Timely and timeless: Virgil’s translator

I’m not trying to be morbid — but I do tend to think of the health and welfare of George R.R. Martin a lot, and I’m sure that plenty of other fans of “A Song of Ice and Fire” do, too. Just go over to YouTube and you’ll find a music video by the team Geek and Sundry called “Write Like the Wind (George R.R. Martin)” that’s so funny it could draw a chuckle out of Tywin Lannister.

EPIC TRANSLATOR: David Ferry, at 88.
An epic translator: David Ferry, at 88.

The other writer I also worry about nearly as much is the award-winning poet David Ferry. He is the sublime modern translator of Publius Vergilius Maro —  otherwise known as Virgil.

No one translating today, in my humble opinion, has better captured the magic of Virgil than Ferry. He’s given us translations of the Eclogues and Georgics, and a recent collection published by University of Chicago Press includes passages from the Aeneid. Will we see Ferry’s complete translation of this phenomenal, incomplete epic one day?

I hope so, but I worry. Ferry is 88. He’s not a spring chicken, and the Aeneid is not a short poem.

On the other hand, Ferry was recently interviewed on the PBS Newshour, and it made me happy. He looks incredibly well and far healthier than a person 10-15 years younger. Check it out below.

According to this interview, his translation of the “Aeneid” should be completed in about two years. I can’t wait! (Mr. Ferry, please get a flu shot.)

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