by liberal japonicus
Well, I had forgotten I had ordered this, a translation of the Iliad into South African English, so it was a surprise yesterday.
My favorite version of Homer is Christopher Logue's, and here is him reading this passage, based on Book 16, 633-637)
Try to recall the pause, thock, pause,
Made by axe blades as they pace
Each other through a valuable wood.
Though the work takes place on the far
Side of a valley, and the axe strokes are
Muted by depths of warm, still standing, air,
They throb, throb, closely in your ear;
And now and then you catch a phrase
Exchanged between the men who work
More than a mile away, with perfect clarity.
Likewise the sound of spear on spear,
Shield against shield, shield against spear
Around Sarpedon’s body.
Here is Whitaker's version:
As the sound of woodcutters goes echoing
through mountain kloofs, and is heard far away
so from the wide ways of the earth arose
the clash of bronze and well-made bullhide
shields, struck by swords and two-edged assegais
To be fair to Whitaker, he's writing a much more constrained translation that could be compared to the Greek text line for line, whereas Logue couldn't have given a flip about matching the lines.
I like how kloof (Afrikaans, from Middle Dutch, related to clove and cleft) and assegai (I think the more apt iklwa can't be pluralized) decenter the text and make me look things up, rethink images, lots of fun stuff.
But beyond that, I remember the first copy of War Music that I got, which is below, a paperback from Penguin. I'm not sure if Logue had approval of the cover, but it connects these two versions of Homer for me.
So what are y'all reading?