The Ancient Library
 

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xxviii INTRODUCTION

Perhaps catholicity of taste is the best phrase which may be used to characterize the nineteenth century. Nothing shows this better than the table of translations. The Drama, Epic, History, Oratory, Philosophy, Biography, Poetry and the more minor divisions were all translated with an abundance which shows a steady demand on the part of the reading public. The Drama now assumed its place as one of the important elements of Greek literature and possibly because it was a new found treasure, for the texts of the dramatists were not edited until the middle of the eighteenth century, was a little overemphasized. However, as was pointed out in the latter part of the previous section, the aim of Bohn's Classical Library was the aim of the read­ing public, i.e., a complete survey of Greek literature in English. The nineteenth century, moreover, in addition to translating practically all Greek literature, insisted upon a certain amount of literalness in the translation. It was to be the endeavor of the translator to present his author to the public without ajiy change or adaptation on his part in bridging the gap between the two languages. Just what the word literal meant and of how much con­sequence it was during the century can be readily ascertained by reading Matthew Arnold's lectures On Translating Homer and Newman's Reply.

Whether the twentieth century will carry on the width of interest of the nineteenth is hard to say. Until the war broke out the present century bid fair to equal its predecessor. With the coming of the war, however, trans­lation from the Greek has been forced into the background and how long it will remain there, is, at this time, a matter of conjecture.

If this table has done no more, it has at least furnished an interesting thermometer of public taste through the centuries that are past. In all generations where the public

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