Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Aesop's fables

Willis G. Regier at The Chronicle Review writes about the trials and tribulations of finding the best translation of Aesop's fables. No straight-forward task, apparently.

Regier writes that "[n]ine translators dominated Aesop in English over the past 500 years, and new ones are vying for attention. What do the translations show? Most obviously, some Aesops have more Aesop, much more, than others. Some have been much more reprinted, and more popular. And some change the fables: In some editions a lion outwits three bulls, in others four. Animals are altered: A weasel in one translation is a cat in another, toads become frogs, crows become ravens, a bear becomes a tiger, a lion becomes a leopard, and so on."

He goes through the different translations and their various political/social/religious slants and mentions which new translations are available. His vote, however, goes to Laura Gibbs's 2002 translation.

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