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I have no opinion about translations. I tell you this because the first time I offered publicly some thoughts on the Iliad, the very first question from the audience was about which translation I thought best. I was surprised by the question, and gave a befuddled sort of answer. But I should have expected it, for it is the mark of the classicist to have opinions about such matters; more than that, a classicist’s answer to a question about the best will show what sort of classicist she is, what she values and how she applies the standards of the discipline. At the time I thought the question odd and irrelevant to my talk; but in fact it was an important question, for to answer it would shed light on my scholarly concerns, and help fit my talk into the ongoing discussions at the heart of classical scholarship. That I was unable to give such an answer showed it was my talk that was irrelevant, not the question.
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