More Lucian: the Fowler brothers 1904 translation

Gregory Crane

Henry Watson Fowler (1858-1933) and his younger brother Francis George Watson (1871-1918) are best known for their 1906 publication, the King’s English and the 1926 Modern English Usage, composed by Henry George after the 1918 death of his brother. In 1904, however, the brothers had published The works of Lucian of Samosata, coyly described as “complete with exceptions specified in the preface.” The exceptions included works that did not fit with Victorian sensibilities (such as the Dialogues of the Sex Workers) or that did not match seem worthy of Lucian (as they understood him). They also left out, sadly, On the Syrian Goddess, which Harmon would translate into an archaizing form of English that many contemporary readers would find unbearable.

Nevertheless, the Fowler brothers provide a second translation to complement those by Harmon, Kilburn, Macleod and others. Our goal in Perseus it to work towards providing, as often as possible, two or more translations so that readers can begin to get a sense of how differently the same text can be represented. For now we are adding more translations but we do so in part because new services have emerged (in particularly automatic translation alignment and rich linguistic annotation) that allow readers without knowledge of Greek to begin seeing how the source text and translations are related.

The Fowler translations have the label “perseus-eng4” and their XML source files can be found (where they are available) in Github in the various work directories here.

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