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[235] done by one translator working singly and not in direct cooperation with others, however gifted or accomplished. Every great literary work needs criticism from other eyes during its progress. Nevertheless it will always remain doubtful whether any such work, even though it be a translation only, can be satisfactorily done by joint labor.

After all, when others have done their best, it is often necessary to fall back upon the French Joubert for the final touch of criticism; and in his unequalled formula for translating Homer, we find something not absolutely applicable to Dantean translation, yet furnishing much food for thought. The following is the passage: ‘There will never be an endurable translation of Homer, unless its words are chosen with skill and are full of variety, of freshness, and of charm. It is also essential that the diction should be as antique, as simple, as are the manners, the events, and the personages portrayed. With our modern style everything attitudinizes in Homer, and his heroes seem fantastic figures which personate the grave and proud.’1

1 Il n'y aura jamais de traduction d'homere supportable, si tous les mots n'en sont choisis avec art et pleins de variety, de nouveaute et d'agrement. Il faut, d'ailleurs, que expression soit aussi antique, aussi nue que les moeurs, les évenements et les personnages mis en scene. Avec notre style moderne, tout grimace dans Homere, et ses heros semblent des grotesques qui font les graves et les fiers.—Pensees de J. Joubert, p. 342.

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Homer (2)
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