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notes from bathrobe land

January 11, 2010

Translation Theory Notes from Monday, Jan. 11

jan 11 2010 monday bathrobe and boxers day
week 2 lesson 2: Homer: Translating What?
Calpirg blah blah blah we know we know
…okay if Godzich says it it MUST be so. good.

Homer as starting point because many problems are also there in other later texts

The Homeric Question
Who was Homer?
>Actual person
>>importance of H. as crystallizing interest in culture
>>ancients believe actual individual of this name(?)
>>”Scholars spend a great deal of time and energy knowing nothing.”
>>map the geography onto world as we know it
>>invented by tradition/many contributors?
>Generic fiction
>the name
>>means “hostage”
>>we assume Babylonian for no particular reason
>>also means “blind.” so we assume literally
>>>good bards are blind in oral societies
>origins
>>seven different cities he could be from
>>uncertainty for translators; making assumptions
>dates: 9th-8th cent BCE
>>poets “flourished and walked the earth and those kinds of things”
>>Troy: 12th cent BCE
>>>believed H. was contemporaneous with Trojan War (uh)
>Wandering minstrel(?)
>>or more sedentary;
>>first man to write greek?

Alexandria
~birthplace of western scholarship
~we should learn about learning/institutions of it
~Introduction to University?
~already had some institutions of learning; built by Alexander; Egypt, willed to Pt:
>Ptolemy I and the Museion (288 BCE)
>>fulfilled Alexander’s notion of modern imperial capital
>Collecting Empire
>>allows empire to know itself
>>more valid for empire than individual for management
>>bringing knowledge from periphery to center
>>>bring “one sample of everything.” flora, fauna, et al.
>Organization of Knowledge:
~originally sorted by muses: muse>museion>museum I guess
>>University; academy; library
>>>Ptol II wanted 500,000 books jesus that’s a lot (=50 billion according to WG.)
>>research institutions; botanical gardens
>>>not simply curiosity but self-transparency for empire
>>>heterogeneous political entity needs to undrstnd self
>>scholarship
>>>grammatikos
~~~~letter, specialist in literacy
~~~~diff kinds of modality in writing
~~~~grammar = subset of grammatikos
>>>philologos
~~~~lit. lover of language/discourse
~~~~someone who loves to argue “Which means every Greek” lol okay WG
~~~~how language mediates our rel. to selves/others/world
~~~~(philosopher tries to take language out of that rel.)

Library of Alexandria
>a library of record
>>collecting
>>copying and keeping originals
~~~any ship that passed through had to hand over original, was given the copy
>>translating
~~~all of them into Greek, wowwww
~~~whoever said greeks didn’t translate anything was lying and god help you if WG ever clears his throat at you like that
>>>the LXX
~~~~famous transl of the bible
~~~~collected seventy rabbis, seventy days on island
~~~~why do people just rearrange jews all the time? poor dudes
~~~~oldest text of bible surviving; Hebrew copy that we have is actually later
>canon formation
~~which version would be the authoritative from manuscrpt
*cf JG’s class!!!
>>Hippocrates
>>Homer
>Anthologies
~~one bible in today’s money =~ $200k-300k, 500 sheep
>>give evidence of tastes, “Best of”
>>suitability of genres for occasions

Alexandrian PhiLOLogy
>pre-alexandrian scholarship
>>the Peisistratus Recension and the Panathenaic festival
(mid 6th cent BCE)
>>>this occasion Iliad divided into 24 songs
>>Soilus of Amphipolis: Homeric Questions (4th c BCE)
>>>resolving inconsistencies
>>>controversies, yay
>alexandrian scholarship
~~canon established
>>Zenodotus of Ephesus
>>>credited with division into 24 songs. yes, also.
>>Aristarchus

Aristarchus’ edition
>scholia (singular: scholion) as source
~~markings in the margins by readers
~~collected/published in several volumes from Iliad 😀
~~value = what was difficult to ancient readers, etc
~~track linguistic changes woooooooooooooooo
~~marginalia om nom nom
~~SEE ASIDE*
>critical apparatus; athetizing
~~formalized process based on previous scholia
>>athetizing = ^philological operation b which an editor declares a passage or text to be spurious but does not kill that text^**
>>>preserves while deauthenticating
>editorial principles
>>consistency of content
~~~characters do need to stay dead, etc.
>>consistency of style
~~~determinability of style across dialects?
>>logical consistency
>>internal argumentation
>>quality
>>redundancy
>>morality

*ASIDE: one of the Byzantine emporers declared Greek a “dead language.” This meant that the language was “no longer allowed to evolve!”
** ^text^ means direct definition from WG

Role of language and interpretation
>the question of language
>>consistency of dialect (there are lots)
>>standardizing an imperial language
~~~def. in the interest of the empire for bureaucracy
~~~trading, travel
~~~empires always suspicious of local languages
>>>lexical scholia
~~~~glosses, voice, how to pronounce
>Exegesis
>>allegorical readings
~~~uh, more abstract than gods, woo
~~~Alex. at that time is 1/3 Jewish, lots of alleg. rdngs of Bible
>>their influence on authenticity and athetizing
~~~with 2 or 3 versions, the most allegorical will be maintained

Modern Homer
>The editio princeps, Venice, 1488
~~first printed edition of Homer
~~Middle Ages Europe had no Homer, didn’t read Greek
~~Had “tales from Troy”
~~there was an Arabic translation, but not other Greek stuff (chose not to, no drama/yes phil etc)
~~~competing with Persian poetry (Farsi)
~~~viewed Arabic poetry superior
~~~Persians hated Greeks, Arabs hated Persians, huh.
>Henri Estienne, Genevensis 44, and the Geneva critical edition (18 MS)
~~most reliable manuscript used as source + 17 others
~~go to suburb of Geneva to see old manuscripts, lol okay WG, we’ll do that right away. for funsies. like you.
~~free of scholia
>Lorenza Valla’s translation into Latin Prose
~~debunker
~~took on the Inquisition and all that
>>Brief note on Valla (1406-1457)
>>>denunciation of hoaxes: donation of constantine
~~~~handing Empire over to Church
~~~~Latin was 400 years too new lol bitches
>>>critique of Jerome’s Vulgate
~~~~Pope says shut up, Valla goes and shouts it ’til they lock him up, he asks for reading, he reads Jerome’s Vulgate and also Hebrew Bible and the translation sucks; poor dude. Lots of time in dungeon
~~~~Denounces bad Church Latin. I love this guy and I want to write papers on him and hug him and stuff. Incurable Humanist, cleaning up after Middle Ages. Lucky he’s a childhood friend of the Pope hence not burned at the damn stake, wow.
>Petrarch and Boccacio
~~P. bought copy of Homer, couldn’t read it, commissioned translation w/ B. by _____. ‘Twas lousy translation, means that P.&B. were first westerners to have read Homer. Um… ‘kay.

The Return of the Homeric Question
>Milman Perry

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One comment

  1. […] Monday, I was way too tired and sore to deal with much, so I ended up going to school in my pajamas and bathrobe. I’m not proud. The count of professors who have seen my bathrobe is now up to six, actually. I suspect I won’t get away with that quite so much when I’m a grad student, so I’m trying to get it out of my system early on. […]



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