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The Complete Odes and Epodes (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – December 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Latin (translation) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

David West is Professor Emeritus of Latin at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne & Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow. Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace) was born in late 65 BC at Venusia in Apulia. He served on the staff of Brutus' army until the defeat at Philippi in 42 BC. On returning to Rome he found his father dead and his property confiscated but obtained a secretarial post in the treasury. His poetry impressed Virgil, who introduced him to the great patron Maecenas in 38 BC. From now on Horace had no financial worries and moved freely among the leading poets and statesmen of Rome; after Virgil's death in 19 BC he was virtually Poet Laureate.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; 1 edition (December 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199555273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199555277
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.7 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
[This review refers to the Oxford World's Classics
edition of Horace's THE COMPLETE ODES AND EPODES,
and the "Secular Hymn" -- "Translated with an Introduction
and Notes by David West."]
It is always wise, if funds permit, to purchase more
than one edition (translation) of some of these classic
works. To read several translations that are well done
is like experiencing the same piece of classical music
so well interpreted but with different style, flair, and
felicity by different orchestras and conductors.
The Oxford World's Classics series are excellent for
their formatting, the scholarship, and the wonderful
Explanatory Notes at the back which give such helpful
context and understanding.
You know that you are in the company of an interesting
translator (as well as the company of Horace, the poet,
himself) when you read something like this in the
"Introduction":
"Those who know Horace well, find that of all dead
writers there is none who is a closer friend, who speaks
more usefully in easy and in difficult times, and none
whom they would more happily sit down to drink with.
* * * We have seen glimpses of [Horace's] humour and
studied his tactical deftness as a client poet. His
poetry is steeped also in the affairs of the day. He
is interested in those he addresses and sensitive and
affectionate towards his friends. He has an eye for
metaphor and a taste for the surreal. * * * The sound
is unique, setting against elaborate, fixed metres the
music of powerful speech.
Read more ›
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By "old_guy" on June 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Okay - so Horace is notoriously allusive, each line packed with meaning. What that calls for, it would seem, is a translation with as many pages of notes as of text, if not more, and a line-by-line gloss in the back.
West in his Oxford World's Classic gives better annotation than most (the Penguin or Modern Library edition), but still could stand to do a lot more. One suspects he wants people to buy his expanded editions of the Odes.
The translations, as poetry, will not knock you off your feet, but they do better than the looser Michie versions at letting you know what Horace more or less wrote. (I find Michie's unrhymed versions very fine as poetry, but the rhymed ones are too glib to bear.) And West's aren't quite as soporific as Shepard's versions in Penguin.
Basically, it seems, I need to learn Latin. And if any of you eager reviewers knows a good English-language commentary on the Odes, don't keep it a secret.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was a revelation to me. I don't have any background in Latin but have always enjoyed reading literature, especially poetry. No one had told me what an influence Horace had on the English and French poetry that I have always enjoyed! I kept recognizing things that later writer copied and imitated from him, because he is so lovely. He also is a great poet for a thinking person to read. Mature and interesting. The translations seemed to be good. I had a friend who reads Latin listen to a few and she said they were very accurate. When she read the original aloud to me, they sounded much more lovely than the English. But I suppose that is normal.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Johannes Platonicus on May 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
After the defeat of Brutus at Phillipi in 42 BC, Horace was allotted the time to devote himself to poetry at his newly granted Sabine estate under the patronage of Gaius Maecenas, a reputed "scion of Etruscan kings." During this time, Horace's literary genius was able to flourish in the Sabine countryside, while he remained in dutiful correspondence with a brilliant circle of poets, including the great Virgil. These poems, collected here in David West's translation of Horace's "Odes and Epodes," are some of the most charming, warm, lovable, and humorous works to be found among the Roman poets of the Augustan Age, even though they may be equally full of both piercing sarcasm and fierce invective. In the Epodes Horace brings forth, through his unprecedented use of the Greek iambic meter in Latin form, the praise due to his patron Maecenas, the mild reflections upon the pastoral life, the pangs of love and war, and the personal sorrows of the defeat suffered at Phillipi. In the Odes, Horace moves on from the iambic meter to the early Greek genre of lyric poetry such as may be found in the works of poets like Alchaeus and Sappho. Furthermore, in the Odes, Horace muses upon friendship and relations with women, offers hymns to the gods and honor to Augustus, and at the same time reveals the typical Epicurean's "love for the moment." With the addition of Suetonius' brief but very important "Life of Horace" and the noble "Secular Hymn" dedicated to the dignity of the Augustus' new state, David West's translation will be a welcoming edition for everyone.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Glodek on October 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
Horace is one of the greatest and most influential poets in history, and surely a "must-read" for students and afficianados of poetry or the ancient world. In this Penguin edition we have a beautiful translation by W.G. Shepherd. I don't have any Latin myself, so I cannot speak to the accuracy of the translation, but I find Shepherd much more beautiful to read than the David West translation put out by Oxford World's Classics. The West is probably more straightforward and easy to understand, however. I would be interested to hear what other people who have read both have to say.
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