d.m. Donald Carne-Ross

Seen on the Classics list:

Translation is an art form worthy of academic criticism, Donald S. Carne-Ross argued in literary essays, but as a reader he preferred a writer’s own words, even if they were written in ancient Greek.

“To get really close to a poem is possible only if one is reading it in the original,’’ he wrote in the preface to his 1985 book, “Pindar.’’

Such intimacy is possible for multilingual scholars such as Mr. Carne-Ross, who could read in Latin, Greek, Italian, and French. For those fluent only in English, however, translation opens the door, and he wrote exacting critiques of how effectively different writers coaxed poetry from one language to another.

A professor emeritus at Boston University, where he taught in the classical studies department for about three decades, Mr. Carne-Ross died Jan. 9 in the Newton and Wellesley Alzheimer Center in Wellesley of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88 and had lived in Byfield for many years.

“He was an absolutely brilliant classicist and his range was really extraordinary,’’ said John Silber, a former president of Boston University. Silber was a professor at the University of Texas in the 1960s when he recruited Mr. Carne-Ross to teach in Austin, and Silber later persuaded him to join the BU faculty.

Best known for his essays, Mr. Carne-Ross was also a translator. He rendered into English works by Pindar, a lyric poet in ancient Greece, and more contemporary writings such as short stories by the Italian author Italo Calvino.

“Pindar is regarded by many to be untranslatable,’’ Silber said of the poet’s work, composed about 2,500 years ago. “Well, it was when Donald Carne-Ross got his hands on it.’’

While Mr. Carne-Ross wrote criticism that was aimed at scholars, his writing could be accessible to those for whom reading poetry is just a pastime.

“He never spoke narrowly for academics, even though he was working on academic topics,’’ said Kenneth Haynes, an associate professor of comparative literature and classics at Brown University. Haynes was a student of Mr. Carne-Ross, and then became a publishing colleague.

“He always envisioned a general reader,’’ Haynes said, adding with a laugh, “one who knew six or seven languages, of course.’’

In a postscript to Christopher Logue’s translation of “Patrocleia of Homer,’’ published in 1963, Mr. Carne-Ross discussed the challenges translators face.

“The point about good translation . . . is not that it ‘gives you the original,’ ’’ he wrote. “It doesn’t and can’t and shouldn’t try to. . . . What a translation does is to turn the original into something else.’’

Nevertheless, he argued, translators should be faithful to the century in which the original text was written.

A British citizen, Donald Selwyn Carne-Ross was born in Havana and his family returned to England when he was a child. Accomplished at languages and literature as a young student, he liked to tell the story of how future Nobel laureate T.S. Eliot invited him to tea once when Mr. Carne-Ross was only 18.

He attended Magdalen College at Oxford University, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, and he served as a translator with the Royal Air Force during World War II.

After the war, he helped found a literary journal and was a producer for the Third Programme on BBC radio, arranging readings by poets such as W.H. Auden and Ted Hughes.

A marriage in England when he was young ended in divorce, according to Teresa Iverson, his longtime companion. A subsequent marriage to Luna Wolf, a book editor, also ended in divorce.

Mr. Carne-Ross immigrated to the United States in the late 1950s. He taught at New York University, then moved to the University of Texas at Austin. There, he helped William Arrowsmith, a classicist and translator, launch Arion, a humanities and classics journal now published by Boston University. While in Texas, Mr. Carne-Ross also helped found the National Translation Center and its journal, Delos.

When Silber brought him to Boston University in the early 1970s, Mr. Carne-Ross was a founding member of an interdepartmental studies program. He became a professor emeritus in 2002.

Haynes edited about a dozen essays by Mr. Carne-Ross and collected them in the book “Classics and Translation,’’ which is to be published this summer.

The past, near and distant, held an enduring allure for Mr. Carne-Ross. He never switched from typewriters to computers, never owned a television, and in the preface to “Instaurations,’’ a 1979 collection of his essays, he made clear his affection for Ancient Greek poetry and stories.

“More than any other language, to my ears, it says what is: what has been, is now, will be,’’ he wrote.

“Unlike other animals, man is born to no world and must constantly build a world in which he feels at home,’’ Mr. Carne-Ross wrote in “The Scandal of Necessity,’’ the book’s final essay. “Literature is one of the means by which he builds his world. . . . Greek poetry peoples the empty spaces of earth and sea and air with a company of sacred beings, so that every aspect of the natural world is embodied and named.’’

A memorial service will be held at 5:30 p.m. on April 22 in The Castle on the Boston University campus.

Also Seen: A Less-Than-Disarming Story

Here’s a weird one:

When the owner of a stone sculpture shop Tien Hieu in the stone sculpture village of Non Nuoc in the Central province of Da Nang reported a hand was missing from his stone statue of a young lady, police found that a fan of the Ancient Greek statue Venus de Milo was the culprit.

The statue,“ Thieu nu om hoa” (Young girl carries flowers), was being displayed on the flower street Bach Dang, in front of the Korean market, in Da Nang during Tet holidays. Early Saturday morning, the owner of the statue noticed one hand of his statue had been cut off.

The hand thief, Huynh Ngoc La Quang, 47, of Hai Chau district, said the statue worth VND35 million (US$1,800) was not beautiful enough with two hands, so he removed one. In his mind the secret of women’s beauty lay in the Venus de Milo’s missing arms so he took a hammer to the statue to make her more like Venus.

At present, the police at Hai Chau 1 ward are finishing the profile of Quang and will forward it to their seniors for further investigation.

via Venus fan removes statue’s hand | SGGP.

Citanda – Zeus: King of the Gods

Another comic of interest … here’s a review from Newsarama

The commonality between the Greek heroes and gods of myth and the twentieth century comic book superheroes has been noticed, expressed and remarked upon so many times that it has long since become a cliché.

It therefore shouldn’t come as much of a surprise how at home the Olympians are in the native medium of the superheroes, and yet George O’Connor’s Zeus: King of the Gods (First Second), is an amazingly graceful story. It may technically be an adaptation, but it reads like an original work.

… more

via Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » Review: Zeus: King of the Gods.

Also seen: Conventiculum Dickinsonienseis

The Conventiculum Dickinsonienseis a new total immersion seminar in active Latin. It is specifically designed for all cultivators of Latin who wish to gain some ability to express themselves ex-tempore in correct Latin. A wide range of people can benefit from the seminar: professors in universities, teachers in secondary schools, graduate students, undergraduates and other lovers of Latin, provided that anyone who considers applying has a solid understanding of the grammatical essentials of the Latin language. A minimum requirement is knowledge of Latin grammar and the ability to read a Latin text of average complexity, even if using a dictionary often. No previous experience in speaking Latin is necessary. Sessions will be aimed exclusively at developing ability in speaking, understanding others speaking, reading and discussing texts in the target language. After the first evening, Latin will be the exclusive language used in the seminar. Participants will be involved in intensive activity each day from morning until early evening (with breaks for lunch, etc., of course), and will discuss themes ranging from topics in books, literature and art to the routines and activities of daily life. The seminar will illustrate not only how active Latin can be useful for teachers, but also how cultivating an active facility in Latin can benefit any cultivator of Latin who wishes to acquire a more instinctive command of the language and a more intimate relationship with Latin writings.

via Dickinson College – Teacher Workshops. (also with info about the Summer Latin Workshop)

Zeffirrelli Herm Coming to Auction

Can’t find anything to quote at Bonham’s yet on this, but it’s interesting:

A lovely Roman marble bust that film director, Franco Zeffirrelli gave as a wedding gift to friends who worked with him on the filming of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ will be sold at Bonhams next Antiquities Sale in London on April 28th.

Dating from the second century AD the Roman herm head traditionally used on the top of a pillar, is estimated to sell for £7,000 to £9,000. A wonderful photo of the bride and groom taken at their wedding with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Zeffirelli will be sold with the bust they received from the film director.

A herm is a sculpted image of a god, thought to be originally Hermes. It stood in doorways, gardens or by the wayside for the protection of orchards and vineyards. There is also evidence that such an image was used in the performance of the ‘sacred marriage’ ritual in the Dionysiac mysteries connected with purification and fertility.

The filming of the ‘Taming of the Shrew’ in Rome in 1967 brought all these creative people together in a project that was critically acclaimed.

photo via Art Daily

more …