A hot story by G Venkataraman

By G Venkataraman

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While Erinna recognizes Sappho as her literary foremother, other women poets made different choices. Korinna, for example, follows the more impersonal lyric tradition of mythological narrative, best exemplified by Stesichoros. Stesichoros does not seem to use myth to reflect on contemporary life, but for its own sake, putting epic tales to song. His long narratives present unusual versions of standard myths. He wrote two Helen poems, one of which reviles Helen, as Alkaios does, for deserting her husband (poem 2), and another, a palinode, which apologizes for the first poem.

And I gently took her breasts in my hands, . . her fresh skin showed 50 the bloom of youth, and caressing all her lovely body I released my white force, just touching her golden hair. §§ ARCHILOCHOS 29 This page intentionally left blank ALKMAN i . . Polydeukes. . I don't count Lykaithos among the dead . . but Enarsphoros and swiftfooted Sebros . . the forceful. . . the warrior, 5 and Euteiches and lord Areitos . . and . . outstanding among demigods, . . the hunter . . great, and Eurytos 10 .

It has sometimes been fashionable to expand, sometimes to trim the text translated. Overtranslation and unciertranslation erase evidence of physical gaps in fragmentary texts. "Completing" the poem by filling in gaps overly privileges the translator's interpretation, and fragmentary lines left out through condensing often contain vital information. Both practices simplify the poetry and mislead the reader. While the translator's interpretation of the text always informs the translation, she should resist the temptation to add or subtract text itself.

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