The Greek poetry of the archaic period that we call elegy was composed primarily for banquets and convivial gatherings. Its subject matter consists of almost any topic, excluding only the scurrilous and obscene. In this completely new Loeb Classical Library edition, Douglas Gerber provides a faithful translation of the fragments and significant testimonia that have come down to us, with full explanatory notes.
Most substantial in this volume is the collection of elegiac verses to which Theognis’ name is attached. Drinking and merry-making are frequent themes in these poems; there are also more reflective and philosophic pieces and love poems. Together they offer an interesting picture of an aristocratic man’s views about life, friendship, fate, and daily concerns. Also notable in this volume is the martial verse of the Spartan Tyrtaeus and the poetry of Solon, Athens’ famous lawmaker.
These two additions to the Loeb Classical Library [Greek Iambic Poetry and Greek Elegiac Poetry] will be welcomed by readers at all levels. Archolicus, Hipponax, Solon, the Theognidea, and many others are now accessible as never before...The translations, into prose, are wonderfully clear and readable. All traces of translationese have been removed, or more likely were never there. While the revisions are plain, they are always instructive and can be elegant. It will repay students to read these versions not just as a crib, but to compare them carefully with the Greek. There are surprises and delights for the attentive...Gerber has a gift for finding English that shows how the Greek works...The notes are marvels of condensed information...Gerber throughout the notes writes in a clear, concise, and scrupulous style. In effect he had summarized for his readers a great deal of information about current interpretations and problems of dozens and dozens of fragments...Gerber has distilled an impressive amount of scholarship. That feat, together with the excellence of his translations, makes these volumes among the most distinguished of those recently issued.
Gerber's texts and general scholarship, including helpful notes, are fully up-to-date, his presentation is lucid...and his translations are neat and accurate, as well as faithful to, for example, the obscenity of iambos (the era of euphemistic Loebs is over). These volumes form a fine complement to Campbell's Greek Lyric set; they deserve to be widely used.
- 512 pages
- 4-1/4 x 6-3/8 inches
- Harvard University Press
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