Customer Review

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Green's revision hits the mark, 25 Sept. 2003
This review is from: The Sixteen Satires (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I studied this book for Classical Civilisation last year and found it an extremely refreshing rendering of an author whose medium (the satire) has been mauled and abused by even the best of English translators. I picked up a second much inferior translation of this book to reinforce my learning and instantly appreciated the quality of Peter Green's method: he avoids sucking the life out of Juvenal's poetry through prose translation but doesn't go so far as to force the advanced and passionate sentiments into dry showy Dryden-esque iambics or rhyming couplets. The result is an unrhyming semi-poetic rendering; beautifully and entirely naturally rhythmic. He also meets an audience mid-way between scholar and 'layman' by removing references to unknown people referred to in the text, thus avoiding clumsy English (which may also be seen as a trifle patronising on the translator's part), and providing an thorough endnotes and a bibliography for each satire. The introduction and preface are also hugely informative. However I find his (to me) unique method of applying endnotes a little irritating: he often places the endnotes twenty lines apart and then explains all of the different points in the preceeding twenty lines, rather than the more orthodox way of applying one note per reference. However this is, I assume, an attempt at making the experience of reading the work a more fluid one and only jarred on me as I was studying it in conjunction with other texts which use the more traditional method.
In any case this is a wonderful book, finally hitting that hard to reach mark between poetry and prose.
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3.4 out of 5 stars (8 customer reviews)
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A. Harden
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Location: Oxford, UK

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