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Christopher H. Hodgkin
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
I read carefully all the glowing reviews of the Lombardo translations by other Amazon reviewers. My view of his translations is quite different from theirs.
They focus, accurately, on the colloquial nature of the translation. But in my view, it is too colloquial. It is not quite a Classic Comics version of Homer, but it's not far off from that.
Consider several passages taken from Book 13, where Odysseus has just landed on Ithaka but doesn't know where he is, and Athena appears to him, first in the disguise of a young man of princely features. Odysseus, being Odysseus, doesn't tell Athena (who he doesn't know is Athena) the truth about his voyage, but makes up a wild story. In part, he says, according to Lombardo:
And we were driven here in the middle of the night
And rowed like hell into the harbor. Didn't even
Think of chow, though we sure could have used some.
Now it's been a while since I was able to read the Odyssey in the original Greek, but the Greek Homer used wasn't nearly this informal, this casual. Rowed like hell? chow? This is not, from my recollection of the original, the kind of language that the bard Homer put into the mouth of the hero Odysseus.
Then look at Athena--who knows perfectly well that he lied to her about the voyage--a few lines later:
Only a master thief, a real con artist,
Could match your tricks--even a god
Might come up short. You wily bastard,
You cunning, elusive, habitual liar!
Would Homer, writing in roughly 750 AD when the gods were still feared and worshipped and honored, really put this sort of languge into the mouth of a goddess? con artist? wily bastard? This isn't the nature of the language Homer used.
This sort of very casual, very colloquial, almost street language permeates the translation. Yes, it is very easy to read. Lacking nuance, it is very easy to understand. I suppose that has some virtues. But it isn't what or how Homer wrote. It is the McHomer version, simple, easy to digest, but with minimal nourishment, little richness of language.
I get no sense that this is a tale of gods and heros -- it sounds more like Nancy Drew and her pals off on the Mystery of the Lost Mariner.
It has the benefit for this age of being a very quick and easy read. Maybe that's sufficient virtue for some to award it five stars. But as a fair representation of the story Homer told in the language he told it, go for Lattimore, or Fitzgerald, or if you must Fagles, and leave Lombardo to those readers who don't want to be challenged to think.