Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Catullus 16 and Missing the Point

Well, Wikipedia says no explicit translation of the first line of this poem appeared in English until the late 20th century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catullus_16 . I had read the Zukofskys' version a number of times, but I did not understand the explicit meaning of the poem or of the first line until today.  I just read the more literal translation over at Wikipedia, and the poem, as well as the Zukofskys' version, makes more sense now. I don't like some things about 2014, but I do like the available frankness.  I've read about half of the Ellmann's biography of Joyce, and it makes clear the success we've had in the war against censorship in the last century.  (I plan to finish the Ellmann in the next month.)

Once again I find myself enjoying reading a German version of my poem.  My weak German can make out the meaning of the poem better than my weaker Latin can. If I end up teaching Latin again next fall I will have to dedicate myself to developing my Latin.  I find it humbling reading about Joyce's skill in other languages, as well as Zukofsky, Eliot, and Pound's similar skills.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Catullus 15 and/or Fate

The Zukofsky's translation of Catullus 15 contains the word "fate".  The index to "A" lists five pages under the entry for "fate".  I don't think they intended any reference to Dr. Fate.  I smiled when Eric Strauss became the new Dr. Fate.  His name reminded me of my own, with a different German composer linked to Naziism.

I wonder whether I have a fate and/or a purpose.  Why have anti-Semites  like Richard Wagner and Ezra Pound played such a large role in my life?

Page 141 of "A" refers to "the Fates" but not "fate".  The index does not have an entry for "Fates".  The other four pages indicated in the index do use the word fate. When I think of the Fates I think of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.  Man, comic books do form a big part of my mind.  Bob Wilson said, "Mind and its contents are functionally identical."  Tunes by Charles Mingus and the Monkees run through my mind as I think about things I need to do.

I read a little of the Night Lessons chapter of Finnegans Wake last night.  One of the footnotes reminded me of Gilbert Sorrentino's Mulligan Stew.  I haven't finished the Sorrentino, but I think that footnote inspired the novel, at least in part.  I remembered that Mr. Sorrentino wrote the forward to Zukofsky's Collected Fiction.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Catullus 14a

Catullus refers to his future readers in this poem.  In the future I hope to improve my Latin and read this poem in Latin with comprehension.  Last weekend I finished reading How to Read a Latin Poem (If You Can't Read Latin Yet).  I enjoyed it mildly.  This week the Latin and German clubs at my high school decided which Christmas carols to sing this year.  Today I printed a copy of the three carols, and I plan to practice them from now until December 9 for my daily dose of Latin and German.  After that I may return to reading Catullus in Latin and Kafka in German.