Translation of a classic Afrikaans drama based on Tacitus' Annales 1 - 3
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Sebesta, Judith
2014-09-15 17:20:21 UTC
I thought that this would be of interest to the discussion group.


Judith Sebesta

From: Jo-Marie Claassen <***@adept.co.za<mailto:***@adept.co.za>>
Date: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 11:44 AM
To: "Sebesta, Judith" <***@usd.edu<mailto:***@usd.edu>>
Subject: Translation of a classic Afrikaans drama based on Tacitus' Annales 1 - 3

Dear Professor Sebesta,

Congratulations on your recent interesting review in CJ-Online! Perhaps the attached flyer may interest you (although you may perhaps be aware of it already) as it features severa; of the well-known imperial women as well as Plancina and the Germanic Thusnelda. As my flyer indicates, it is about a dramatization of Tacitus’ Annales 1-3 in modern Afrikaans literature. It may be downloaded free (use the code MU25B to “pay” for the download from Smashwords—the present offer is valid until November 5).

I have translated from Afrikaans to English a verse drama based (by NP Van Wyk Louw, the Afrikaans poet) on Tacitus’ (Latin) Annales 1-3. Its “hero” is the Roman general Germanicus, the emperor Augustus’ adopted grandson, who is very much concerned with remaining “pure” and “honorable” in his wielding of power and as leader of a Roman army. The drama is very concerned with the (only sometimes diplomatic) relationship of Rome with its broader subjects. The action moves from the Rhineland (after the Varian disaster) through Rome to the Near East (Nabatea and further). The last scene takes place in front of the temple of Apollo at Daphne. Empire is seen through the eyes of the ruled-over as well as of the ruling elite. The author among other things imputes an awareness of the passing of an era and the dawn of the new era (Christianity) to his hero, which could be disputed. To me the richness of his language is what makes Louw’s drama so remarkable. That is what I have tried to convey. I could not find a print publisher willing to venture to publish a verse drama, and so took to ebook publishing.

I found the whole exercise exhilarating—shan’t get rich from it but my hope was to give international exposure to an Afrikaans work of genius. I very much want to bring it to the attention of classicists and graduate or senior students (also librarians) at international universities and research institutions about this project of mine.

I should be grateful if you were so kind as to forward the flyer to others, especially others concerned with historiography (in particular Tacitus), the Augustan era and also reception, especially also drama and poetry, perhaps also your University Library.

With compliments and thanks,

Jo-Marie Claassen

Dragonfly eBooks are delighted to announce the downloadable electronic publication of the first English-language version of the classic Afrikaans verse drama “Germanicus” (which was based on the first three books of Tacitus’ “Annales”).Its author was a foremost South African poet and essayist::

N.P. Van Wyk Louw: “Germanicus.” Translated and with an Introduction by Jo-Marie Claassen
ISBN 9781 301 402 489. Price:£7 GBP / $10 USD

About the drama:
Tacitus’ Annales 1–3 come alive as a powerful drama Available for the first time in an English translation, this verse drama by the prominent Afrikaans poet N.P. Van Wyk Louw (1906-1970) portrays the dramatic events that followed upon the death of the Roman emperor Augustus in 14 CE, culminating in the death of his adopted grandson Germanicus in 19. Louw’s insightful interpretation of Tacitus’ incisive portrayal of the corruption inherent in absolute power will appeal to Tacitean scholars and to students of reception or drama.

About the author:
NP Van Wyk Louw(1906-1970) towered over the Afrikaans literary scene as poet and essayist. He was one of the first, perhaps the most prominent, of the so-called dertigers “writers of the thirties”), innovative poets who broke new ground, sending Afrikaans poetry in new directions. Louw led the way in rejecting a restrictive, colonial-style literature, concentrating rather on intellectual and self-analytical poetry, rich in symbolism and imagery. He was in 1960 awarded the most prestigious Afrikaans literary prize, the Herzog Prize, for “Germanicus”, © N.P. Van Wyk Louw 1956.

About the translator:
Jo-Marie Claassen is known for her work on the exiled Roman poet Ovid. She retired from the Department of Ancient Studies at Stellenbosch University in 2001. She has published two books on Ovid and a large number of academic articles on a wide range of topics from the ancient world. Her bilingual home background and interest in languages enabled her to rise to the challenge of translating the idiosyncratic cadences of an Afrikaans classic into modern English verse.

Approximately 43400 words
Language: English
© Jo-Marie Claassen 2013
Published May 2013
Downloadable from the distributors Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/314998

The book can be read on the following devices: Kindle, iPad, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo and most e-reading apps. There is also a downloadable PDF version that can be viewed on your PC.

For further details see: www.dragonflyebooks.co.uk<http://www.dragonflyebooks.co.uk/>