1. Exquisite Tweets from @clubdenni, @EmilyRCWilson

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    “Athena, with her gray eyes glinting, gave
    thoughtful Penelope a new idea:
    to let the suitors see her, so desire
    would open up inside them like a sail”

    The Odyssey, Homer, trans. Emily Wilson

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    clubdenni

    dennison

  2. Interesting translation dilemma here. The verb in the original, petannumi, is most commonly used in Homer for spreading sails, tho' also of opening doors; it is definitely a live metaphor; so I put the sail in, because the connotation wouldn't be there otherwise.

    dennison @clubdenni
    “Athena, with her gray eyes glinting, gave
    thoughtful Penelope a new idea:
    to let the suitors see her, so desire
    would open up inside them like a sail”

    The Odyssey, Homer, trans. Emily Wilson

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    IMHO, the use of the word in this unusual way, in the original, creates an interesting momentary suggestion that the suitors, too, are going on a kind of sea voyage, although they have no homecoming.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    Lattimore's version makes it sound interestingly Christianized:
    "So that she might all the more/ open their hearts". Cf, "...Unto Whom all hearts are open, all desires known". Lattimore was very devout. Not a bad thing, of course; none of this is meant as criticism.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    The Gk makes it clear that Athena is spreading the suitors' thymos (the part inside your chest that modulates desire and pride). Lombardo makes her open their mouths instead: "So that all the men would gape in wonder". One could defend this, but it's very different.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    Fitzgerald has a quite different metaphor, but maybe he's also picking up on the connotations of sailing: "for thus by fanning their desire again..." Athena here isn't the one spreading the sails, but the wind blasting them; a different tho related image.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    Fagles borrows "fan" from Fitzgerald but also introduces a quite different, arguably more English-cliche metaphor: "to... fan their hearts/ inflame them more..." Fagles is a big user of flame imagery.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    Loeb borrows from the Cunliffe lexicon analysis of this passage: "that she might flutter their hearts". Fluttering is a common thing for English hearts to do, and the verb is cognate with petao, to fly; it's defensible on those grounds. But you don't flutter a sail or a door.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    As with any comparative translation exercise, there isn't a right answer, and that's why it's so interesting to see the variety of interpretations. What is happening at this weird moment? Why do the suitors want Penelope? What does it feel like to be touched by a goddess?

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson