The Strange Case of Leopardi

The Moral Essays

by Giacomo Leopardi, translated by Patrick Creagh

Operette Morali: Essays and Dialogues

by Giacomo Leopardi, translated by Giovanni Cecchetti
Universally recognized in his own country as one of the greatest of Italian writers, outside Italy Leopardi has uncertain status. In the nineteenth century he enjoyed a European reputation. Nietzsche praised him, Arnold and Sainte-Beuve admired and wrote about him, but in the present century his fame has receded. Although …

Giants in Dwarfs’ Jackets

Paradiso: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Book 3 commentary by

a new verse translation with introduction and Allen Mandelbaum
Translation becomes interesting once it transcends what is now taken to be its primary function, that of providing those who don’t have the original with a substitute text. This remains and has always been an essential service, a difficult but relatively humble one. Translation shows its paces when it is …


The Complete Works of Horace

translated by Charles E. Passage

The Essential Horace: Odes, Epodes, Satires, and Epistles

translated by Burton Raffel, foreword and afterword by W.R. Johnson
Two more vessels land up on the Sirens’ coast, strewn with the wreckage of their countless predecessors. What is it that drives people to translate Horace, the most translated and least translatable of poets? Versions exist in their thousands, the successes can be fitted into a few pages. Surely, though, …

The Return of Virgil

The Aeneid

by Virgil, translated by Robert Fitzgerald
A great poem? Yes, of course, but not in the very front rank, not quite in the same class as the Iliad and The Divine Comedy. So, I think, the common judgment on the Aeneid now runs. Eliot struck the note when, contrasting Tennyson’s “Ulysses” with the twenty-sixth canto of …

The Last of the Modernists

The Dying Gaul and Other Writings

by David Jones, edited by Harman Grisewood

Introducing David Jones

edited by John Matthias
It is unusual that a poet as considerable as those who know his work believe David Jones to be should remain so little known for so long. It can hardly be mere chance, though chance may enter into it. The problem (itself one we are critically not quite at …

Lowell and the Furies

The Oresteia of Aeschylus

translated by Robert Lowell
Lowell called his reworkings of foreign poems imitations. As a purely descriptive term, appropriations would do equally well. Where Pound’s translations are selfless, so many attempts to find voices through which the dead could speak, Lowell’s are (again neutrally) egotistical. All his poets talk Lowell and where they won’t or …

Cracking the Code

After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation

by George Steiner
Translation, it might be argued, is something that should be done rather than discussed. “Is life worth living? Depends on the liver. La vie vaut-elle la peine? Question de foie.” Very neat, but what is there to say here that is not self-evident? Despite the long history of this craft, …