Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Aeneid Through Gritted Teeth

Our annual hol. is only a matter of days away now and I am really, really looking forward to getting away from the daily grind and take in some Mediterranean sun and life. Funnily enough, the school holidays bring an even more rigid routine to my day: necessary if I am to achieve anything before nightfall! I have stuck to my pledge to make our day a combination of mental, physical and leisure activity to counteract the natural predisposition to loaf aimlessly and then feel slightly nauseous by tea-time. It seems to have worked rather well, with only minimal bickering and everyone getting a couple of hours to do their own thing, be it gaming, reading or in my case translating Book II of the Aeneid. Again my decision to complete only one photostatted page of text per day (circa 25 lines c/w transcription of vocab. and a 'fair'(-ish!) draft) has proved to be a sensible and achievable amount. Thus I am now at line 720 (out of 804) with only two days of feasible study time before we fly. Realistically, Friday will be commited to rounding up stuff for packing, ordering currency, final washing/ironing etc. so that leaves tomorrow.
I could get up very early tomorrow and finish it off - that would give me a good 'clean desk' feeling (so important for that true holiday feeling!). Problem is, I'm starting to feel a real aversion to the task in hand, just like I did when I was finishing off my undergrad. dissertation and the MA thesis. Oh dear. The barely suppressed resentment, the gritted teeth.
It's not that I don't really enjoy the Aeneid - on the contrary, it's been a revelation to me, the poetry is fantastic. It's just that when it's reduced to a mandatory task to be endured and completed, I get seriously mentally itchy. My own fault, I know, I know - I am the only person who is standing over me arms folded, tutting loudly. So....should I make a final push to finish off BkII, or let it go until I get back? Can't decide, which is why I am blogging not translating. What a waster!

Interestingly enough, as I have been working through the poem, I have had two translations at my side as a guide (having abandoned the prescribed West version earlier on): the Loeb Fairclough/Gould (correctly in the historic present, occasionally conspicuously poetic and archaic - not necessarily a bad thing), and a cheap-as-chips 'Wordsworth Classics' translation by Michael J. Oakley. This latter has proved astoundingly close to the original Latin, astounding in that I've never been recommended this translation or heard of Oakley. Occasionally I've had some minor quibbles (the temple of Ceres is itself described as 'forsaken', rather than it being described as 'of forsaken Ceres' [BkII:715], despite the obvious agreement of 'desertae' with 'Cereris' rather than with 'templum'), but all in all I heartily commend it.

What's the betting that I'll be up at first light tomorrow? Oh, we'll see.....

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