Harrison Middleton University
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Tag: Translation

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.


October 20, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

George Bull translated the Penguin Classics version of Machiavelli’s The Prince (1999). In the introductory materials, Bull notes some of the difficulties of translating Machiavelli’s language. I find his comments particularly enlightening since they also address the problematic nature of virtue. Machiavelli clearly witnessed unsettling atrocities in his time. Rather than condemning the injustices, he merely noted that injustice exists and suggested that it might be a necessary evil on the ruler’s behalf.

 » Read more about: Machiavelli Addresses Virtue  »

May 26, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Last week’s blog (https://hmu.edu/2023-5-19-reading-rabelais-part-i/) used Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel as the foundation to connect with contemporary works. Today’s blog continues in the same vein, connecting the old with the new. As I said before, however, Rabelais is not easy reading. The language feels foreign, even after translation. He prefers large, often obscure words, and includes anatomical puns whenever possible.

 » Read more about: Reading Rabelais, Part II  »

May 19, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

I remember my first experience with Chaucer. At the age of fifteen or sixteen, I tried reading his stories in the original Middle English and was very disoriented. Of course, I had a lot of footnotes to rely on, but these also overwhelmed my slim teenage patience. I remember wondering why we still read this book. It seemed so ancient.

 » Read more about: Reading Rabelais, Part I  »

November 4, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

For the October Quarterly Discussion, we read Plutarch’s “Coriolanus” and a speech by David McCullough titled “Knowing History and Knowing Who We Are.” I was not really sure if this combination would work because of the great differences between the two pieces. Plutarch’s biography portends to be history, but is simultaneously a commentary on culture,

 » Read more about: Plutarch Meets McCullough  »

September 30, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Some of the primary texts that we study at Harrison Middleton University date back to the Roman Empire. Obviously we use popular translations of these texts, but it is always a worthy exercise to look at the primary texts. Much information can be gained by looking at the original versus the translation.

It is also interesting to note how prevalent Latin is in American society today.

 » Read more about: Latin Translation  »

September 9, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Like many American children, I grew up with the rhymes of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I still remember snippets of “Paul Revere’s Ride”: “[T]hrough the gloom and the light,/ The fate of a nation was riding that night;/ And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,/ Kindled the land into flame with its heat.” That poem thrilled me and carries nostalgia for childhood and nostalgia for this great American dream.

 » Read more about: The Trouble with Longfellow  »

July 29, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s blog.

As I understand it, more than two hundred and fifty translations of the Tao te Ching exist. Looking for a chance to study language, poetry, and translation, I decided to compare a handful of versions of the Tao. Though there are a number of pre-existing published comparisons, I simply found some online versions. I selected some scholarly ones,

 » Read more about: Translations of the Tao  »

June 18, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Have you ever attempted to restate another person’s idea in your own words? Often, we listen to a discussion and get the gist, but when asked to recreate the argument, we stumble. At Harrison Middleton University, listening is key. We try to identify logic and reasoning behind someone else’s ideas, whether the argument is presented in conversation or from a text.

 » Read more about: Try Your Hand at Translation  »

April 9, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Today’s post is a brief look at translation and word choice in Thucydides. Both small sections from The History of the Peloponnesian War, Book IV, Chapter XII, furnish a glimpse of the author’s opinion. Though Thucydides set out to write a history of the war, and very conscientiously presents two balanced sides of the story, he cannot avoid opinion.

 » Read more about: The Opinion of a Historian  »

March 19, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Comparing translations often leads to interesting results. Last year, I read Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice in the Great Books of the Western World, which uses H. T. Lowe-Porter’s translation (published in 1928). This year, I read Stanley Applebaum’s translation from the Dover Thrift edition (published in 1995). I do not think that differences in either translation directly affected discussion topics or the flow of the discussion.

 » Read more about: Translations of Mann’s “Death in Venice”  »

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