satyricon of Petronius.

Here's an excerpt that reflects the lyrical nature of her translation:

My little Iulus' fingers
Were twined in mine; he trotted by my long steps.
Behind me came my wife. We went our dark way.
Before I hadn't minded the Greeks' spears
Hurled at me, or the Greeks in crowds, attacking.
Now every gust and rustle panicked me
Because of whom I led and whom I carried.

— translated by Sarah Ruden (2008)

Ruden did an interview with NPR that you can listen to here and you can order her book here.


Anonymous said...

This is really exciting. I already have a copy of it buy I may by this one just so i can compare the wording. I wonder if there will be differences in the passages regarding the female warrior (her name is escaping me)

Kate said...

That's so awesome. I'm reading this (not this translation, unfortunately) for a class next week, actually. I'm excited.

Anonymous said...

To the first, why would there be differences? A translation is meant to be faithful, not to insert the translators own opinions or bias into the work.

This shouldn't be newsworthy, shocking, or anything else. A woman translating it properly should produce the same result as a male translating it.

Why would anyone be any more excited to read her translation of it, than any other existing one? If she altered any of it because she's a woman, and wanted to adjust it to feminist sensibilities, I'd be quite offended.

Lindsay said...

Since all of the translations of the Aeneid before this are done by men, it's newsworthy. I posted it because I wanted to celebrate a woman doing something never done before by a woman, and something that's exciting.
At the end of this article, it compares the same passage between the most recent translations of the Aeneid, including Ruden's. You can compare the various translations and see how different people translate things differently. She has managed to translate the original text beautifully, and do it in the same number of lines as the original. It's pretty hard to do that and keep true to the text, so there's something else to celebrate.

Anonymous said...

Eh. I'm not really impressed.

Like I said, if she decided to modify the work, I'd be bothered, but at the end of the day , Vergil still wanted it burned after his death.