[Edling] International Linguistic Association Monthly Lecture: Saturday, March 14th

Maureen T. Matarese mmatarese at bmcc.cuny.edu
Thu Feb 19 17:40:17 UTC 2015

Please excuse the cross-posting.

International Linguistic Association (Free) Monthly Lecture Series

March 14th, 11am


Speaker: Edwin D. Floyd, University of Pittsburgh

Title : Indo-European and Homer's 'delicate feasting of dogs, of all birds' (Iliad 1.5)

A question that I frequently face, when introduced as "specializing in Homer", is "What is the best translation?" The assumption seems to be that a Homerist's main function is to choose between translations - and that has long annoyed me, as relegating any really scholarly engagement with Homer to some secondary status. Approaching the problem head-on, my talk considers more than 70 English versions of Iliad 1.1-7, along with more than 30 French ones. (Those numbers may seem excessive, but they are literally correct.) My main focus is whether one reads pasi "all" or daita "feast" in line 5. The reading "all", although generally considered more authentic, nevertheless seems pretty colorless; in fact, more than half of my translators seem to wish it weren't there, since they do not directly translate either pasi or daita. Conversely, Lattimore, in the translation included in the title of my lecture, includes both "feasting" and "all".

Traditional scholarly wisdom holds that only one of the two Greek words could be Homer's original text. Actually, though, Lattimore's approach (also adopted, more recently, by Muirden and Powell) is not so wishy-washy: both texts are somehow "Homeric". Daita resonates with the funeral feast for Hector (24.802), and pasi is crucially associated with an Indo-European phrase for heavenly rivers, diipeteos, found at Il. 17.263-265. Moreover, about a dozen translations, by mentioning "birds of the air" or "oiseaux du ciel" or the like at 1.5, adumbrate some connection, apparently missed by previous scholarly commentary, of 1.5 with 17.263-265. I did not expect such a result; however, as Lombardo (citing Ezra Pound) suggests in the preface to his own Iliad translation, the translator may usefully complement the scholar's understanding of a Greek text.

Saturday, March 14, 2015 11 AM - 12 PM

Borough of Manhattan Community College

Room: Richard Harris Terrace (next to the bookstore)

199 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007

Contact: Maureen Matarese, mmatarese at bmcc.cuny.edu www.ilaword.org<http://www.ilaword.org>?

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