Horace: Odes
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2005
Kenneth Quinn's edition of Horace's odes is the best edition and commentary in print aimed at undergraduate-level classes. I have taught it myself a number of times over the years and have found it perfectly acceptable. What I want to protest is Amazon's habit of pasting faulty information onto its books' websites. For instance, when one clicks on Quinn's edition of Horace, one gets a web-page that offers a bit of the translation of the first ode, some "editorial reviews," and one reader review---all of which refer not to Quinn's edition and commentary but to J.D. McClatchy's "Horace: The Odes: New Translations of Contemporary Poets." I have often noticed that when one clicks on a particular translation of, say, Homer or Vergil, the Amazon site will shower one with blurbs and reader reviews of some *other* translation, a fact that can easily confuse the unwary. In this case, a prospective reader who wants to know more about a particular edition (i.e. Latin text, with no translation) and commentary of Horace is being treated to all sorts of information about a very different bird entitely: a *translation* of the odes. This is getting silly. Please fix this, Amazon!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2003
This is one of the finest translations of Horace ever compiled, all done by modern poets. Each translation seem done with care, more for the spirit of the poem than its transliterative meaning. The method of approaching Horace, by distributing the odes among some forty poets, keeps the timeless beauty of his poetry fresh. This is also a bilingual edition of Horace, which is an indispensable condition. Harold Bloom concurs that this is the best English translation of Horace's Odes.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 6, 2006
If you love poetry, treat yourself to this spelendid collection. Horace's Latin is too difficult for most of us whose high school education is distant. These translations are never less than readable and often beautiful. This may be a book that reminds us of why Horace has been read and loved for two thousand years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2014
Horace has always been lauded as one of the touchstone poets of the Western world. He has been well served by a variety of excellent translators over the centuries. My particular favorite is a Penguin paperback publication. The translator, W.G.Shepherd, has maintained the highest standards of accuracy in his translation so the reader is assured of receiving Horace's actual meaning. Since Shepherd is himself a published poet, he is keenly sensitive to language and his translations are highly poetic. These are virtues which many other translations embody. However, J.D.McClatchy's was conceived very differently and so the results are also very different. Unlike the Penguin edition, this one has the Latin original on the left-hand side, so those with training in Latin can make some comparisons or at least examine some of the choices contemporary translators make. My assessment is tentative and perhaps too impulsive, but I would say if you want only accuracy, stay with a book like Shepherd's. However, if you want the experience of great poetry, go with McClatchy's. It will not disappoint you; rather it will exhilarate you, make you feel you have eavesdropped on Horace and experienced with him the creative process.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2009
This collection of creative translations by some of the best of contempory poets is marvellous. For those of us who are somewhat Latin-challenged, the Latin on facing pages is very helpful.
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on August 12, 2014
When people look for a "bilingual" edition of poetry, and not an English-only translation version, they mostly intend to appreciate the "original" poems through studying them with the "help" of the translated texts provided in the facing pages. Then the translation here should serve as a kind of "guide", just giving the readers ideas of which words are there in the original poem and what the poet wrote "literally", rather than dare to replace the original poem by giving interpretational, personally-engaging, and "show-off"y rewriting of the poem in English. Many of the translations by very-well-known contemporary poets in this edition practically mar this important technical process that the readers try to adopt in order to "appreciate" the original poem in the original language & sound.
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on May 30, 2015
Hit and miss. Some of the translations glow; some even streak across the page like a rocket; others are simply fair. Many of these translations are "dynamic equivalence" translations--that is, they aim for the spirit of Horace, not necessarily the poet's actual words. The results are sometimes like looking at old paintings that've been restored: I know the art is an old masterpiece, but I can never forget that it's been redone by some modern hand.

If you like ancient *and* modern poetry, this Horace should please you. If you're more of a purist, caveat emptor.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2013
Having read a lot about Horace and a few translations of his poems, I'm sure he deserves 5 stars. I'm writing this review in order to warn the prospective buyer to read book descriptions very carefully and make sure what editions are discussed in reviews. I was careless and assumed this was a bilingual translation in Latin and English. I relied on the negative reviewer who complained that the translations were too liberal! Actually, there are no translations at all in this book. The text of the poems are in Latin only. Unless you had more than the high school Latin I had, or want to use this book to help you learn Latin, I would not buy this edition. This is only one of many mistakes in the compilation of customer reviews on Amazon. The people who organize these reviews should be fired. Read all the descriptions and reviews very carefully. I did not do so and am stuck with a book I can't use.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
I did not enjoy this book. The translations were far too liberal for my tastes. Good concept, bad execution. Meh.
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