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Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis (Latin language edition) (Latin) Hardcover – 7 Jul 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 7 Jul 2003
£44.24 £10.70
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (7 July 2003)
  • Language: Latin
  • ISBN-10: 0747561966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747561965
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The translation is great stuff. It is accurate and fluent, but it is much more than that. It has been carried off with wit, inventiveness, sensitivity and panache. I find it impossible to think of it being better done (James Morwood, Oxford University)

A marvellous translation, filled with delightful touches . Extremely enjoyable Latin reading material. Kudos to Peter Needham for what I think is a wonderful translation! (Laura Gibbs, Translator, Aesop's Fables (Oxford World's Classics)) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Latin edition of J.K. Rowling's classic, reissued with the stunning new Jonny Duddle covers to captivate a new generation of Latin learners --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If only this had been available when I was at school...
...I might have contemplated studying Latin longer than I did.
I only studied Latin for a couple of years and whilst I think my teacher would have liked me to continue to GCSE, I felt that there really wasn't much point - I wasn't going to be a doctor or a lawyer so I didn't need to study a 'dead' (for want of a better word!) language.
The textbooks we had at school, whilst teaching you about Roman society and history were not quite as exciting as a Harry Potter book (or even a Paddington or Winnie-the-Pooh book) would have been! Modern stories translated into Latin bring it much more to life - they make you want to read just like a book translated into French, Spanish or German!
I am deeply saddened that many schools do not even offer Latin anymore (I believe my old school has dispensed with the subject after the teacher retired). It seems a shame that such a valuable language as far as teaching the rudiments of grammar etc. should be abandoned. I am sure that translations of popular books would reawaken interest in the study of Latin.
I reckon my old teacher would be proud of me if she knew I had a copy of Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis - it might make up for forsaking her subject all those years ago!
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Format: Hardcover
I received this book for Christmas and am dashing through it, enjoying it immensely. The translation is witty and extremely well done, though as a previous reviewer has mentioned, it could have benefited immensely from a vocabulary sheet with the most obscure/paraphrased words on it. (Perhaps an online collaboration to write such would be a good idea?) However, to anyone who's read the English "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone", the translation will come easily as it is almost word-for-word. Therefore, readers, if you get stuck - check the English version!
Regarding the level of Latin, I would say that a GCSE student would have little trouble. The grammar is really not difficult, as most of the book is in the perfect and imperfect tenses; the vocabulary is the only stumbling block, as mentioned. If you read it by getting a 'feel' for the words and meaning, rather than trying to translate every single word, you will steam through it in no time. I personally have an A-level in Latin but that was gained three years ago and I've become extremely rusty since. A-level students, or Classics undergraduates, should not have problems at all.
All in all an excellent read and it would be terrific to use passages in a classroom setting; here's hoping there'll be a Latin revival!
Far more fun than Caesar.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I confess I did not rate "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" very highly when I first read it some years ago in the original. I thought Rowling's writing, though inventive, rather disappointingly derivative, and I still find her style irritating at times. I reminded myself that this was probably to be expected from a book aimed primarily at children, and did not bother with the subsequent books, though I have enjoyed the films.
Now, years later, having been pestered and bullied into reading "Half Blood Prince" by my children. I find that, as they had been saying, JKR's writing has become, as one might expect, rather darker, rather more adult, and frankly quite grippingly exciting. I wanted to read all the books, but still needed a challenge to keep me engrossed.
Harrius Potter is exactly what the doctor ordered. My education in Latin finished at O-Level (for those non-English readers that's an OWL) some twenty-eight (gasp!) years ago, but because of my amazing teacher (thank you Mrs. Lear!) I had a deep love for the language, and have always found it very useful in understanding English, as a step-up to the comprehension of other Indo-European languages, and of course indispensable for a career in the medical world.
There are those who would say, it seems, that Peter Needham's translation is not "good Latin" or is too simple. I am unqualified to comment on the first observation, but as to the second, I'm finding it an absolute delight. It's not too easy for me, at least, and not over-difficult, however it is challenging enough for me to feel that I'm stretching myself and getting all those little grey cells buzzing. I'm thoroughly enjoying the book in a way that I did not enjoy it when reading it in English.
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Format: Hardcover
The idea of translating popular books into Latin is excellent, and this version is on the whole fluent and accurate. Or if it isn't, I am probably not equipped to challenge a senior Eton Latin master.

That said, the rendering does seem a little wooden and literal. All those plonking "dominus" (for Mr) and "Visli" (for Weasley) could be avoided by a more imaginative transposition into a Latin-speaking world: I'm told the Greek version fares rather better in this respect. One is occasionally reminded of the painful Latin dialogue in the film "Sebastiane", in which someone uses "excrementum" as a swear word. Worst, perhaps, is the point where Hagrid reveals "Harrie: tu es magus". That means "Harry; YOU (not someone else) are a wizard". The flavour of the original "yer a wizard" would be better rendered by "magus es". (Unless, of course, the translator is deliberately parodying "Tu es Petrus".) Nor can I believe that any Latin-speaker would have said "hic laetus, laetus dies".

The problem with all such work is that, no matter how much Latin one knows, one cannot avoid importing some flavour of one's native language; and unfortunately we can't ask an ancient Roman to proof-read! Perhaps every translation from English to Latin should be vetted by a professor of Latin from a non-English-speaking country, to eliminate any mere Anglicisms.

Still, as a teaching tool, and a reasonably easy read for someone with some knowledge of the language, well done.
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