These sites usually talk about other things besides music These sites mainly talk about music
I'm going back to school
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Okay, not really. I am, though, checking out lectures from The Teaching Company.

"The Teaching Company brings engaging professors into your home or car through courses on DVD, audio CD, and other formats," their Web site says. "Since 1990, great teachers from the Ivy League, Stanford, Georgetown, and other leading colleges and universities have crafted over 200 courses for lifelong learners. We provide the adventure of learning, without the homework or exams."

After reading about them in a recent issue of American Way, and learning that libraries carry the series, I marched right down to a branch library and procured a library card.

My first lecture series is about the Odyssey of Homer.

I can't tell you how excited I am. This will surely be a lot less money than a Master's degree (of which I keep debating about getting).

Smarts, here I come.

Song of the Day
"Shorter Shorter" by Field Music
posted by pimplomat @ 12:34 PM  
  • At Wednesday, 31 May, 2006, Blogger Mr Atrocity said…

    If you're planning on reading "The Odyssey" in translation, I highly recommend Robert Fagles' version. He has also translated "The Iliad" and some of Aeschylus' plays all of which are also excellent, especially "The Iliad".

    As I can't read Ancient Greek (yet) I can't comment on the accuracy of the translation but as works of literature in their own right I liked them better than some of the other translations out there that I've read.

  • At Wednesday, 31 May, 2006, Blogger pimplomat said…

    Hi Mr. Atrocity,

    Thank you for the translation recommendation. I'm currently reading the Lattimore translation, because that is what I already had at home.

    Elizabeth Vandiver, the professor giving the lectures, prefers Lattimore.

    "The general consensus seems to be that if you're looking for ENGLISH POETRY, Fitzgerald's translation is the best," she said. "I've never been able to see it myself; I find Lattimore much more 'poetic,' and Fitzgerald just doesn't appeal to me. But that is a matter of personal taste and as such not really arguable. However, when you come to the question of ACCURACY--of which translation best represents Homer--I think Lattimore wins hands down, on all counts. His translation matches Homer's line for line, and he has done very little either padding or omitting; he translates formulae the same way each time they occur (which Fitzgerald does NOT do); and--though again, this is personal taste speaking--it seems to me he reproduces Homer's 'tone' much more successfully than any other translation I've ever seen. The very things Lattimore is often criticized for--archaic-sounding language, for instance--seem to me to be the ones which come closest to reproducing Homer's 'poetic dialect' in English.

    "And this leads me to Fagles. Fagles' translation has its moments; but from my point of view it is fatally flawed by its tendency to slip into colloquialisms and slang. I don't have a copy at hand, so I'm quoting from memory--but here are a couple of examples. Odysseus says that Circe, by telling him to avoid the Sirens, is 'cramping my style.' Hephaestus says
    (in Demodocus' song) 'you've made me an offer I can't refuse.'

    "Those things set my teeth on edge. More importantly, they date the translation terribly--they're like a red flag saying 'Done in America in the 1990s.' Most importantly, they're completely unlike Homer's Greek, which was not slang-y and colloquial. That sort of language would work to translate Aristophanes; but IMHO it just doesn't 'get' Homer."

    Next time I'm in the bookstore, I'll check out the other translations. I will admit that the Lattimore one is awkward at times.

  • At Wednesday, 31 May, 2006, Blogger Mr Atrocity said…

    That's a fair criticism but there are only about three of those grating colloquialisms in both "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" which isn't too distacting given the length of the poems.

    I find it interesting that the Lattimore is most accurate as this is one that I haven't read (it isn't easy to get hold of in the UK) so I shall try to track down a copy from somewhere.

    What I like about Fagles is that the poetry is hard and the verse has drive. Some of the others (Pope especiallly) can be a little "la-di-da" given that the majority of "The Iliad" especially is ultraviolence and sulking.

    Thanks for the quote - I shall hunt down a Lattimore, and as is mentioned in the quote (from Vandiver?), a lot of this comes down to personal taste when one is reading for pleasure rather than textual analysis.

  • At Thursday, 01 June, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've been listening to TTC lectures for a long time now.

    There was a course on global warming that was excellent. Also look for any music courses by Robert Greenberg. The 48 lecture "how to listen to and enjoy great music" is fabulous, and the dude is genuinely funny.

    Another course I quite liked was on Francis of Assisi. Taught by team of two profs, it was suprisingly engaging.


  • At Friday, 02 June, 2006, Blogger pimplomat said…

    Mr. Atrocity: Yes, that quote was from Vandiver. And I didn't realize that Lattimore wasn't available worldwide. As for Pope, I don't think we even use his translations in the U.S. schools (at least not the ones I attended). It's either Lattimore or Fitzgerald mostly.

    Brando: You commented! I'll seek out the Greenberg music series as soon as I'm finished with the Odyssey one. Thank you for the recommendation.

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