by Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis

Other authorsHarry C. Schnur (Translator)
Paperback, 1994



Call number

FX 228102 S253



Stuttgart Reclam 1994


This is a rhyming-couplet translation of Juvenal's sixteen Satires, written in iambic pentameters. While remaining faithful to the original, it brings the work of the first-century Roman poet to the attention of a contemporary audience. Though subject to the strictures of such a poetic form, it is an accurate rendering while at the same time keeping the mordant and sardonic tone of the original. It is accepted that classical texts need a new inspection every so often and this is an attempt to make Juvenal appeal to a contemporary readership. While it may well find a niche among professional cl

Media reviews

Kelk ... refuses to patronize his readers and goes instead for a version that brings out the foreignness of the source text and does much to capture the high style that is a distinguishing mark of Juvenalian verse. He also captures his author’s linguistic force ...

User reviews

LibraryThing member aethercowboy
Juvenal, in his Satires presents us a view of Rome, and everything that was wrong with it during his day. Of course, most of the problems Rome faced then, most modern civilizations are facing today.

It’s interesting to read historical accounts, or even interpretations of the day (as is the case
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with Satires), and see the similarities. I’m not sure, though, if I should take comfort by this, as it may indicate that things shouldn’t get any worse, or if I should be scared, as it also might indicate that modern civilizations are headed in the same direction as Rome.

While not the most exciting read, definitely very insightful.
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LibraryThing member dangraves
Creekmore's easy-to-read translation inspired me to try my hand at satires of my own (now deservedly consigned to the trash). One sees in Juvenal's Rome the decadent characteristics of a declining society.
LibraryThing member stillatim
I've long been sceptical of contemporary novels that are advertized as satires. Consider Jonathan Coe's 'Rotters' Club,' which was okay, but compared even to a supposedly realistic novel like 'The Line of Beauty,' contained little satire beyond its propensity for pointing out that people ate some
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really bad food in the seventies. So I finally got around to reading Juvenal, and my scepticism has been gloriously affirmed: yes, satire can be really, really mean; it can be full of almost explosive moral indignation.

'For what is disgrace if he keeps the money?'
'What can I do in Rome? I can't tell lies!'
'Of all that luckless poverty involves, nothing is harsher/ than the fact that it makes people funny.'
'A poor man's rights are confined to this:/ having been pounded and punched to a jelly, to beg and implore/ that he may be allowed to go home with a few teeth in his head.'
'When power which is virtually equal/ to that of the gods is flattered, there's nothing it can't believe.'
'You must know the color of your own bread.'
'that which is coated and warmed with so many odd preparations... what shall we call it? A face, or an ulcer?'
'If somebody owns a dwarf, we call him/ Atlas; a negro, Swan; a bent and disfigured girl/ Europa. Curs that are listless, and bald from years of mange/ and lick the rim of an empty lamp for oil, are given/ the name of Leopard.'
'However far back you care to go in tracing your name/ the fact remains that your clan began in a haven for outlaws.'
'Do you think it's nice and easy to thrust a proper-sized penis/ into a person's guts, encountering yesterday's dinner?/ The slave who ploughs a field has a lighter task than the one/ who ploughs its owner.'
'Don't you attach any value to the fact that, had I not been/ a loyal and devoted client, your wife would still be a virgin?'
'Shame is jeered as she leaves the city.'
'The whole of Rome is inside the Circus.'
'What other man these days... could bear to prefer his life to his plate, and his soul to his money?'
'If I happen to find a totally honest man, I regard/ that freak as I would a baby centaur.'
'Tears are genuine when they fall at the loss of money.'

Not to mention the classics, 'it's hard not to write satire,' 'who watches the watchmen,' 'bread and circuses,' 'healthy mind in a healthy body' (all translated slightly differently here).

All of these are funnier or crueler in context.

Rudd's translation (in the Oxford World's Classics edition) seems solid; I haven't compared it to the Latin. He translates line for line, which I imagine will make it easier to follow the original language, and in a loose meter which allows him to make everything make sense. It's rarely pretty, but it is readable. And his notes are excellent.
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LibraryThing member TheDivineOomba
My overall thoughts on this book: old man shakes hand at clouds and writes angry letters to the newspaper about things he doesn't like.

It really is - Juvenal tends to ramble eloquently on a topic, generally on things he doesn't like (eg, gay folk are bad, but better to be a gay than married). And,
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his rants are mostly recognizable today (Don't spend money on stuff you can't afford. Outsiders bad and taking jobs and Romans aren't taking back what they are due, etc). A few topics are difficult to read (Satire 6, on woman). As a whole, I really enjoyed reading this.

On style - initially, I had trouble understanding what was happening. Between old traditions and the very English translation of this book, I had to read a few of the satires two or three times, just to catch the nuance. The translation is well done, as far as I can tell. However, I wish there was more focus on the overall setting in the notes. I don't care who Juvenal was writing about, but I really wanted to know about the setting, why were these written, and how were the presented. Bits and pieces of the why were covered in the book, but the majority of the notes were focused on sentence structure (which is meaningless to me) and on individuals mentioned.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

251 p.; 15 cm


3150085985 / 9783150085981
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