Fall 1961 • Vol. XXIII No. 4 Book Reviews |

Two Translations

Phaedra. A new translation of Racine's Phèdre by Robert Lowell (in a volume also containing Jacques Barzun's translation of the Figaro of Beaumarchais). Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, $5.00. The Odyssey. A new translation by Robert Fitzgerald. Doubleday and Company. $4.95. No, no, my friend, we're off! Six months have passed since Father heard the ocean howl and cast his galley on the Aegean's skull-white froth. Listen! The blank sea calls us—off, off, off! I'll follow Father to the fountainhead and marsh of hell. We're off. Alive or dead, l'll find him. Robert Lowell, of course. The lines carry the stamp of his vivid rhetoric. The howling ocean, the skull-white froth, the marsh of hell declare that oratory of sea and Gothic landscape distinctive of Lowell. Yet these lines purport some scrupulous relation to the opening couplets of Racine's Phèdre. "My version is free," says Lowell, "nevertheless I have used every speech in the original, and almost every line is either

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George Steiner is a fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

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Life of Letters

By George Steiner

Phaedra. A new translation of Racine's Phèdre by Robert Lowell (in a volume also containing Jacques Barzun's translation of the Figaro of Beaumarchais). Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, $5.00. The Odyssey. […]

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