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ON TRANSLATING HOMER
GIVEN AT OXFORD
MATTHEW ARNOLD, M.A.
PROFESSOR OF POETRY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, AND
FORMERLY FELLOW OF ORIEL COLLEGE
ON TRANSLATING 110MER.
It has more than once been suggested to me that I should translate Homer. That is a task for which I have neither the time nor the courage; but the suggestion led me to regard yet more closely a poet whom I had already long studied, and for one or two years the works of Homer were seldom out of my hands. The study of classical literature is probably on the decline; but, whatever may be the fate of this study in general, it is certain that as instruction spreads and the number of readers increases, attention will be more and more directed to the poetry of Homer, not indeed as part of a classical course, but as the most important poetical monument existing. Even within the last ten years two fresh translations of the Iliad have appeared in England: one by a man of great ability and genuine learning, Professor Newman; the other by Mr. Wright, the conscientious and painstaking translator of Dante. It may safely be asserted that neither of these works will take rank