Beyond Greek: The Beginnings of Latin Literature by Denis Feeney PDF

By Denis Feeney

ISBN-10: 0674055233

ISBN-13: 9780674055230

Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Horace, and different authors of historic Rome are so firmly demonstrated within the Western canon this present day that the beginning of Latin literature turns out inevitable. but, Denis Feeney boldly argues, the beginnings of Latin literature have been something yet inevitable. The cultural flourishing that during time produced the Aeneid, the Metamorphoses, and different Latin classics was once one of many strangest occasions in history.

Beyond Greek lines the emergence of Latin literature from 240 to a hundred and forty BCE, starting with Roman level productions of performs that represented the 1st translations of Greek literary texts into one other language. From a latest point of view, translating foreign-language literature into the vernacular turns out completely common. yet in an old Mediterranean international made of many multilingual societies with out resembling the text-based literature of the Greeks, literary translation used to be strange if no longer extraordinary. Feeney indicates the way it allowed Romans to systematically take over Greek sorts of tragedy, comedy, and epic, making them their very own and giving beginning to what has turn into often called Latin literature.

The development of Latin literature coincides with a interval of dramatic switch in Roman society. The strong yet geographically limited Roman city-state of 320 BCE had conquered all of Italy simply fifty years later. by the point Rome grew to become the unquestioned dominant strength within the Mediterranean over the process the following century, its voters might boast of getting a unique vernacular literature, in addition to a ancient culture and mythology, that placed them in a special dating with Greek culture.

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What difference does it make that the Romans were translating these particular texts, and not others? ” For it is interesting that in the ancient world we can normally use the practice of translation to defi ne “literature” negatively. ” We have already observed that there is virtually no trace of translation of literature into Egyptian from other languages and scripts (though we must always allow for the contingency of survival). 128 Once again we encounter the potential significance of the writing system in considering the potential for translation: certain material which could be adapted from culture to culture and from language to language within the script world of cuneiform could not necessarily be moved as a textual entity out of the social and educational traditions and constraints of that script environment.

What difference does it make that the Romans were translating these particular texts, and not others? ” For it is interesting that in the ancient world we can normally use the practice of translation to defi ne “literature” negatively. ” We have already observed that there is virtually no trace of translation of literature into Egyptian from other languages and scripts (though we must always allow for the contingency of survival). 128 Once again we encounter the potential significance of the writing system in considering the potential for translation: certain material which could be adapted from culture to culture and from language to language within the script world of cuneiform could not necessarily be moved as a textual entity out of the social and educational traditions and constraints of that script environment.

42 C ha p t e r 1 } Translation: Languages, Scripts, Texts J ust as students of Rome often think that it was more or less natural and inevitable that Rome should develop a literature in the vernacular, one might assume that it was more or less natural and inevitable that Greek literary texts should one day be translated into Latin. Yet there is no evidence that the Greek texts translated by Rome’s first translator-poet, Livius Andronicus—Homer and Attic drama—had ever been translated into any other language before he translated them into Latin.

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Beyond Greek: The Beginnings of Latin Literature by Denis Feeney


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