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Posted by Martin Walker on May 10, 2010, 1:00 pm
I think an explanation is in order concerning the perceived lack of an idiomatic translation of the Orff/Hölderlin Antigonae. The text by Hölderlin is only a "translation" in a very obscure sense; it is an extremely difficult poetic paraphrase. Have you ever tried to read Robert Browning's knotty "transcripts" of Euripides? It's kid's play compared to Hölderlin (try Browning's "O palace-roofs! your courts about,/A measure begins all unrejoiced/By the tympanies and the thyrsos hoist/Of the Bromian revel-rout!" etc). One may easily find workman-like translations of the Sophocles drama - any one would suffice. The average German will understand only a few key phrases at most when listening to Hölderlin's text, even spoken without music - s/he needs an explanatory synopsis. But "idiomatic translation" into English? Never would the phrase "traduttore traditore" be more appropriate.
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