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The Poems of Catullus: A Bilingual Edition 1 Blg Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520253865
ISBN-10: 0520253868
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Peter Green is an outstanding translator. The reader’s excited anticipation of pleasure and instruction on receiving a new translation of a Latin poet by Green is not disappointed. This is a labor of love which makes Catullus accessible to the Latinless reader and more familiar to those who can read Latin."—Susan Treggiari, Stanford University

"For almost half a century Peter Green has been one of the finest of all modern translators of classical verse. His Catullus is well up to his usual form—recapturing for a contemporary audience the wit, malice, erudition and erotic charm of the Latin original."—Mary Beard, author of The Parthenon

From the Back Cover

"Peter Green is an outstanding translator. The reader's excited anticipation of pleasure and instruction on receiving a new translation of a Latin poet by Green is not disappointed. This is a labor of love which makes Catullus accessible to the Latinless reader and more familiar to those who can read Latin."--Susan Treggiari, Stanford University"For almost half a century Peter Green has been one of the finest of all modern translators of classical verse. His Catullus is well up to his usual form--recapturing for a contemporary audience the wit, malice, erudition and erotic charm of the Latin original."--Mary Beard, author of "The Parthenon
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 359 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 Blg edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520253868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520253865
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Georgia C. VINE VOICE on November 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am not a Latin scholar, so I can't judge the translation itself. (This collection has a parallel layout, so you can see the Latin original alongside the English translation.) Peter Green's introduction clearly explains the route he took (rhtyhm/meter, not meaning) to guide his translation, and I was startled that his remarks were not at all stuffy or full of academic exclusivity. The historical and poetic background included makes it much easier to approach Catullus, and I am disappointed that there are not more texts that strive to be so accessible. I took a college class where Catullus was discussed briefly, but without knowing about his complicated personal life and the details of his era, he really just came across as a disgusting jerk tormenting others. This is far from the full story, as Green's introduction informs us. Catullus is humanized and allows you to see the motivations and even sense behind his vulgarity.

Green's commentary and annotations also make it easier to feel even close to Catullus. Names of people mentioned are referenced and notes on each poem elucidate obscure references. I particularly enjoyed the glossary of "dramatis personae" because it gave a sense of immediacy to Catullus' long-gone world. He was writing about real people, and if you know a bit about these characters, you can see why Catullus had to say what he had to say.

I'm very happy with this presentation of his work, as I wondered whether anyone would be so honest AND lyrical today, and why poetry isn't fun anymore. A lot of Catullus is a good time, and when he's miserable, it's real, raw and disgusting human misery. This is poetry for all the experiences that maybe others felt too naked to write about.
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Format: Paperback
i am currently translating the extant works of Catullus, in aid of which i have 6 different translations. Peter Green's is the one that is indispensable, as well as the most pleasurable to read for its own sake.

for example, on the page facing his translation is the Latin text, a sine qua non for appreciating Catullus's brilliance.

there is also a glossary that explains the significance of each proper name to the poem in which it appears. and, most helpfully, there are notes to each poem that summarize not only Green's wise interpretation, but various views by other Catullus scholars.

the translation itself strikes a perfect balance, to my taste, of the literal Latin, Catullus's meaning and intent, and elegance (without stuffiness or pretension).

if you are going to buy only one book of Catullus's poems, or are thinking about adding to your collection of them, this is the one to get.
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Format: Paperback
Having encountered the poet Catullus now in both Gilbert Highet's "Poets in a Landscape," and here in Peter Green's fascinating work, I must confess that I am still not a huge fan, though this bi-lingual edition makes about as thorough a case as possible for his continuing study. There is an underlying nastiness to a great deal of Catullus' poetry that I find off-putting. However, what's fascinating about Green's work is his attention to the METER of Roman poetry - something I have not seen addressed with such attention anywhere else. While most people translate for sense, Green makes a convincing argument that the rhythm is as inextricably bound to the words as the sense. The great problem for the translator is, Latin meters are so unusual for modern readers. In this sense, Green's notes about Latin's metrical patterns are as absorbing as his translations, and this, coupled with the presentation of the Latin text side by side with his translations, makes the volume well worth having. Green has obviously spent a lifetime studying not only Catullus (whom he clearly loves) as well as the other Latin greats. His enthusiasm is infectious, and any student of the classics or poetry will feel a debt of gratitude for his lifetime of scholarship.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You can't understand the draw of these poems unless you hear them recited properly in Latin. They are like rap: they have rhythm. They don't rhyme. I can't read much Latin, so these were largely impenetrable. This translation into English attempts to preserve the rhythm of the original (and fails: it is impossible) and in the attempt it fails to be a tool in deciphering the Latin. A valiant attempt, and one that makes it possible to read just the English and get a hint as to what Catullus was getting at. But you don't "get" Catullus unless you read him in Latin, and this translation will hinder rather than help that. I would have preferred a straightforward line-by-line translation, so I could read it in Latin and then see what I just read. That's what I was trying to do with this, but it doesn't work with this translation. Take, for example, poem 67:"super alta uectus Attis celeri rate maria" which Green translates as "Over deep sees, Attis, carried on a rapid catámaran" . . . I get why he translated it that way, and it is an ingenious preservation of the rhythm of the original without totally losing the meaning. But 1: he had to butcher the pronunciation of the word catamaran to get it to fit and 2: that word doesn't exist in the original anyway, nor does the word boat or ship or skiff or anything like it. It's in their for the rhythm, and it's only justification is the word "uectus" which (I guess?) means to be drawn or carried (is that even a verb? You see why I would have preferred a straight translation.) Anyway, if you plan to read the English and just dip your toe in the Latin, this is probably perfect. If you read perfect Latin and want to see an ingenious translation that preserves the rhythm of the original, this will be a delight. If you want to read the Latin original and consult the English so that you can understand it, look elsewhere.
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