Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Varför går jag runt och funderar på Susan Sontag?
Låt oss istället läsa hennes klassiker "Notes on Camp"
Hon säger även att "greek, not latin, is camp". Helskotta!

Några klipp:

"25. The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance. Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers. Camp is the paintings of Carlo Crivelli, with their real jewels and trompe-l'oeil insects and cracks in the masonry. Camp is the outrageous aestheticism of Steinberg's six American movies with Dietrich, all six, but especially the last, The Devil Is a Woman. . . . In Camp there is often something démesuré in the quality of the ambition, not only in the style of the work itself. Gaudí's lurid and beautiful buildings in Barcelona are Camp not only because of their style but because they reveal -- most notably in the Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia -- the ambition on the part of one man to do what it takes a generation, a whole culture to accomplish."

"29. The reason a movie like On the Beach, books like Winesburg, Ohio and For Whom the Bell Tolls are bad to the point of being laughable, but not bad to the point of being enjoyable, is that they are too dogged and pretentious. They lack fantasy. There is Camp in such bad movies as The Prodigal and Samson and Delilah, the series of Italian color spectacles featuring the super-hero Maciste, numerous Japanese science fiction films (Rodan, The Mysterians, The H-Man) because, in their relative unpretentiousness and vulgarity, they are more extreme and irresponsible in their fantasy - and therefore touching and quite enjoyable."

"41. The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious. More precisely, Camp involves a new, more complex relation to "the serious." One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious."

"55. Camp taste is, above all, a mode of enjoyment, of appreciation - not judgment. Camp is generous. It wants to enjoy. It only seems like malice, cynicism. (Or, if it is cynicism, it's not a ruthless but a sweet cynicism.) Camp taste doesn't propose that it is in bad taste to be serious; it doesn't sneer at someone who succeeds in being seriously dramatic. What it does is to find the success in certain passionate failures."

Själva texten:

Monday, December 26, 2005


Jag ska, någongång, sluta att ständigt plocka grejor från de fantastiska Review-a-day mailen, men detta förtjänar uppmärksamhet, och är särdeles klassiskt:

"Canongate books launched an ambitious publishing project thisfall with the release of three titles, A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong, Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles byJeanette Winterson, and The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. TheMyths series will continue releasing these retold myths -- fromauthors like Chinua Achebe, Donna Tartt, David Grossman, and A.S. Byatt -- at the rate of a couple a year, for many years. Theyare slim, alluringly small volumes, about two-thirds the sizeof the average hardcover novel, and about 200 pages. The coverart slips around the spine seamlessly, with no vacuous blurbsto disrupt the minimal but intensely pleasing illustrations. Imention the aesthetic qualities of the books because I feel theywere intended to be part of the experience of the books in a moreintegral way than your average novel: the uniform, complimentarybeauty of these three volumes suggests that all subsequent volumeswill be equally delicious, and thus stimulate the appetites ofbook collectors."

Och ack så klassiskt att återbreätta och omstrukturera Homeros:

"Readers of Margaret Atwood will not be surprisedthat she chose this myth to retell -- and refocus, with modernlens pointed squarely at an act ancients would not have considereda crime: the murder of Penelope's twelve maids by Odysseus andTelemachus. [...]
Penelope unravels the tangled tale of Odysseus's long absence, the rumors of his adventures, the suitors who wanted to replace him, and how she directed her most trusted maids to spy on the suitors and keep her informed. When Odysseus returns, he believes the maids havebeen in league with the suitors all along, and after slaughtering the men, instructs the maids to take care of the bodies and scrub the blood from the floors. Then, Telemachus hangs them "all in a row from the ship's hawser," all while Penelope slept."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Felix sit vobis festum Christi Natalis!

Den vackraste julsången:

Adeste, fideles, laeti triumfantes:
Venite, venite in Bethleem:
Natum videte Regem Angelorum:
Venite, adoremus, venite adoremus,
venite adoremus Dominum!

En grege relicto, humiles ad cunas
Vocati pastores approperant:
Et nos ovanti, gradu festinemus:
Venite, adoremus...

Aeterni Parentis splendorem aeternum
Velatum sub carne videbimus:
Deum infantem, pannis involutum,
Venite, adoremus...

Pro nobis egenum et foeno cubantem
Piis foveamus amplexibus:
Sic nos amantem quis non redamaret?
Venite, adoremus...

Och Stilla Natt på latin:

Alma nox, tacita nox
Omnium silet vox.
Sola virgo nunc beatum
Ulnis fovet dulcem natum.
Pax tibi, Puer pax!

Alma nox, tacita nox,
O Jesu, tua vox
Amorem nobis explanat,
Nos redemptos esse clamat,
In tuo natali.

Alma nox, tacita nox!
Angeli sonat vox:
Alleluia! O surgite,
Pastores huc accurrite!
Christus Deus adest.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fors Catulli

Vilken otrolig slump! Jag har senaste dagarna funderat mycket på den store Catullus och nu landade nyss i min inbox från den eminenta review-a-day tjänsten på Powells en lång catullus recension. Jag måste nog lägga ut den i sin helhet här, då jag ju är total Catullus-fanatiker. Läs och njut:

Sparrows and Scrubbers
A review by Emily Wilson

Peter Green, an eminent historian of the ancient world, is oneof the best translators of classical poetry in our age. He hasdone the definitive modern Juvenal, and his version of Apolloniusof Rhodes's dense, allusive epic poem The Argonautica actuallymakes it enjoyable to read. His translations of Ovid's elegiacpoetry are probably his masterpiece as a translator. He manages to re-create Ovid's verbal fluency and lightness of tone in aconvincing English equivalent of Latin elegiac meter. Green'sOvid, like the original, is always readable, always clever, andfrequently offensive. He has now produced a translation of the complete poems of Catullus, with facing Latin original and extensive notes. It is a superb piece of work, despite some disappointments.
Green's translation should encourage readers of all kinds to read or re-read Catullus, one of the greatest and most influentialof all classical poets.

Born in the provincial northern town of Verona sometime around84 B.C.E., Catullus died in Rome, possibly of consumption, about thirty years later. He was an inspiration for the Augustan poetsof the subsequent generation: Horace, Virgil, Propertius, andOvid all look back to his work. So do many later European andAmerican poets: Catullus's sparrow poems, for instance, have inspiredmany English imitations and acts of poetic homage, from John Skelton's remarkable poem "Phyllyp Sparowe" (written around 1500), to CarolMuske-Dukes's collection Sparrow (2003). Catullus came from a wealthy family; unlike Virgil and Horace, he seems to have had no need to cultivate a rich patron to support him while writing poetry. His father was friendly with Julius Caesar and often invited him to dinner. [Säger Suetonius] Catullus wrote several vicious attacks on Caesar[Knappt någon direkt], which suggest that his military campaigns in Britain and Gaul are being criminally mismanaged by his chief engineer Mamurra, and that they are motivated by revolting avariceand greed on the part of Caesar himself, who is a "voracious/andshameless gut." Catullus also sneers at Caesar's bisexual promiscuity:"They're well matched, that pair of shameless buggers,/Bitch-queensboth of them, Caesar and Mamurra" (Green's translation). According to Suetonius, Caesar complained that a "permanent blot"had been put on his name by these poems, but "when Catullus apologized, Caesar invited him to dinner that very day." This anecdote couldbe taken as a sign of Catullus's socially privileged position:as the son of Caesar's friend, he was able to be extremely rude about the most powerful man in the world, and get away with it.But it can also be taken to prove Caesar's literary taste. He knew a great poem when he read one, even if it included slander against himself. [Caesar skrev ju själv poesi]

It is disturbing to remember that the poems of Catullus mightwell have been lost to us forever. The classical authors whosework was part of the Byzantine school syllabus, such as Virgil and Cicero, were read and copied many times over, from late antiquityto the Middle Ages. But the poems of Catullus were not a schooltext, for obvious reasons. Catullus is not an improving author.Our knowledge of Catullus's work depends on a single manuscript,which was discovered in a monastery in Verona, Catullus's hometown, around the year 1300, copied twice, and then lost again. As a result, the text of Catullus is far more difficult to reconstructaccurately than that of more consistently canonical authors. Even the order of the poems -- which, in this text, are grouped in three sets ("polymetric" lyrics, then long poems, and then shortelegiac poems) -- may or may not reflect the poet's own arrangement.If Catullus's work had been lost, it would not have been possible to imagine it. He is a poet of dazzling virtuosity and range. As well as his satirical attacks on Caesar and other acquaintances, he also wrote about sex, marriage, friendship, poetry, travel,loss, anxiety, nature, castration, mythology, and religion. He did so in many different meters, with self-conscious precision and verve. Catullus wrote less than Ovid, but his work is extraordinarily varied: it is difficult for any translator to capture every Catullan mood equally well. Green is least successful when Catullus is tender and emotional, neither ironic like Ovid nor angry like Juvenal. When the poet mourns for his dead brother in the beautifulpoem 101, Green becomes oddly stiff: "fortune, alas, has bereftme of your person,/my poor brother, so un justly taken from me."[-et mutam nequiquam alloquerer cinerem- och förgäves tilltala stumt stoft, den dikten får mig ofta att gråta] The archaisms here read like old-style Loeb translation-ese, unworthyof Catullus and unworthy of Green.Yet Green's affinity for Catullus as a wit and as a bad-boy satiristis very deep, and it allows him to bring out a side of the poet that has often been neglected. Those who concentrate on the Lesbiapoems may be tempted to see Catullus primarily as a poet interestedin love, sex, betrayal, and emotional conflict, the poet of "odi et amo" ("I hate and I love"). Green offers a convincing incentiveto move away from a vision of Catullus as the intense young man in Yeats's poem "The Scholars," whose lines were "rhymed out in love's despair" only to be misunderstood by dry-as-dust scholars. [ Vi måste bara ha Yeats diktan här:
Bald heads forgetful of their sins,
Old, learned, respectable bald heads
Edit and annotate the lines
That young men, tossing on their beds,
Rhymed out in love's despair
To Flatter beauty's ignorant ear.
All shuffle there, all cough in ink;

All wear the carpet with their shoes;
All think what other people think;
All know the man their neighbor knows.
Lord, what would they say
Did their Catullus walk that way?]

Green's Catullus is more a hate poet than a love poet. He is macho,selfpitying, cruel, technically masterful, and supremely funny.
One of Green's greatest strengths is his equanimity about the poet's obscenity, which he sees as a sign of "youthful panache,"a "characteristic upper-class Mediterranean phenomenon," "singular only in its oral obsession." Green assumes, I think rightly, that the dirty words in Catullus would have seemed less shocking andless interesting to his original readers than they do to us. His translation follows through on this insight. When Catullus hurls insulting threats at those who have dared to criticize his work-- pedicabo vos et irrumabo! -- Green makes the line sound as if it comes from an over-heated primary school argument: "Up yours and sucks!" More literal translations, such as Guy Lee's "I'll bugger you and stuff your gobs," sound too bizarre to be funny. [Inte?]
As an example of the liveliness and the vigor of Green's translation,here is one of Catullus's most famous poems (poem 2, Passer, deliciae meae puellae), in which the poet envies his girlfriend's pet bird.
Sparrow, precious darling of my sweetheart, always her plaything, held fast in her bosom, whom she loves to provoke with outstretched finger tempting the little pecker to nip harder when my incandescent longing fancies just a smidgin of fun and games and comfort for the pain she's feeling(I believe it!), something to lighten that too-heavy ardor -- how I wish I could sport with you as she does, bring some relief to the spirit's black depression!

Catullus's choice of pet for his girlfriend clearly had a literary motive. Sparrows in real life are more or less untameable, but they are the birds that draw Aphrodite's chariot in Sappho's first poem, to bring her to the poet in times of trouble. Lesbia, it seems, is like a Sapphic goddess of love, but one who is not going anywhere. Catullus draws on a frivolous Hellenistic tradition of hymn-like poems addressed to the most insignificant members of the animal kingdom, such as the locust and the cicada; but he uses this trivial sub-genre to evoke serious emotions -- longing,alienation, melancholy. The sparrow seems at first to have usurped the place Catulluswants for himself: the girl holds him in her "bosom" (the word sinus can also mean "lap" or "vagina"). The relationship of girl and bird is vaguely sexual. Green's use of the word "pecker" isa brilliant hint at the fact that passer in Latin, which means"sparrow," was also a slang word for "penis." Catullus was presumably conscious of this double entendre, although it is a simplification to regard it as the key to the whole poem (as many critics haved one [Jag har ofta läst att passer skulle syfta på hennes klitoris...] ). By the end of the poem, it becomes clear that Catullusenvies the girl as much as the bird. Although the poem seems at first to be about a comic love triangle, man, woman, and bird,it concentrates finally on two incompatible experiences of desire and pain: the girl can find comfort and relief from a play thing,but the speaker cannot. It is possible, too, to see the poem itself as Catullus's own sparrow: poetry is a game, which may or may not offer the poet consolation in times of suffering. A meta-poetic interpretation is suggested by later Roman imitations of Catullus's sparrow poems by Ovid and Martial. Green's version manages to capture both the poem's charm and its complexity of tone. Like Catullus himself,Green mixes high diction ("bosom," "ardor," "spirit") with lively colloquial language. "The pain she's feeling (I believe it!)"is characteristically vigorous.

One of the best translations of the complete Catullus before Greenwas the impressively laconic verse rendition produced in 1990by Guy Lee. Like Green, Lee includes the Latin text facing his English; like Green, he aims for a line-by-line equivalence tothe Latin. But the feel of his Catullus is very different. Here,for comparison, is his version of poem 2:

Sparrow, my girl's darling, Whom she plays with, whom she cuddles, Whom she likes to tempt with finger- Tip and teases to nip harder When my own bright-eyed desire Fancies some endearing fun And a small solace for her pain, I suppose, so heavy passion then rests: Would I could play with you as she does And lighten the spirit's gloomy cares!

Lee's version is in some places further from the Latin than Green's:"cuddles" is less literal than "held fast in her bosom," and tomy ear sounds a little too infantile for this quasi-erotic embrace. But sometimes Lee is closer. "So heavy passion then rests" is, like the Latin original, almost impossible to understand, whereas Green has diverged further from Catullus in the attempt to make his version intelligible. Green has obviously borrowed a little from Lee: "to nip harder" is a shared phrase. Perhaps the most important difference of technique between the two translations is that Lee relies heavily on English cognates of the Latin words that he translates: "small solace" for the diminutive solacium, "cares" for curas, "desire" for desiderio.I n Green's version, by contrast, solacium becomes "just a smidgin of ... comfort," desiderio is "longing," and curas are "depression."One could complain that "smidgin" is a dated colloquialism, and that "depression" suggests a modern concept of mental health that would have been unfamiliar to the ancients. But it is also true that the Romans did not use Latinate language.
They used Latin,which was not always a dead language. Latinisms in English often sound stiff and over-educated; there is no reason to think thatLatin always felt this way to the Romans. Green is always anxiousto find a modern English equivalent, rather than parroting the original with descendents of the Latin words. If he uses a Latinism(such as "incandescent," or even, in poem 5, ad infinitum), italmost never mimics the Latin of the Latin.

Classicists sometimes complain that Green is a "free" translator,because he occasionally glosses or skips references that the averagemodern reader might find obscure, and because his versions are racier, slangier, and more fun to read than most of their competitors.Readers who want a more straitlaced Catullus may be happier with G.P. Goold's unpretentious and clear translation, which appearedin 1983, or with Lee. But it is a mistake to think that more vanilla versions of Catullus, or indeed any classical poet, are necessarily more faithful to the original. A translator who tries to find"neutral" language -- as if there were such a thing -- may take a greater liberty with the original than one who casts his linguistic net as wide as it will go. Literalism brings its own distortions. Consider, for example,the first words of Catullus's libellus (little booklet), as rendered by the Loeb translator F.W. Cornish: "To whom am I to present my pretty new book, freshly smoothed off with dry pumice-stone?"This rendering is perfectly accurate. It conveys the general gistof the lines; every word in the original is translated; thereare no obvious interpolations of extra material. It would do well as a crib to help those with nascent or rusty Latin struggle through the original. What it does not do is give any indication of whatthe original feels like. The Loeb translation is not poetry, oreven verse. It does not convey Catullus's stylistic carefulness,his wit, his comic self-deprecation, or his consciousness of Hellenisticliterary antecedents -- all of which are apparent in the Latin."Literal" translation may make Catullus sound like a clumsy writer.There are many conventional metaphors for translation that makeit sound fairly straightforward. Translators are often said to"carry over" a piece of work from one language to another, ordress it up in new clothes, or pour it into a new vessel. They must choose, in the Ciceronian cliché, between translating "wordfor word" and "sense for sense." But translation, perhaps especiallythe translation of poetry, is never really so simple. Meaning,form, and language are intertwined. A poem belongs to the culturein which it was produced; sense is not separable from particular words, their rhythms, their connotations, their history. One approach to this fundamentally insoluble problem is to tryto produce a version that is as lively as the original, even ifthis means importing concepts that are obviously modern and unclassical.
Sir John Denham, the seventeenth-century poet and classical translator,convincingly remarked that a poetic translator's business is notmerely to translate Language into Language, but Poesie into Poesie; and Poesie is of so subtile a spirit, that in pouring out of one Language, into another, it will all evaporate; and if a new spirit be not added in the transfusion, there will remain nothing but a Caput mortuum, there being certain Graces and Happinesses peculiar to every Language, which gives life and energy to the words.[Oh, ja!]
Green transfuses a new spirit into his versions of classical poetry,and so he allows his readers to intuit something of the spirit of the original, in all its alien complexity. Reading Green, I often want to quibble with his choice of words or phrasing, andI sometimes mourn the loss of specific allusions and proper names. But even the sense of niggling discomfort is itself an invitation to think harder about the original, and about the process of cultural and linguistic translation.

Green never allows his readers to be passive. He involves us in his own attempt to give spirit and imaginative life to a modern English Catullus. Green's translation should come with a mild caution: it will be most valuable to those who can read even a little of the original Latin. His modernizing glosses will be sometimes hazardous forthose who read only the right half of the page. In poem 64, Zephyrusis translated as "the west wind." One argument for this kind of gloss is that Zephyrus would have been immediately comprehensibleto any Roman reader, whereas a modern student may be left mystifiedby it, or forced to scrabble through the notes. But if ease ofcomprehension is gained, many connotations are lost. "Zephyr,"unlike "west wind," suggests that nature is magically alive. It matters, too, that Catullus uses the Greek name rather than theLatin equivalent, Favonius: the poem evokes a lost Greek world.Moreover, translating Zephyrus as "Zephyr" would have allowed those unfamiliar with the name to learn it, and thereby expand their imaginative horizons. [Hm] But Green's willingness to look for modern equivalents for classical terms is almost always enriching for a reader who looks across the page to the Latin original. The absences help one think harder about why the allusion was there in the first place, and sometimes bring home the impossibility of finding parallels in our own language for the specifics of Roman culture.
In poem 27, vintage Falernian wine becomes "vintage vino." Falernia was a region that produced strong, expensive, and highly regarded wines, praised by Horace,Pliny, and others. "Vino" is a good choice insofar as it suggests a comforting, homely drink [Det har även den rätta överklassanspelningen]; Falernian wine comes from the heart of the Italian countryside (in Campania, south of Rome). But vino also suggests foreign plonk, not wine suitable for a real celebration.There is really no exact equivalent for Falernian in modern Anglo-Americanculture: the wines we tend to think of as grand or celebratory are associated with non-English speaking countries. Wine does not belong to us, as it did to the Romans; wine reminds us not of our own heritage, but of somebody else's.
Green's method of translation reminds us that we can never understand the ancients without thinking about both their likeness and their difference from ourselves. There are many moments in Green's Catullus, as in his previous translations, where he imports markedly colloquial language, evenwhen there is no obvious slang in the original. In poem 43, salve-- the standard Latin greeting -- becomes "Hi there"; in poem104, Green adds a "no way," which corresponds to no words in the original (although it may help to convey an emphatic refusal);in poem 46, when Catullus's mind is praetrepitans ("tremblingin anticipation"), Green says, "My heart's in a tizzy," like afrazzled Monty Python housewife. [he, men Catullus har ett viss släktsakp med Monyt Pyton, à mon avis] Di magni in poem 53, literally"Great gods!" becomes the Bridget Jones-ism, "oh my god."
Sometimes the language seems to come from the 1960s: "A really dishy/ wife,""neat girl," and "shack up" all suggest that the promiscuous sexual antics of Republican Rome might have something in common withSwinging London. But there is also the Yorkshire burr of "t'other"in poem 57, while at the start of poem 8, the speaker admonishes himself in the fruity tone of an Etonian ex-army officer: "Wretched Catullus, stop this stupid tomfool stuff." Often the language is modern American ("jack off," "prick," "cute," "asshole," "dumbass,""fuckwits," "a backwoods hick," "hotshots"). Sometimes this Catullus sounds like a British schoolboy from a bygone age, who indulges in "rogering" and "expensive blowouts." The result is a voicethat veers about between wildly different registers, and whose language is already dated, sometimes extremely so.

In two essential ways, however, Green's promiscuous use of language is faithful to Catullus's Latin, in its fashion. First, Catullus himself was not a poet who stuck to a single linguistic register.He brought into written Latin the spoken voices of the bedroom and the street. He is full of colloquialisms, slang, dirty words,puns, neologisms, diminutives, and jokes. He shifts with unnervingspeed between elevated poetic language and conversational Latin.He was criticized in his own time for stylistic originality: Catullus and his circle were known to Cicero by the derogatory nicknames"New Poets" or "Innovators" (poetae novi or neoterics). [Omdiskuterat...]A translation that presents Catullus as a poet with a bland, unvarying styleand a limited vocabulary will be highly misleading.
Secondly, and more importantly, Green's mode of translation draws attention to itself. Nobody could mistake any poem from Green's Catullus -- even the most successful of them -- for an original composition by an Anglophone poet. This might be seen as a defect:Heidegger said that "the good translator disappears from view,even while preserving the text." But constant reminders of thetranslator's presence may allow for greater fidelity, of a kind,to the original. It is never possible to forget, reading Green,that Catullus wrote in Latin, and that our own culture is very different from that of ancient Rome.

Green's wide lexicon constantly makes the reader ask questions about the relationship of Anglo-American and Roman linguistic culture. English has a far larger lexicon than extant classicalLatin: the most recent Oxford English Dictionary includes over 600,000 words, whereas the Oxford Latin Dictionary has entries for only 40,000. But it does not necessarily follow that Englishspeakers can express fifteen times the number of thoughts andemotions that were available to the Romans. It may be that Latinspeakers, like Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty, made each of their words work harder than most English words do. Puella, for instance -- an essential word both in Catullus and in later Latin elegists such as Propertius and Ovid -- is the ordinary word for "girl." But it is also used for the poet's mistress or girlfriend (words with very different connotations in English), and for an unmarried but sexually active young woman. Catullususes the movingly stark but resonant phrase in the middle of poem eight: uale, puella. One could translate it, as Guy Lee does,"Goodbye, girl." This has a nice pop-song simplicity. But theneutrality of "girl" misses the suggestion that Catullus is saying goodbye to the woman he loves, his sexual partner and beloved;it misses, too, the implication that this is an attempted farewell to the seductions of femininity. Moreover, puella may have much less positive connotations. Catullus could be saying, "Farewell,darling," but he could also be saying, "Good riddance, whore."Green gives us a gentle dismissal: "So goodbye, sweetheart." But elsewhere in Green, a puella defututa is "that fucked-out little scrubber." [Jisses] Green's translation rightly reminds us that the connotations of puella run all the way from "sweetheart" to "scrubber."

Green is always extremely anxious to remain true to the technical qualities of his original, re-producing as closely as possiblethe Latin word-order, line-breaks, and rhythms. In Catullus, he sets himself a new and fascinating challenge: he tries to imitatein English all Catullus's meters -- sapphics, hendecasyllabics,iambics, choliambics, even galliambics. He remarks that "the only previous complete English-language version of Catullus with every poem done, as near as could be managed, in an equivalent of itsoriginal meter was that by Robinson Ellis (1871)." The word "equivalent"is always tricky in the context of translation. Lee uses a nine-syllableline quite successfully as an "equivalent" of Catullus's eleven-syllablehendecasyllabics. But Green is more ambitious: his hendecasyllabics,for example, are intended to re-produce the precise rhythmic patternof Catullus's meter, although substituting English stress forLatin quantity. Green is right to insist that the form of poetry is an essential part of its meaning. In choosing to write hendecasyllabics --his favorite "polymetric" verse form -- Catullus was re-inventingan obscure Greek lyric meter that may not have been used in Latin before. Catullus's use of an unfamiliar meter helped to make his voice sound startlingly new. Hendecasyllabics seem to have what Green calls a "dancing, perky rhythm": the meter had been usedfor Attic drinking songs, and it reinforces Catullus's light,conversational tone. The choice of meter also signals Catullus's literary affiliations. Catullan hendecasyllabics are the rhythmical mirror image of sapphics. Catullus's favored meter, like his use of the name "Lesbia," hints that he will be a twisted Roman version of Sappho. Green is not entirely successful in the technical feat he has undertaken. He relies heavily on various substitutions that Catullus allows himself only very rarely, such as the use of a ten -- ratherthan eleven -- syllable hendecasyllabic line. There are a lot of lines that scan properly only if one reads them with unnatural intonation. But, as Tennyson suggested in his own attempt to write Catullan hendecasyllabics, a poem "all composed in a metre ofCatullus" is bound to risk metrical error, "like the skater on ice that hardly bears him." No translation is ever perfect: traduttore, traditore.

If Green sometimes fails, it is more astonishing that he succeeds as wellas he does. Like Catullus himself, Green combines vast ambitionswith a likeable boyish insoucience. His energetic and bracingly intelligent translation will bring new readers to Catullus, andwill bring a new Catullus to readers who thought they knew him.It deserves, as Catullus said of his own book, to "outlast at least one generation!" [Yay!, Vivat!]

Julklapp, kanske?

Härifrån kommer recensionen:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Arcana mensae pontificalis

Ett sista-minuten julklappstips (utöver ett medlemskap i Svenska Klassikerförbundet) skulle kunna vara den skojiga boken "Buon Appetito, your Holiness; the secrets of the papal table", en charmerande påvehistorik och kokbok.
Recepten är emmellanåt ganska klumpiga med ingredienser som lard eller tripe, men är god inspiration, och det finns även en del vinhistorik. Boken avslutas med ett gäng rara polska recept!

Nåväl, det finns även en del recept på latin, då de hämtats från kokböcker som var samtida med påvarna i fråga. Detta recept ska vara samtida med Martinus V och är en apelsinomelett, en slags efterätt antar jag, tänkt för bl.a meretrices (not a nice word):

Sic fac friatem de pomeranciis: recipe ova percussa, cum pomeranciis ad libitum tuum, et extrahe inde sucum, et mitte ad illa ova cum zucaro; post hoc recipe oleum olive, vel semigne, et fac califeri in patella, et mitte illa ova intus. et erit pro ruffianis et meretricibus.

(Gör på detta sätt en omelett av apelsiner: ta det vispade ägget med apelsiner enligt din smak, trryck ut saften därifrån, och lägg detta till ägget med socker, tag därefter olivolja och/eller fett, hetta upp det i en stekpanna och lägg detta ägg däri. Och detta är för skojare, smickrare och horor.)

Ett alternativ till julbordet?

I boken finns även en suppa pro regibus- soppa för konungar, tortam pro nobilibus-paj för ädlingar, och herbulata pro copistiis et eorum uxoribus-grönsakspaj för kopister och deras fruar, samt denna omelett för prostituerade.

Man känner igen många ord, och notera det återkommande recipe-ta, vilket har blivit vårt recept i slutändan. detta gäller även medicinska recept, vilket en gång i tiden just var ett recept som apotekare skulle blanda ihop, och sålunda började Recipe...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Instituere aliquem

Så, jag var i Gbg en stor del av veckan och nu är allt fixat. Papprena är påskrivna, jag är introducerad för omvärlden och ARBETET har börjat.
Jag har rejäla krav på mig.
Har fått 2 böcker och X antal särtryck att läsa över julen, böckerna är tack och lov på engelska, men särtrycken är mest på fransk, tyska och italienska. Visst är det underbart att vara i en sådan miljö där det förutsätts att man behärskar dessa språk, men oh...
Lönen är duglig, typ vad jag förväntade mig. Skräckslagen men lycklig.

Senaste numret av Classica, Svenska Klassikerförbundets lilla skrift kom i dagarna och var lika charmigt som alltid. Erbjudanden om kurser, en liten krönika om Rom, avisering av nyutkomna böcker och lite modern latinsk poesi var en del av det som bjöds.

Svenska Klassikerförbundet har faktiskt en egen hemsida:

Notera hur ni får innehållet på latin då ni drar markören över index.
Gå med, gå med, gå med! Annars får ni inte Classica i brevlådan!

En vag latinkoppling har väl detta:

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Den särdeles bildade Eugene McCarthy har avlidit. Yahoo news rapporterar:

"When Eugene McCarthy ran for president in 1992, he explained his decision to leave the seclusion of his home in rural Woodville, Va., for the campaign trail by quoting Plutarch, the ancient Greek historian: "They are wrong who think that politics is like an ocean voyage or military campaign, something to be done with some particular end in view."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Vitae meae viri

Jag tänker helt enkelt härma den fantastiska Erika och även jag skriva en smula om männen i mitt liv. "Föremålen växlar, men kärleken består" inleder Erika med, och det är ju så sant.

En av de första riktigt stora var den ojämförlige Robert Graves och det var nog till stor del min passion för den karln som fick mig att bli latinist. Efter ett tag insåg jag dock att jag hellre ville vara Graves än att ha honom och gick så vidare.
En stor därefter var säkeligen Catullus, en utmärkt romans för den tidiga 20-årsåldern. Stora svulstiga känslor, hjärta och smärta, uppbrott och försoning. Jag skrev min C-uppsats om killen, det är en sann kärleksförklaring. I och med mitt detaljgranskande av pojken upptäckte jag hans brister, hur han satte kompisarna framför allt annat och att han faktiskt lät lite tillgjord och hysterisk ibland. Han kvävde mig helt enkelt. Jag stack, men vi har fortfarande fin kontakt, en smula bitterljuv, med många outtalade "tänk om.."
En grubblare som var särdeles bunden vid sin moder kom sedan, en skön kontrast till mitt ex. Augustinus var en plågad själ och inspirerade mig genom sitt lysande exempel till mycken självransakan, han hjälpte mig i mina grubblerier över trosfrågor och livsåskådning. Nu får jag honom att låta svår och tråkig, det var han inte, han hade en fantastisk humor och vi hade massor av små interna skämt för oss, typ "tolle lege, tolle lege". Ha!
Han hade även ett lite vilt förflutet, vilket, det inte ska förnekas, gjorde honom än mer intressant. Hans mor var dessutom, det lilla jag såg av henne, ett riktigt rivjärn.
Vidare var han fantastiskt bildad och delade dessutom min skepsis för grekiska. Det hela blev dock lite för intensivt och jag hade nog lite svårt för att han hade en son. Vår förbindelse bröts totalt när det var slut, men jag har ofta funderat på att höra av mig igen. Om du läser detta, call me!
En kort förbindelse med en äldre man, Cicero, var på många sätt givande, men ålderskillnaden kom emellan och jag insåg att jag inte gillade honom "på det sättet." Lite stiff. Vi är bara vänner numer.
Jag är nu i mitt mognaste förhållande någonsin. Jag ser hans brister och han ser mina, och vi älskar även dessa små quirks hos einander. Han är väldigt produktiv, det kan vara lite skrämmande iblan, men hämmas en gnutta av sin galna perfektionism. Vergilius förstår även folk på ett underbart vis, och han fattar verkligen kvinnor. Imponerande. Dessutom uttrycker han sig så vackert att ögonen tåras. Han är påhittig och uppfinningsrik och överraskar mig gärna. Trygg är han också. Jag har en känsla av att vi alltid kommer vara tillsammans. Han stöttar mig i allt.

Jag vill tillägna detta inlägg den latinföreläsare jag en gång hade (let's not name names, shall we) som var så kär, hutlöst kär i caesar att hon rodnade och blev knäsvag var gång hon tog upp honom. Oh, det var nästan obscent att se.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Orphei famuli

Lysande helg! Lysande konsert, strålande bal!

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Efter artikeln i dagens UNT måste jag bara säga att det är så härligt att vara antagen!

"Uppsala universitet konstaterar i sitt remissvar att det inte går att utesluta att skuggdoktorander finns."

No shit.

"Några säkra uppgifter om antalet skuggdoktorander finns inte. De som är eller har varit skuggdoktorander är av naturliga skäl inte särskilt angelägna att berätta detta. "

Det är lite som en könssjukdom.

Det hela:,1786,MC=1-AV_ID=452345,00.html

In honor av detta så är det nu dags att byta överskriften på denna blogg, jag tänker inte längre identifiera mig som skuggdoktorand.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Plus disceptationis

Debatten om den svenska humanioran rasar vidare.
Sörlin et al. har ett inlägg i dagens DN. Han försöker desperat nå upp till strömholmska höjder i sina lärda metaforer, men faller platt i mitt tycke:

"Vi behöver se över våra rekryteringsrutiner. En svensk institution för humaniora ter sig nu för tiden som en variant av Géricaults "Medusas flotte". Överåriga vikarier och timlärare klamrar sig fast vid den överbefolkade farkosten som vore den deras enda räddning; en dag kommer kanske fast anställningen & Fler borde packa och dra, börja karriären någon annanstans. Brist på rörlighet göder stagnation."

Att blanda en liknelse med Géricaults "Medusas flotte" med det talspråkliga uttrycket "packa och dra", det haltar en smula och vidare skulle Stickan aldrig göra så.

Han harpar åter och åter på de 7 Pro Futura stipendiaterna, och visst är det underbart, men de är ju bara 7 st! (Vi har f.ö en här i U-a, hon är fantastisk, och synnerligen välförtjänt)

Hela artikeln:

Förkyld, slutat arbeta, korresponderar med Gbg.