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Odes
Horace
Translated and with commentary by David R. Slavitt

Wisconsin Studies in Classics
Patricia A. Rosenmeyer, Laura McClure, and Mark Stansbury-O’Donnell, Series Editors

“Horace is the quintessential lyric poet of the Silver Age, the poet of wit, urbanity, sophistication, and a unique balance of irony and ingenuous passion. David Slavitt is just such a writer in American English. He has given us in this translation an experience equivalent to the excitement of reading Horace in Latin.”
—Daniel Mark Epstein, translator of The Bacchae

The Odes of Horace are a treasure of Western civilization, and this new English translation is a lively rendition by one of the prominent poet-translators of our own time, David R. Slavitt. Horace was one of the great poets of Rome’s Augustan age, benefiting (as did fellow poet Vergil) from the friendship of the powerful statesman and cultural patron Maecenas. These Odes, which take as their formal models Greek poems of the seventh century BCE—especially the work of Sappho and Alcaeus—are the observations of a wry, subtle mind on events and occasions of everyday life. At first reading, they are modest works but build toward a comprehensive attitude that might fairly be called a philosophy. Charming, shrewd, and intimate, the voice of the Odes is that of a sociable wise man talking amusingly but candidly to admiring friends.

This edition is also notable for Slavitt’s extensive notes and commentary about the art of translation. He presents the problems he encountered in making the translation, discussing possible solutions and the choices he made among them. The effect of the notes is to bring the reader even closer to the original Latin and to understand better how to gauge the distance between the two languages.

David R. Slavitt is the author of more than one hundred books including novels, poetry, reportage, and translations of Horace, Petrarch, Boethius, Sophocles, Lucretius, Dante, and others. He is coeditor of the Johns Hopkins Complete Roman Drama series and the Penn Complete Greek Drama series. His own most recent verse collection is Civil Wars. Horace (65–8 BCE) was a Roman lyric poet of the age of Caesar Augustus. His surviving other works include the Satires, Epodes, Epistles, and Ars Poetica.

 

 


 

Praise

“An unconventional and boldly original work.”
—David Mulroy, translator of Oedipus Rex

 

 

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August 2014
LC: 2013038599 PA
168 pp.  5 x 8

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ISBN 978-0-299-29854-8
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