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The Epistles of Horace Hardcover – August, 2001

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Hardcover, August, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Best known to English readers as the author of the imposing Odes, Horace began and ended his career with the more personal and metrically less complex Satires and Epistles (the famous "Ars Poetica" among them). Having tackled the Odes (as well as Virgil's Eclogues), Ferry here uses a base of iambic pentameter as an equivalent to Horace's hexameter, and the freeness of the translation gives free reign to Horace's elegance and aphoristic wisdom. While the volume offers the Latin text on the facing page, those with a more scholarly bent are apt to be somewhat disappointed: no line correspondence or facilitating line numbers, and only a minimal glossary and notes are provided. And the translation may be a little too free. A passage truncated by Ferry as: "It's that I follow whatever is bad for me/ And shun the things that might be good for me," is given in full by Jacob Fuchs (Horace's Satires and Epistles) as: "I seek what injures me, flee what I think may help./ The wind blows me: in Rome I love Tibur, in Tibur Rome." Ferry's language is certainly smoother, but some readers may not know what they're missing. Still, most will find that Ferry's casually metrical renderings get the spirit and formal feeling right. (Aug. 13) Forecast: Ferry's selected poems, Of No Country I Know (Univ. of Chicago), recently won $10,000 prizes from the Academy of American Poets and the Library of Congress. While not having quite Robert Pinsky's (or even Robert Fagles's) name recognition as a poet-translator, Ferry's versions, backed by the FSG brand, should sell steadily and solidly, reeling in most browsers and comparison shoppers for the foreseeable future.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Horace's hexameter verse letters to his patron Maecenas, the Emperor Augustus, and his friends, including the famous "To the Pisos" (Ars Poetica), a classic statement on Roman poetics, are masterpieces of wit and wry wisdom. Latin inflections give Horace a conciseness and rhetorical snap that allow him to be both sententious and light at the same time. Ferry (emeritus, English, Wellesley Coll.; Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations) comes well equipped to translate Horace, having produced a version of The Odes of Horace as well as The Eclogues of Virgil. He renders The Epistles in fluent iambic pentameter. Because of the uninflected nature of English, his translations are accurate but less concise and rhetorically sharp. Smith Bovie's modern verse translations (1959. o.p.) come closer to Horace's tone, while Ferry is closer to the word. Ferry's version provides the Latin on the facing page and includes brief notes to identify names. Recommended for both public and academic libraries. T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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