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Homer the South African


When reviewing a much-translated canonical text such as Homer's Iliad, it has become something of a topos to question the need for yet another translation of it. In the twenty-first century alone, Homer's Iliad has benefited from at least six published English translations already: Rodney Merrill (2007), Herbert Jordan (2008), Anthony Verity (2011), Stephen Mitchell (2011), Edward McCrorie (2012) and James Muirden (2012). Richard Whitaker adds his translation to the list with a slight variation on the standard Anglo-American English translations already available, presenting his readers instead with a ‘Southern African English’ version. With such a variety of Standard English prose and poetic translations already on offer, is there really a need for yet another Iliad? Will the novelty of its subtitle, as a ‘Southern African English’ Iliad, justify its publication, and what will prevent it from being judged merely as a postcolonial curiosity?

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J. M. Coetzee 2008. ‘Working with translators.’ In A. Lianeri & V. Zajko (eds), Translation and the Classic: Identity and Change in the History of Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 407–19.

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English Today
  • ISSN: 0266-0784
  • EISSN: 1474-0567
  • URL: /core/journals/english-today
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