Although I only studied it up to O-level, possibly my favourite subject at school was Latin. I continue to surprise myself by the amount of Latin I’ve retained over the years, but I do try to use it whenever I can. Viz my blog’s Latin motto: Noli domo egredi nisi librum habes – Never leave home without a book. (Mottoes just have to be in Latin!) On holiday in Normandy I revelled in being able to translate bits of the Bayeux Tapestry; I like reading Latin engravings on tombstones in old churches and so on. Now, I’m able to help my daughter with her homework (she doesn’t share my love for the subject, but is naturally good at it!).
Years ago I acquired Winnie Ille Pu and Domus Anguli Puensis translated by Alexander Lenard, which were first published in 1958 (and many other Pooh spin-off books not in Latin – The Pooh Perplex, The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet etc. Sadly, I’ve not kept any of them.) Back to the Latin – it’s lovely to see Heffalump declined in Latin – Heffalumpus, Heffalumpum… It is an intuitive translation and is great fun for Latin-lovers.
One of my daughter’s favourite picture books as a child was Olivia by Ian Falconer. She’s since become a bit of a media star and had many sequels, TV series and merchandise, but that first Olivia book before all that was pure gold. She’s a precocious and genius of a piglet, of course! Fashion-conscious, arty, likes ballet and so on.
Recently I saw that it had been translated into Latin some years ago and The Book People had it in their sale – I just had to have it!
I love the bit where she’s bargaining with her mum over bedtime reading… her first bid is five. I’m going to have to buy the original again, aren’t I to make sure I got it all right, I think we passed it on, but it goes something like this…
‘No, Olivia, one only.’
But that’s enough!’
A piglet who enjoys reading – attagirl!
The one thing that all these books and the many parodies and cod-philosophical volumes have in common is that by their nature, you have to have read the original to enjoy the adaptation.
Go on, own up! Which books of this sort are on your shelves? Be they foreign versions or parodies.
I’ll also admit to owning several Asterix books in French (which is commendable), but also the funny (well it was back when I read it) Harvard Lampoon’s Bored of the Rings (1968).
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Source: Own Copies. To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
Olivia by Ian Falconer (The original book)
Olivia: The Essential Latin Edition by Ian Falconer trans Amy High.
Winnie Ille Pu by A.A.Milne, trans Alexander Lenard. O/P but S/H available.
Bored Of The Rings (GOLLANCZ S.F.) – Harvard Lampoon.