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18th January, 2016

Theodore Stephanides, Translator Extraordinary

Event Details

18th January, 2016
Council Room (K2.29), King's Building, Strand Campus

Theodore Stephanides (1896–1983) — doctor, pioneer radiologist and authority on freshwater micro-organisms — is widely known as a character in books of 1930s Corfu reminiscences by Gerald and Lawrence Durrell. Among neo-hellenists, though, he may be better known as the author of two eccentric volumes of memoirs, Climax in Crete andIsland Trails, or as the translator of Kornaros’ Erotocritos(1984), and, with the collaboration of George Katsimbalis, of two major works by Kostis Palamas, The Twelve Words of the Gypsy (1975) and The King’s Flute (1982). What is known to very few, though, is the full extent of his work as a translator of Greek poetry, since more than half of it has not yet been published.

Stephanides was also a minor English poet; and it is as a poet that he translates poetry, practising a rigorous form of verse translation — always a perilous task, and it is easy to find places where Stephanides does not succeed (as reviewers have done). I will try to show, though, that for the most part he does succeed, and often magnificently.

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