By Burton Raffel
“For there's certainly anything we will name the spirit of historical Greece–a conscientiously tuned voice that speaks out of the grave with spectacular readability and style , a particular voice that, taken as an entire, is like no different voice that has ever sung in this earth.”
–BURTON RAFFEL, from his Preface
For centuries, the poetry of Homer, Aristophanes, Sophocles, Sappho, and Archilochus has served as one among our fundamental technique of connecting with the thoroughly vanished global of old Greece. however the works of diverse different nice and prolific poets–Alkaios, Meleager, and Simonides, to call a few–are not often translated into English , and are principally unknown to fashionable readers. In Pure Pagan, award-winning translator Burton Raffel brings those and lots of different clever and witty old Greek writers to an English-speaking viewers for the 1st time, in complete poetic flower. Their funny and philosophical ruminations create a shiny portrait of daily life in old Greece –and they're phenomenally attractive as well.
In brief, sharp bursts of track, those two-thousand-year-old poems discuss the undying issues of daily life:
Wine (Wine is the medicine / To demand, the easiest medicine / To drink deep, deep)
History (Not us: no. / It all started with our fathers, / I’ve heard).
Movers and shakers (If a guy shakes free stones / To make a wall with / Stones may perhaps fall on his head / Instead)
Old age (Old age is a debt we adore to be owed / Not one we love to collect)
Frankness (Speak / As you please / And listen what can never / Please).
There also are very good epigrams (Take what you could have when you have it: you’ll lose it quickly enough. / A unmarried summer time turns a child right into a shaggy goat) and epitaphs (Here I lie, underneath this stone, the recognized girl who untied her belt for just one man).
The entrancing attractiveness, humor, and piercing readability of those poems will draw readers into the Greeks’ trips to international lands, their bacchanalian events and ferocious battles, in addition to into the extra intimate settings in their kitchens and bedrooms. The poetry of Pure Pagan finds the traditional Greeks’ desires, their humorousness, sorrows, triumphs, and their so much deeply held values, fleshing out our knowing of and appreciation for this interesting civilization and its inventive legacy.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Extra info for Pure Pagan: Seven Centuries of Greek Poems and Fragments (Modern Library Classics)
PHALAECUS “The Sea and the Land”: Paton, vol. II, p. 346, #650. PHILODEMUS “A Girl’s Speech”: Paton, vol. I, p. 292, #306. “Rendezvous”: Paton, vol. I, p. 184, #120. PHOCYLIDES “The Lerians”: Trypanis I, p. 156, #70. PLATO “A Cautionary Tale”: Paton, vol. III, p. 24, #44. “An Epitaph”: Paton, vol. II, p. 146, #265. “On Love”: Paton, vol. I, p. 166, #80. “The Eretrian Dead”: Trypanis I, p. 276, #136. “Time”: Paton, vol. III, p. 28, #51. POSIDIPPUS “Party Preparations”: Paton, vol. I, p. 218, #183. SIMONIDES “An Epitaph”: Paton, vol. II, p. 142, #254A. “Epitaph for a Workman”: Paton, vol. II, p. 276, #507A. “How to Tell”: Lyra Graeca, vol. II, p. 333, #90. “On His Spear”: Paton, vol. I, p. 326, #52. “Sailors”: Paton, vol. II, p. 148, #270. “The Defenders of Tegea”: Trypanis I, p. 166, #86. “Timon”: Paton, vol. II, p. 187, #348. TERPANDER “Of Sparta”: Lobel and web page, #941. “To Apollo”: Lyra Graeca, vol. 1, p. 31, #2. “To Zeus”: Lobel and web page, #698. THEODORIDAS “An Epitaph”: Paton, vol. II, p. 154, #282. “Euphorion”: Paton, vol. II, p. 218, #406. concerning the TRANSLATOR BURTON RAFFEL is individual professor emeritus of arts and arts on the college of Louisiana at Lafayette. His many translations contain Stendhal’s The pink and the Black, for the trendy Library; Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel, winner of the 1991 French-American starting place Translation Prize; Chrétien de Troyes’s 5 Arthurian romances; Cervantes’s Don Quijote; Balzac’s Père Goriot; and Beowulf, his model of which has bought greater than one million copies. the trendy LIBRARY EDITORIAL BOARD Maya Angelou A. S. Byatt Caleb Carr Christopher Cerf Charles Frazier Vartan Gregorian Richard Howard Charles Johnson Jon Krakauer Edmund Morris Azar Nafisi Joyce Carol Oates Elaine Pagels John Richardson Salman Rushdie Oliver Sacks Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Carolyn See William Styron Gore Vidal in regards to the POETS ALKAIOS: Born approximately 620 B. C. Resident of Mytilene, significant urban at the island of Lesbos (where Sappho additionally lived). Deeply all for politics, he fought unsuccessfully opposed to the tyrant then ruling the island and fled to Egypt. He ultimately back and reconciled with the ruler. dying date unknown. ALKMAN: Flourished 654–611 B. C. Resided in Sparta yet could have been born in Lydia. he's acknowledged to were a slave, published as a result of his poetic talents. such a lot of his paintings is misplaced. ANTIPATER OF SIDON: Flourished approximately one hundred twenty B. C. No different information to be had. ANTIPATER OF THESSALONIKA: past due first century B. C. ; identified to were alive and writing at a couple of. D. 12–15. He have been linked to and prior (11 B. C. ) supported by way of a Roman statesman who can also have patronized the good Latin poet Horace. Horace’s Ars Poetica can have been composed for this patron’s sons. ANYTE: Early 3rd century B. C. recognized to have translated Sappho (whose dialect was once tough for “modern” Greeks, after 400 years). She can also be recognized to have pioneered the making of epitaphs for animals and was once one of the first to jot down pastorally approximately nondomesticated nature.